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In harmony

After Bishop Valerian D’souza bade adieu,with a message of healthy communication within family...

Written by Prachi Mujumdar |
June 7, 2009 5:23:28 am

Bishop Thomas Dabre,who assumes office today,says promotion of communal harmony is going to be one of his priorities

After Bishop Valerian D’souza bade adieu,with a message of healthy communication within family,Bishop Thomas Dabre takes over the office at Catholic Diocese of Poona with a message of communal harmony. Bishop Thomas Dabre had been the Bishop of Vasai Diocese before he was appointed as the new Bishop of Pune Diocese. Since June 1973 he was a professor at the Jnana Deep Vidyapeeth. He was deputed for higher studies in Theology at the Berkeley University at Chicago,USA. He has completed his doctorate on The God Experience of Tukaram-a study in religious symbolism.

Bishop Dabre has also been holding post of secretary general of the Catholic Conference of the Bishops of India –Latin Rite,chairman of the Doctrinal Commission Of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India. Interestingly,he has studied the teachings of the Marathi Saint Tukaram. To that,Bishop Dabre says,“I find the teachings of Tukaram similar to what Christianity believes in many ways. For example in one his abhangas Tukaram says man who has compassion doesn’t discriminate between friend and foe. Similarly Jesus says Love thy neighbour,“ adding,“Tukaram says Wherever I go you are my companion whereas Jesus says– I shall be with you till end of the world.”

About the work that the outgoing Bishop Valerian D’Souza had undertaken,he says,“Bishop Valerian D’Souza had stabilised and strengthened the education system in the Diocese. He was also encouraged youth. I would like to continue those policies and take the mission forward.”

Bishop Dabre has been a part of Foundation for Unity of Religious and Enlightened Citizenship’ (FUREC) initiated by former President APJ Abdul Kalam and has been closely associated with peace between different religious groups. “Today in the name of God people promote religions. We cannot live restricted in Christian community. I have been closely in touch with all the religions and cultures. I have visited several temples including Ram Mandir,Tukaram Mandir,and Vithoba Temple. And I shall further strengthen my contacts with them,” elaborates he.

The Pune Diocese had been in news when they conducted a special ‘Election Prayer’. Thomas Dabre says,“To be Catholic is also to be a patriot. True patriot is the one who takes active part in the countries administration. We will continue to encourage people to vote for good leaders who will help humanity.”

Talking about the past year that has seen a lot of communal violence especially with the issues of Christian conversions. About Communal violence Bishop Dabre says,“Communal violence is out of misunderstanding and prejudice. It is ultimately for the political ends. Christians in this country should mingle with other religions to reveal the true nature of Christianity. We condemn fanatics who think that forced conversions take place.”

As Pune looks forward to the development and peace plans promoted by the Bishop he says,“Let us live in unity and harmony in our beloved city of Pune. “

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