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Stewardship and Trusteesh
  By A.J. Philip  
  I ACCOMPANIED Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to South Africa on the occasi  
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  DEVOTIONAL  
 
   
Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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  COUNSELING
 
Back to infancy -- they n
 
  By Shaheen Chander  
  ENJOYING a relaxed weekend, I was checking updates on the Facebook page. I came across a b  
     
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  EDUCATIONAL  
     
 
Small word, big problem
  By William Grimm  
  PEOPLE who have studied English as a second language tell me that three of the biggest challenges they encounter are pronouns, prepositions and articles.

Articles (a, an, the) are the most difficult. Which one to use or even whether to use one or not causes them anguish. The use or non-use of such a short word can make a huge difference in the meaning of a phrase or sentence.

One example of the problem can be found in the translation of the Mass that Rome has recently declared must be used for celebrations in English.

That is relevant to the Church in Asia because in large parts of the continent, English is often used in worship. In South Asia and other parts of the former British Empire as well as in the Philippines, English remains a living language.

In just about every country of Asia, overseas workers from the Philippines worship in English. English is also the language of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, the FABC.

The new translation has been criticized on many points. In an attempt to follow as closely as possible a Latin original, the English is stilted, verbose and at times nonsensical because of poor grammar.

The whole process of its development has been marked by secrecy and by spinelessness on the part of most of the world's English-speaking bishops who acquiesced in the destruction by non-English speakers of generally acclaimed new translations prepared a decade or more ago.

Tens of thousands of Catholics have signed a petition asking that the new translation not be imposed until after a period of trial to see if it "works." Of course, the petition has been ignored by the bishops and curia.

An ancient principle of theology is "lex orandi, lex credendi." The way we pray is the way we believe. If our prayer is not in accord with the faith of the Church, it will lead people away from that faith.

The worst problem of the new translation is that it will, in fact, bring heresy into the Mass, and all because of an article.

Currently, the words over the cup during the Eucharistic Prayer speak of the Lord's blood being spilled "for you and for all." That translates the idea of the probable Aramaic words of Jesus and the Catholic faith that God's will is that all be saved. The Latin text reads, "pro multis," which also implies all-inclusiveness.

Good Latin but heretical English will have priests proclaiming that Christ shed his blood "for you and for many".

Ever since the currently-used English translation appeared, some people have objected to its inclusiveness. I have run across those who object precisely because they neither believe nor want God to desire the salvation of all.

When the new translation was being prepared, it was decided by someone that the word "multis" must be rendered literally as either "many" or "the many."

There are two possibilities because Latin does not have articles.

The secrecy of the whole process precludes knowing who made decisions or what their qualifications to do so are, but apparently because Latin does not use articles, the English translation will not do so, either.

Good Latin but heretical English will have priests proclaiming that Christ shed his blood "for you and for many."

The problem arises from omitting that three-letter word, "the."

In English, "many" without the article is an indeterminate word. It can mean a handful, a few dozen, a few thousand. It never means, however, the majority, let alone everyone.

On the other hand, "the many" can mean everyone. In order to be slavishly faithful to Latin grammar, Rome is telling us that we must pray heresy, saying in effect that Jesus shed his blood for quite a few, but certainly not all.

That presents priests with a dilemma. We can obey men who obviously do not know what they want us to talk about or we can continue to proclaim the actual faith of the Church.

I have talked with priests about this and find that many (the many?) say that fidelity to the faith of the Church and their mission to proclaim God's love will force them to disobedience to the liturgical rule of that same Church.

None are happy about that, not least because it might result in their suffering at the hands of their bishops.

There is, however, reason for these priests to take heart. Though he certainly did not intend it, Pope Benedict has shown the way to go.

In his apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum broadening the use of the 1962 Latin Mass he says, "in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms" and goes on to say that such dedication (and some 40 years of defiance that accompanied it) deserve to be rewarded.

The clergy and laity of Germany have refused to accept a newly-translated funeral rite and the bishops there reported to Rome that "the new ritual must be considered a failure."

The result is that the new translation of the funeral rite has been abandoned. This is probably just the beginning of a movement in the Church, a movement that may be of the Holy Spirit.

It appears to me that when the new English Mass translation becomes mandatory, many priests, if not the many, will continue to proclaim the good news that Christ died for all.
---
Father William Grimm is a Tokyo-based priest and publisher of UCA News and former editor-in-chief of "Katorikku Shimbun," Japan's Catholic weekly
 
   
A symbol for the rupee
  By A.J. Philip  
  FEW government decisions have evoked the kind of warm response as the announcement made by Union Minister Ambika Soni about the selection of a symbol for the Indian currency on July 15, 2010. The Union Cabinet chose the symbol from the five entries shortlisted by a five-member jury appointed for the purpose.

The jury had received over 3,300 symbols from those who participated in a contest organised by the Government of India to select a symbol that symbolised the country's "ethos and culture". The winning symbol, designed by D. Udaya Kumar, a lecturer in the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, won a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000 ($5800).

The symbol idea had been in the works for quite some time. While tabling the Union Budget for 2010-11 in Parliament, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced to joyous thumping of the desk by the members: "In the ensuing year, we intend to formalise a symbol for the Indian rupee, which reflects and captures the Indian ethos and culture".

It was the growing influence of the Indian rupee in global markets that prompted the Indian government to think in terms of having a symbol for the rupee, though a much bigger economy like China does not have one for its Yuan. The Indian currency, known as the Rupee in English and 'Rupiah' in Hindi and variations of the word in other Indian languages, thus becomes the fifth currency in the world to have a distinct symbol.

Other currencies with their own symbols are the American dollar, the British pound sterling, the European Euro and the Japanese yen.

The new symbol is an amalgam of the Devnagiri consonant 'Ra' and the Latin letter 'R' without the vertical bar. The parallel lines in the symbol with the white space in between are an allusion to the national flag, also known as the tricolor because of the three colors used in it. Until the symbol was chosen, 'Rs' which is an abbreviation of the word 'Rupees' was used. The equivalents of 'Rs' were used in other Indian languages.

Internationally, another abbreviation 'INR' was used to distinguish the Indian Rupee from the Pakistani, the Nepali and the Sri Lankan currencies which are also called 'Rupee'.

Few people remember that the Indian rupee was the currency used in several countries like Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Mauritius etc till as late as the late sixties when some of these countries went in for their own independent currencies. India has a glorious numismatic tradition which dates back to the sixth century BC when coins were first used in the country.

One advantage of the symbol is that it can be used in all the Indian and foreign languages. When the new symbol was selected and announced, the government said it would take about six months for its full use in the country and 18 to 24 months in the world.

Nobody protested against the design of the symbol which is simple, elegant and can easily be drawn. The only criticism -- if it all it can be called criticism -- heard was that a country like India which has ambitions of emerging as a global economic power could have got away with a more imaginative symbol than the chosen one, which like the dollar symbol, the pound sterling symbol and the Euro symbol is essentially derived from a Latin letter.

It is not uncommon in India for political parties to take a stand on all issues under the sun and praise or criticise the government. In the case of the selection of the symbol, neither the Left nor the Right, neither the South Indian nor the North Indian had anything to complain about.

What is most noteworthy is that it did not take six months for the symbol to come to use in India, as the government expected initially. In fact, within a few hours of the announcement, the symbol was available on the Internet in a downloadable format. A small software company in South India went a step ahead and designed a whole new font and called it "Rupee Foradian", in which this column was originally written.

The company made the font available in downloadable format free of cost to anyone who wanted it. In the first one hour of making it available on the Net, over a 1,000 persons downloaded it and started using it. All that needed to be done was to download the font, cut and then paste it in the font section of the computer's font folder on the control panel.

The symbol would automatically appear on the screen when pressing the key just above the Tab key. A stand-alone symbol can also be downloaded which will sync with all the fonts available on the computer. The hardware industry has not lagged behind. TVS, one of the manufacturers of computer peripherals, has already introduced in the market a keyboard with the rupee symbol.

Computer giant Dell will, beginning September, introduce in the Indian market laptops and netbooks with the rupee symbol on the keyboard. Other computer manufacturers are unlikely to lag behind. Newspapers in India were the first to start using the symbol. In fact, most of them, including vernacular ones like the 'Malayala Manorama', started using it from the next day onwards. Advertisers, billboard writers and private and public limited companies have followed suit.

It was reported that when the Euro symbol was introduced in 1999, a total of $50 billion was spent on incorporating it in the computer and auditing systems the world over. The rate at which the Indian industry has adapted to the change suggests that the cost of the change-over would be a negligible fraction of this expenditure. In fact, for the common man, it does not cost at all to install the symbol on their computers.
While the rupee has overtaken the yuan in getting a distinct symbol with which it can be identified the world over, the full convertibility of the rupee remains a dream for the Indians, the fulfillment of which will give him as much, if not more, happiness.
---
The writer is a New Delhi-based senior journalist
 
   
Aptitude testing
  By Sunit Dhawan  
  SHIPRA has just completed her XII in the non-medical stream from a small town near the national Capital. She has quite a few entrance exams lined up before her and is busy preparing for these. Her parents -- and even grandparents -- are worried about her career.

"She is terribly confused regarding the choice of a good course, and so are we... the kid is working really hard and I pray she succeeds in getting admitted to whatever is good for her," says her mother.

Shipra's case is a representative one. Most students find themselves on crossroads after passing out from school and/or college. "What next?" is the question that gives many a sleepless night to the students as well as their parents.

The vast variety of career and higher education options available add to the confusion, with considerable peer pressure and "valuable" advice from relatives, family-friends and other acquaintances playing their own role in influencing the crucial decision.

It is generally seen that instead of going in for aptitude testing of their child to decide his/her choice of discipline, the modern-day parents seek and follow the advice of "successful" acquaintances and parents of already "selected" or "settled" children in their circle.

"Parents usually go by the prevailing trend in the job market, without considering the core competence of their child," observes Dr Jyotsana, Chairperson, Department of Applied Psychology, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology, Hisar.

She maintains that choosing a discipline in accordance with a child's innate aptitude would be beneficial in the long run. "A person pursuing the field of his/her core competence will work with more enthusiasm and have fewer adjustment problems and lesser job-related stress and burn-outs which are so prevalent these days," asserts the psychologist.

A scientifically prepared aptitude test brings out the real inclinations, capabilities and skill-set of an individual. It provides one a chance to get acquainted with one's inner self and tread a path closest to one's heart.

Dr Jyotsana, who also runs an aptitude-testing and counselling centre at the university, points out that in certain cases, parents complain that they had put their child in the stream of his/her own "interest", but it did not work out well.

"Here, it should be clearly understood that at such a tender age, a child is not capable of self-assessment. Moreover, the influence of external factors like the compulsion to pick a study area from a limited set of options, line chosen by friends and outside impression of a course or institute are more likely to influence his/her decision," she explains.

Then, in the present era, the career-path adopted by the youngsters has become a status symbol for the parents, who want to realise their own unfulfilled desires through their children or just love to boast about their hefty pay packages and perks.

So great is the charm of money that most parents want their wards to pursue a career which offers a high remuneration. However, in the mad quest, they not only tend to overlook their innate abilities and desires, but also become willing to compromise on good moral values and ethics, for which they have to pay a heavy price in the long run.

Parents usually take no notice of the basic principle of psychology, which underlines the concept of individual differences. They need to understand that like all individuals, their ward has also been programmed to chart a distinct course.

In the light of the given observations, a standardised and scientific aptitude-testing procedure becomes all the more significant. Apart from helping the students know themselves better, it also guides them as to what track they should take to exploit their potential to the fullest.

However, due to lack of awareness, coupled with the limited availability of aptitude-testing centres, very few parents take their wards for aptitude assessment before zeroing in on a field of study. Hence, commissioning of more such centres, along with spreading of awareness about the vital significance of aptitude-testing, is the need of the day.

The students, with the help of aptitude-testing, should try to have a realistic judgment of their capabilities and venture into a field best suited to these.

On their part, the parents should also understand that their child has got a unique identity, psyche and his/her own set of capabilities and limitations.

So, instead of having unrealistic expectations from their wards and pressurising them to fall in line, they should try to know their children's bent of mind and play a proactive role in realising their dreams. (Courtesy: The Tribune, Chandigarh)
 
   
Under siege and fear
  By Ajay Kumar Singh  
  WOMEN survivors of the attacks on Christians in Orissa are still traumatized two years later, a new study of their plight has found.

"What we saw in Kandhamal is disgusting. Women there are living under siege and fear," says Jalinder Adsule, a member of the study team who visited the district recently.

Survivors have become fatalistic and submissive, he said.

The government has done nothing to restore the abused women's confidence, team leader Gita Balakrishnan said.

Other team members said there were still few signs of peace.

‘Not peace but terror and fears'

"It is not peace but terror and fears that stalk Kandhamal society," said Sister Pramila Topno.

The study was made by 11 students and six teachers from Mumbai's Church-managed social work college, Nirmala Niketan (house of innocence).

Team members interviewed nearly 300 women in 55 villages of Kandhamal.

The study aimed to gather better information on the extent of violence on women during the anti-Christian riots that rocked Kandhamal for seven weeks starting Aug. 24, 2008.

Nothing has been done for women who were forced to hide in forests for days during the seven-week long violence, said Sister Anitha Chettiar, a member of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary congregation that runs Nirmala Niketan and a senior lecturer there.

Many women had refused to report attacks on them because their violators were protected by police, she said.

Jaycelyn Andrade, a student, said the Kandhamal women now view violence as a way of life.

They have "internalized fear and believe they cannot get out of this sense of insecurity."
 
   
UK's Equality Act
  By UCAN  
  NEW DELHI (UCAN) --Christian and dalit groups say that a new British law, which equates caste discrimination with racism and thus punishable, would help fight caste prejudices worldwide.

"We need to welcome it," says Father Cosmon Arokiaraj, secretary of the Indian Catholic bishops’ office for people belonging to poor castes and tribes. He said the British move would help outlaw caste discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010, which the House of Lords passed on March 24, aims to place discrimination based on disability, sex, race and other grounds under one piece of legislation.

The act that treats caste discrimination as an aspect of racism will become a law in the United Kingdom when the House of Commons passes it.

Father Arokiaraj said the law will help "internationalize" the issue of caste discrimination suffered by millions of socially and economically underprivileged Indians for generations.

Indian society is divided into four major castes and all those born outside these are regarded as outcastes and "untouchables." These groups are together called dalit (oppressed). Although outlawed, Indian villages continue to discriminate against dalit people.

In 2002, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) called all member states of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), including India and the UK, to enact laws aiming to end descent-based discrimination.

"Punish those who practice discrimination"

India maintains that caste is not a form of racial discrimination and has been successful in keeping caste out of the resolution adopted at the 2001 Durban conference on racism.

All India Catholic Union secretary John Dayal said caste discrimination should be considered "as bad as" racism and "people who practice it should be punished."

He said his organization is "quite happy with the British move. We have been camping for this in the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination," he said.

Dayal said that the Indian government is resisting the move because of "the hold of the upper caste" in the government. He said they know "how seriously they would be affected by international condemnation of caste."

Dalit leaders say although caste discrimination is predominately a South Asian social phenomenon, millions suffer its adverse effects because there are more dalit people than those with caste.

Udit Raj, who heads a confederation of dalit and tribal organizations, said he also "supports" the new British law. "It has been our long standing demand," he said.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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