Laity to head Church commissions in Udupi diocese
- Bishop Gerald Lobo appointed four laity members to head commissions which were earlier reserved for clergy
Udupi, 18 July 2013: The Udupi diocese has appointed laity members to head commissions in the Catholic Church, a step seen as bridging the gap between the laity and the clergy.
Bishop Gerald Lobo appointed four laity members to head commissions which were earlier reserved for clergy.For the first time in India, laity has been admitted into the administration and financial matters of the church, which has been seen as a first step towards ending the century old feud between the two groups for their roles in church administrations.
Bishop Lobo headed a silent revolution towards empowerment of laity through the Canara Organisation for Development and Peace (CODP) in many forms.
His experience in social work came handy in including laity in Church administration, which might raise a few eyebrows in the neighboring Mangalore diocese.
“It was a tribute to the golden jubilee of the second Vatican council,” said Fr. Chetan of the diocese. After starting a movement in 2011 by motivating the laity to raise demands with the clergy to share the power of church with them, reformist leaders from Bangalore, Panaji, Chennai, Ernakulam, Hyderabad and Mumbai converged in Mangalore on January 26, 2012, to impress up on the clergy the need for sharing economic and administrative powers of the church.
“This is being done to bring equality between the two classes of Christianity. There were already glaring differences in the management and administration of the church between the laity and the clergy, especially in economic powers,” said Patrick D’Sa, vice-president of the Federation of Concerned Catholic Christians.
“But the Udupi diocese has shown a light and this spirit should spread all over India,” he said. Reformist leader Gordon Jacobs from Mumbai felt this could be a new beginning and said the Federation would be happy if the laity were allowed to participate in every facet of the church administration.
“The clergy manages the wealth properties of the church in accordance with the Cannon law. But we feel it should be managed as per the law of the land. The Bombay High Court order of 1960 had instructed the church to have more than one trustee, but in many states, there is only one trustee in the committee, which is either the bishop or the parish priest of the church. But, with Udupi diocese appointing members of the laity to four important commissions, a new order is on the making,” he said.