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BP oil leak offers 'lesson in humility'  and 'limits of technology' 



Catholic News Service 

The "sense of powerlessness and delay" in resolving the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history offers a lesson about the limits of technology, a Vatican official said.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a commentary June 19 that the leaking BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexicowas a disaster "of enormous proportions, and getting worse."

He compared it to the 1984 chemical factory explosion in Bhopal, India, or the 1986 meltdown of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

"What is striking in this case is the sense of powerlessness and delay in finding a solution to this disaster faced by one of the largest and most technologically advanced oil multinationals in the world, but also by the most powerful country on earth," Father Lombardi said.


"It seems incredible, but it is a fact. This is not the eruption of a volcano, but a relatively small man-made hole in the seabed. Yet, in two months, expert scientists and technicians, leaders in their field, have failed to plug it," he said.

The Vatican spokesman said he hoped people would draw from the disaster a lesson of prudence and care in the use of the earth's resources.

"Perhaps we can also draw a lesson in humility," he said.

"Technology will advance. But if a relatively simple production process leaves us so helpless, what will we do if much more complex processes get out of hand, such as those affecting the energy hidden in the heart of matter or moreover in the processes of the formation of life?" he said.

Father Lombardi noted that the issue of responsible use of technology was addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth").

                 Belgaum Priest Wins Top Protestant Ecumenical HR Award

Coutesy CSF
 Catholic priest working in India’s Karnataka state has been selected for a human rights award instituted in memory of a Protestant clergyman. Father P. J. Jacob from Belgaum diocese is the first Catholic priest to be conferred the M. A. Thomas National Human Rights Award. He will receive a citation and cash prize of 100,000 rupees (US$2,174) in Bangalore in August. Father Jacob, founder of the Vimochana (liberation) Development Society, has “contributed immensely” toward social justice and “consistently promoted” people’s rights for 45 years, the Vigil India Movement (VIM) said in a statement. VIM set up the award in 1993 to honor Reverend M. A. Thomas of the Mar Thoma Church, who died in 1993 at the age of 80.
Father Jacob, a former member of the state legislative assembly for a term of five years, also established institutions to educate the poor, VIM program manager, John Juliana said. The human rights award is given once in two years to an individual or institution for making significant contributions in the field of human rights. Reverend Thomas, an ecumenical leader, founded VIM and the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Bangalore

CRI Meets the Challenge of a New India

The Conference of Religious India (CRI) is to launch a special scheme to prepare new Indian Religious congregation leaders to meet challenges posed by the country’s expected rapid development in the next decade. “There are many people predicting that India will be adeveloped country by the year 2020 and the Catholic Religious will have to prepare for that,” said Brother Mani Mekkunnel, CRI national secretary. He said the conference will organize courses on “visions for the future” for young Religious in its 13 regions across India. “We are planning to bring one Religious aged 30-35 from each region for the program,” Brother Mekkunnel explained. The first session is scheduled for July 1-4 at the Renewal Centre in Kochi, for the Kerala region. The program will conclude with a national convention in March, 2011 in Pune, where more than 1,000 young Religious are expected to attend. CRI represents more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and nuns in India. Some 30,000 religious are aged 30–35.     

Religious who participate in the program would become leaders in their congregations and regions by the year 2020, Brother Mekkunnel said. The participants will make a commitment to seek ways to make Religious life more relevant in the modern world. They will set 10 goals to achieve this. Many of the traditional functions done by Religious today will become irrelevant in the next ten years, said Brother Mekkunnel. The Religious will have to look for ways to make their life meaningful and purposeful, he said, adding “nothing will be imposed” on the participants during the program. It would be a collective search, he added.


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