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Canonisation of Mother Teresa a prominent event
CAMIL PARKHE | Friday, 23 December 2016 AT 11:17 AM IST
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PUNE:
Canonisation of Mother Teresa in the presence of a huge gathering at the Vatican, appointment of new cardinals including for Bangladesh, Syria, and Malaysia were some of the prominent events that took place in the global church in 2016. As good news to the faithful in India, the pontiff has also announced his intention to visit India along with Bangladesh next year.

Declaration of sainthood to Nobel laureate Mother Teresa of Kolkata was one of the most important days for the Indian Catholic Church during the present year. The Mother’s canonisation was also important for the Church as she, besides Pope John Paul, was given the rarest honour of being canonised within a few years after her death. In the history of the church, people have been announced saints some three or even four centuries after their death. For example, Pope Francis had canonised Fr Joseph Vaz in Sri Lanka, only last year, 300 years after this Goan missionary’s death. The Mother’s canonisation at St Peter’s Square in Vatican was attended by India’s official delegation led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

When sainthood to Mother Teresa was announced, there was a speculation that the canonisation ceremony will take place in Kolkata and the pontiff himself may preside over the ceremony. But the Holy See decided to hold the prestigious event at Vatican.

Pope Francis had raised hopes on sanctioning priesthood for women when he showed an inclination to appoint a commission for consideration of appointing women as deacons. However, many of his fans and others too were disappointed when later he gave an emphatic ‘No’ to the issue of appointing women as priests. Quoting Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis said there was no possibility of women priests even in future. His reply has only confirmed that the issue of priesthood for women will never be considered during his papacy.

This year, breaking away from past tradition, Pope Francis appointed 17 new cardinals, some of whom do not belong to the traditional ‘Catholic-centres’ regions. Among the new cardinals, three are from Asian countries namely Bangladesh, Malaysia and Syria. Incidentally, this is for the first time that Bangladesh and Malaysia will have a cardinal. For the past few decades, Catholics in Asia and Africa have been expecting a greater role for their local clergy in the global church hierarchy. The post of a cardinal is important because cardinals elect one amongst them as the new Pope whenever there is a vacancy.

Indians were indeed disappointed as Pope Francis, who has appointed new cardinals on two occasions, did not appoint a single Indian as cardinal. India presently has five cardinals.

The Christians in India can look forward to a papal visit to the country next year. Pope Francis told media persons that his visit to India and Bangladesh next year is almost certain.

Incidentally, the Catholic Bishops Conference of India has already met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to urge Indian government to extend a formal invitation to Pope Francis to visit the country.

If Pope Francis decides to visit India in 2017, he will be the fourth pope to visit the country. Pope Paul VI had visited Mumbai in 1964 and Pope John Paul had visited India in 1986 and later again in 1999.
 
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Comments
Diago Almeida - Friday, 23 December 2016 AT 10:32 PM IST
It is good news that Pope Francis is visiting India next year. It is sad to note that Pope has not appointed a single cardinal 2nd time in a row.
 
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