The Conference of Diocesan Priest of India (CDPI) has agreed to devolve power to priests at the diocesan level. “Active participation of diocesan priests in decision making, hitherto the domain of the bishops, is essential for turning the Church into a vibrant body, actively involved with the people it represents,” said newly-elected CDPI president Father Francis Scaria. There will be more transparency and it will also equip the Church to face the new challenges posing a serious threat to the growth of its mission in the country, he said in Bhopal, capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The priest, who was elected president in the national council meeting of the CDPI February 25, in New Delhi, explained how he plans to achieve this goal. “We had an initial informal consultation with CDPI members and everyone stressed the need for encouraging the bishops and the priests to engage in dialogue on issues of importance,” he said. The priests are well aware of the ground realities, unlike a bishop who often gets secondhand information from the priests, he said. Father Scaria believes priests should become more outgoing and accommodating in their mission to involve themselves with the people. There are constant anti-Christian campaigns across the country that paint the Church in a bad light, he said. This can be countered only with active involvement of the priests with the day-to-day life of the very people whom they serve. A priest must work hard to create an atmosphere of trust among people, both Christians and non-Christians, in the area he works, said the priest. The Church must help people to assert their Constitutional rights as equal citizens. Reorientation is a must to cope up with the times, he concluded..
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