Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Population bill meets with criticism
Kerala Christians, Muslims say proposal is an infringement of parental rights
- September 27, 2011
The Kerala Women's Code Bill, drafted by a committee headed by former Supreme Court Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, also recommends couples violating the two-child norm be barred from receiving social benefits from the government.
Another possible clause would bar religious and political organisations from discouraging family planning.
The Kerala Catholic Bishopâ€™s Council (KCBC) has called the draft â€śanti-democratic and an infringement on the parental rights of the people.â€ť
This is the first time an Indian state has recommended legal action against big families.
Keralaâ€™s 33.3 million people account for less than four percent of Indiaâ€™s total population of 1.21 billion.
KCBC spokesman Father Stephen Alathara said yesterday that the draft was an attempt to â€śundermine family values and divide society along communal linesâ€ť.
â€śWe have been promoting anti-abortion and encouraging people to have big families,â€ť he said.
A parish in Wayanad district is now offering fixed-rate deposits of 10,000 rupees, held in the name of the fifth child in a family that is born this year.
The government however is proposing cash incentives of 5,000 rupees to women who marry after the age of 19 and will recommend facilities for free and safe abortions.
The Syro-Malabar Church, which issued a pastoral letter last year appealing to the faithful to have more children, described the draft as â€śdraconian and anti-Church.â€ť
The Orthodox and Jacobite churches have also condemned it.
Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, the Catholicos of the Orthodox Church based in Kottayam, warned the government of dire consequences if the bill is passed.
Muslim organizationsÂ are also angry.
â€śItâ€™s an attempt to curtail religious freedom and faith. Â We will oppose it,â€ť said Abdul Samad Pukkottur, of the state Sunni Youth Federation.
Chief MinisterÂ Oommen Chandy said resentment against the draft law is unwarranted.
â€śGovernment will make a decision only after consulting with all groups. We have taken note of the protests against the draft,â€ť he added.
Kerala sponsors baby boom