21 February 2013
Pope Benedict XVI presents a red hat to Syro-Malankara Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of Trivandrum, India, during a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 24 November. The pope created six new cardinals from four different continents, representing the Latin rite as well as two Eastern Catholic churches. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Last fall, Pope Benedict XVI named as a cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis of India — a man who is a longtime friend and collaborator with CNEWA. Just a few months before he became a cardinal, Mar Cleemis paid a visit to our offices in New York:
Accompanied by the exarch for Syro-Malankara Catholics in North America and Europe, Bishop Thomas Mar Eusebius, His Beatitude shared some of his thoughts about his country, its people and the vibrant faith they have brought to North America. During a wide-ranging conversation in our staff conference room, he spoke passionately and eloquently about “witnessing” to the faith — through acts of compassion, charity and simple piety.
“We do that,” he said, “through education, through health care, through caring for those with H.I.V. and leprosy. It has to do with human dignity. I am proud and happy of how our people give witness with how they live.”
The major archbishop also wanted to underscore the universality of the Catholic Church. “Catholicity,” he noted, “is not uniformity, but diversity.” And he said that the Syro-Malankara Church could make its own unique contribution to “bring a new dimension to the Catholic Church.”
“We promote the theology of communion,” he said. “In this country, we have a strong vocation of being an apostle of communion.”
We are not here, he said, “just to preserve our linguistic tradition, but to strengthen the existing Catholic community. The church is beyond ethnic and linguistic boundaries.
“A lot of people have deserted, have gone away from the church and I think we have a responsibility. ... We have a role to play, to bring people back to the fold,” he continued.
Read more about his visit.
And you can learn more about the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church here.
Tags: India Pope Benedict XVI Indian Christians Indian Catholics Eastern Catholics