The measure of faith is not ritualistic tradition but social commitment, Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis has said.

He was speaking at a special ceremony organised here on Saturday to felicitate him on his recent elevation as cardinal.

The Cardinal said poor people should be seen as such, without the barriers of caste or religion. Society should have an all-embracing vision, and had the responsibility of ensuring social justice to each and every human being. “We have to open our eyes to the fact that we have millions of people who need our love and mercy; not just those who come to our church,” he said.

There were people who did not come to the church, but needed to be made aware of God’s love. The church should make a united effort to spread the word of God’s love, the cardinal said.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) president Cardinal Oswald Gracious inaugurated the public meeting which began after a special holy mass celebrated by Cardinal Cleemis. The mass witnessed the participation of various cardinal representatives, archbishops of various rites, priests, nuns, religious leaders, and thousands of laity.

Presiding over the function, Apostolic Nuncio to India Archbishop Salvatore Pinocchio said the main aim should be the reconciliation of different sections of the church.

The new cardinal had the responsibility to foster affection among people, maintain the spiritual heritage of his church, and show the way forward for the growth of churches in India.