KCBC has released a seven-point directive on selection of candidates

The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference (KCBC), the umbrella organisation of the three different rites — Syro Malabar Church, Latin Church and the Syro Malankara Church — has come out with its seven-point directive while selecting the candidate for the ensuing Parliament elections. The criteria were read out as a Pastoral Letter during the celebration of the Eucharist at Catholic churches in the State on Sunday.

The KCBC made it clear in the Pastoral Letter that it was based on the directive issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex body of the Catholic hierarchy in India, which had called for electing leaders who could comprehend the apprehension of the people and carry out their demands.

As per the Pastoral Letter, the elected leaders should uphold the secular character of the country, strengthen relations among communities and work towards growth of mutual understanding through inter-religious dialogues, should protect the minorities and weaker sections of the society and work for their emancipation; protect the authority of the tribespeople over forests, land, and water; stand for the rights of Dalit Christians in their fight for parity with other Dalit communities on reservation; work for special economic policies for the poor and the downtrodden so that they could attain their rightful space in nation building; work for the fishing community in

the coastal areas; work for securing the protection of the farming community living in the Western Ghats and finally those who take stern stand against alcoholism, drug addiction, atrocities against women and children, medical termination of pregnancy and communalism.

The Pastoral Letter has made special mention about the ecological issues. Calling upon the faithful to make environment protection a way of life, it also said that they should be able to rectify attempts to protect the flora and fauna at the cost of the lives of humans. Problems faced by those living in the high ranges and coastal areas should be taken up in its urgency.

The directive called upon the people to elect those who were not tainted with corruption charges, but are humane and have firm footing in moral values. They should not impose atheism and political violence on others. The pastoral Letter was signed by Cardinal Baselius Cleemis Catholicos, president of the KCBC, Archbishop Joseph Perumthottam, vice- president, and Bishop Joseph Kariyil, secretary general.

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