Church move to spread roots outside Kerala

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on August 27, 2009

In a strategic move to spread its roots into new regions in the country, the Syro-Malabar Church, comprising various Catholic communities, will ask its faithful to search for the possibility of migrating to other States for agricultural activities.

Though the proposal in the 20-point policy paper is said to have been prepared by the Laity Commission of the Syro-Malabar Church in the context of the shrinkage of agricultural land in Kerala, observers are of the opinion that the move is to strengthen the community on a national basis.

The policy paper has suggested several other moves to augment the community’s influence in the changing socio-politico-economic scenario. The strategies include increased participation of the faithful in political activities, sticking to the pro-life theory intended at increasing community population, participation of more and more NRI believers in priestly and convent vocations, etc.

More than 70 per cent of the cash crop farming of Kerala is commanded by the Christian community and the Church is convinced that the State does not offer much scope for extension of this activity anymore due to non-availability of land. The call of the policy paper, undoubtedly, is to this community of faithful farmers to put to use their experiences in and passion for agriculture in other States, observers say.

As a matter of fact, this community of Christian farmers has always had a huge influence over the political affairs and policy-making in the State through farmer-based parties like the various groups of the Kerala Congress. Observers point out the extension of agricultural roots of the faithful would automatically lead to such a scenario in the other States as well.

The paper also suggests that the faithful stick to the Church’s pro-life theory which calls couples for begetting as many offspring as possible in the context of the apprehension that the influence of modern lifestyle and education has led to a serious decrease in the population growth rate in Kerala as far as the Christian community is concerned.

The Church is already on a course of confrontation with the Leftist Government in the State over its move for a law for limiting the number of children per couple to a maximum of two. A law commission appointed by the Government had recommended this and other measures to put a check on the population growth.

The Syro-Malabar Church is also concerned at the lack of interest seen among affluent non-resident Indians in entering the vocations of priests and nuns. The expatriate believers should show more concern about the Church’s affairs, it says, adding it would be better if they came to the divine vocation in large numbers.

Another suggestion is that the young generation faithful could show more interest in politics. The Church does not have any political preferences but there is nothing wrong if the faithful indulge in political activity without deviating from Christian ethics, it says.

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