5th Plenary Assembly of the CCBI
held at Bombay from 4 to 6 January, 1993
An Appeal For Peace And Communal Harmony By The Conference Of Catholic Bishops Of India
We, the members of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India, meeting at Bombay from 4th to 6th January, 1993, for our Fifth Plenary Assembly, deplore strongly the tragic events of 6th December, 1992 at Ayodhya and the consequent wanton killing of the innocent persons and destruction of buildings and property. We share the agony and sorrow of the families of the victims.
This disaster undermined the very basis of our Nation, its Constitutional rule of law, democracy and secular character. A severe blow has been struck at the very foundation of the Indian ethos of tolerance and of non-violence. Though the entire nation is in a state of shock, we have great confidence in the wisdom and resilience of our people.
While we condemn these actions in no uncertain terms, we equally denounce all forms of communal violence. We appeal to all sections of the people to preserve peace and harmony in the face of the gravest provocation.
Together with all law abiding citizens let us reaffirm our faith in our constitution, and support the State in its supreme duty to uphold law and protect its citizens. While acknowledging our fundamental rights especially of freedom of religion and conscience, we emphasize our duty equally to work for the eradication of discrimination, poverty and justice in the social fabric of our country. This can be ensured by integral human development.
In this hour of trial we look to the future with hope and we appeal to all people of good will and in a special way to our Catholic brothers and sisters entrusted to our pastoral care, not to remain silent spectators to any kind of injustice and exploitation but to stand up and be counted on the side of saving the Bharat dream of our Founding Fathers.
This is the time to re-assert the inviolability of the human person made in the image and the likeness of the Creator, to be respected as the true temple of the living God. This basic dignity and equality transcends all differences of caste, creed and community.
In order to restore mutual trust and fellowship it is essential that we forgive one another and bring about reconciliation among all sections of our people.
We call upon concerned people of all living faiths to enter into “the dialogue of life” and meet on a regular basis in groups founded on prayer and a fellowship of service to identify and seek to remove the obstacles to communal harmony and peace in their area as well as in the country
Archbishop Henry D’Souza