Friday, August 31, 2012

40 percent nuns & priests decreasing-Rev. Babu Joseph

Himachal Pradesh HC strikes down key parts of anti-conversion law
Christian News India
Courtesy: Christian Today India


Catholic church concerned over decreasing nuns, priests 

By: Dibin Samuel
Tuesday, 27 January 2009, 14:13 (IST)
The lack of manpower to manage the numerous institutions, hospitals, charity and relief organisations, seem to pose a serious threat to the stability and growth of the Catholic Church in India. Few reasons for this are being attributed to the industrialization, luring jobs, and the persecution of Christians in different states in the country.
Rev. Babu Joseph, spokesperson for the Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI) says, there has been an almost 30-40 percent decline in the number of girls opting to be nuns.
“The decline in the number of young Catholics joining the religious way of life is certainly alarming, and it will affect the sustainability of the Catholic institutions managed by priests and nuns,” Joseph told IANS.
The Catholic Church in India runs more than 30,000 educational institutions, 6,000 hospitals and dozens of relief and charity organisations.
Church officials fear, the increasing number of professions, people's desire to begin a family, and avoiding the strict religious vocation might be few of the reasons young people ignore the ascetic life. Kerala, which contributes thousands of nuns for the Church service, has seen a decrease, as more women are taking to the nursing profession.
The Church also feels, the violence on Christians is one of the reasons for this. 
“Globally too there has been steady decline in the religious vocation of nunhood and religious life. It has affected the Indian Catholic community. Incidents like what happened in Orissa and Catholic families getting smaller have also adversely affected the numbers opting for nunhood and priesthood,” said Joseph.
To combat this adversity, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC) is planning to conduct a study on nuns and priests.
Father Stephen Alathara, spokesperson of the KCBC, said: “So far, no study has been done on this. Currently, there are more than 45,000 nuns and 13,000 priests in the Catholic church.”
A Catholic reformist and editor of Hosana, a Christian publication, Joseph Pulikunnel, according to the IANS, challenged the church to come out with figures on the number of nuns.
“The figures that they are quoting are fudged and meant to impress Rome. Earlier there were more people because economic instability in large families and, to a certain extent, failed marriages of the elder sisters saw young girls arriving at convents to enter the profession of nuns,” said Pulikunnel.
“Now there are other options for these girls and many are attracted to the career of nursing. Just look at the number of nursing colleges that have sprouted in the last one decade,” he said.

Christianity in India 
There are 25 million Christians in India which is just below 3% of the total population of the country. This number is slightly more than the entire population of Australia and New Zealand, or slightly below the total population of Canada, or total population of several countries in Europe. There are parts of India as heavily Christian as any part of Europe or America, e.g., Kerala, Goa, Misoram. Kerala has the largest number of Christians among the states. However, in North India, the Church is represented only by small and scattered communities. Christians including Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, form the third largest group in India. It is estimated that about 73% of the Christians in India are Catholics. The Catholic Church in India is Composed of three individual Churches -- Latin, Malabar and Malankara -- with their own independent hierarchies. Diversity of Christians is noticeable: Syrian Christians, Knanaya Christians, Goan Christians, Tamil Christians, Anglo-Indians, Naga Christians, etc. They differ in language, social customs and economic prosperity. Christians Occupy high positions: cabinet ministers, governors of states, high court judges, University vice-chancellors, top-ranking officers, etc. Christians also have been the main contributors to education in India. Their contribution in the social work is out of all proportion to their numbers.
Kerala is the cradle of Christianity in India. There the Christians play a decisive role in the fields of education, social work and even in politics. In 1959 it moved Pundit Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, to remark (on the occasion of the dismissal of the Communist Government of Kerala) that the Christians of Kerala are a power to be counted on. 22% of the population of Kerala is Christian. In the educational field, the work of the Christians of Kerala has been noteworthy and it is due to their efforts together with that of the government and of other religious and cultural groups that Kerala became the leading state in India for literacy. Government of India, in 1990, declared that the state of Kerala is 100% literate. This is recorded in the Guinness Book.
The Apostolic Delegation of the East Indies was established in 1884. With the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the government of India, the Apostolic Delegation was raised on 12th June 1948 to the rank of an Apostolic Internunciature. On August 22, 1967 it was raised to the level of Apostolic Nunciature. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), was constituted at the Metropolitans' Conference held in Madras in September 1944. There are 21 Arch bishops, 105 Bishops, 14100 priests, 62000 nuns, 3000 religious brothers, and 7600 seminarians in the Catholic Church according to recent statistics.
The Non-Catholic Thomas Christians are mainly: the Jacobites or the Syrian Orthodox Christians divided at present into two rival groups (Bava Kakshi and Metran kakshi), the Anjoorians, the Anglicans (CMS), the Marthomites, the Mellusians or Nestorians, and the St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India. There are around 6 million non-Catholics in India, including Orthodox Christians and Protestants.

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