Hundreds of thousands of Indian Catholics in Kerala petitioned Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to address crises facing the Christian community. The petition, presented by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Congress, highlights issues such as delays in social security payments and challenges faced by farmers. The government has promised to consider their demands, with hopes for positive announcements during the current budget session. Kerala’s Christian community has ancient roots, with the Syro-Malabar Church being one of the largest Eastern Catholic churches globally.
In a bid to address pressing challenges, hundreds of thousands of Indian Catholics in Kerala are calling upon the government to take action for improved living conditions. The petition, organized by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Congress, was presented to Kerala state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan late last month, following a significant signature campaign.
Catholic Congress President Biju Parayannilam conveyed, “Vijayan was very concerned and assured to consider our demands,” according to UCA News. The petition, signed by approximately half a million Catholics, emphasizes the urgent need to tackle what the congress described as “unprecedented crises” confronting the Christian community in the region.
“Ordinary people are struggling to eke out a living, and we want the government to focus its attention on their problems,” stated Father Philip Kaviyil, director of the Catholic Congress’ global committee, in an interview with the news outlet.
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Key demands highlighted in the petition include ensuring the timely delivery of social security payments to elderly citizens. Despite government provisions of about $20 per month, delays in disbursement have been causing significant hardships, as noted by the priest.
Moreover, farmers are grappling with financial challenges exacerbated by wild animal attacks, further straining their livelihoods.
Expressing optimism, Parayannilam remarked, “We are hopeful that the government will make some positive announcement regarding our demands in the current budget session of the state assembly.”
Kerala, known for its significant Christian population, has a heritage tracing back to St. Thomas the Apostle, with Christians constituting about 20% of the local populace, as highlighted by Vatican News.
The Syro-Malabar Church, headquartered in Kerala, stands as one of the 23 autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with Rome. With a global membership exceeding 4 million, it ranks as the second-largest Eastern Catholic church, following the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
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