Appeal to CBCI: Restore the Crucifix at St. John’s Medical College hospital, Bengaluru

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The Cross will be for us as it was for Christ: proof of the greatest love – Mother Teresa

The only reason the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, was possible was the crucifixion. The Crucifix is the best known symbol of Catholicism and has the greatest religious significance for Catholics all over the world. It is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.

The crucifix is the invitation for all of mankind to find forgiveness, salvation, and peace.  It looks like the crucifix has become offensive, ironically, to some Catholic priests and the administrators of St Johns National Academy of Health Sciences Bangalore.

The feel good Christianity approach of the authorities  over the years at St. John’s Bangalore has altogether removed the crucifix from the OPD Block.  All this, in an attempt to feel good with the misconception that the crucifix makes the people of other faith uncomfortable when they visit the hospital.

The Catholic community appeals to the authorities to install the crucifix and catholic symbols, such as Mother Mary help of Christians, at the main foyer of OPD wing John W. M. Cormack block and in all the rooms and cubicles of the institution.

The Catholic icons in the institutions have systematically decreased in number over the last couple of decades.

There is no justification to say that the hospital is a public space and people of other faiths come to the hospital, and the crucifix is something sad and that it makes some visitors uncomfortable. St. John’s Medical College is a private Catholic Institution and is not funded by the government. We met a 75 year old retired gentlemen who told us that in the early 1970s when they started constructing the college building, the money came in from donations of the community. This gentleman recalled that he had donated his then one day  salary of INR 4.00 and similarly the Catholic working class from in and around Bangalore and Catholic workers in the Gold Fields in KGF also donated a day's wage. It is from contributions of the well-wishers of the community that this institution is what it is today.

Freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India.  St. Johns is not a public space it is a private institution.  It is a Catholic institution and the Catholic Church should not have any pretension of trying to be secular. If we do not have an identity in our institutions, how can we even think of arguing for a religious minority status in the Supreme Court of India

Christian Community Coalition, Karnataka, and Karnataka Dalith Catholic Christians Protection Forum along with the signatories of this online petition hereby appeal to the office bearers of CBCI through His Grace Dr. Peter Machado the Archbishop of Bangalore to give prominence to the Catholic symbols at  St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences vis –a-vis the following

1.    Install the Crucifix and catholic symbols at the foyer of the OPD wing in John W. M. Cormack block and other prominent places in the hospitals including the floors and consulting cubicles.

2.    Transmit the worship service in the Hospital chapel to every room through speakers.  Options can be given to private patients to switch off the broadcast.

3. Give first preference to the marginalized in the community for allotment of rights to maintain parking lots and other services in the premises. This will provide self employment to many unemployed in the community. 

Karnataka Dalith Catholic Christians Protection Forum

Dalith S. Francis     A. Michael Raj    S. Vetri Selvan     G. Domnic

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