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Pope Francis at G7 calls for urgent political action over AI


Pope Francis stressed that human dignity requires that the decisions of Artificial Intelligence (AI) be under the control of human beings as he participated for the first time in a G7 summit on June 14.

"Faced with the marvels of machines, which seem to know how to choose independently, we should be very clear that decision-making, even when we are confronted with its sometimes dramatic and urgent aspects, must always be left to the human person," he said in front of world leaders on June 14.

"We would condemn humanity to a future without hope, if we took away people's ability to make decisions about themselves and their lives by dooming them to depend on the choices of machines," the Pope added. "We need to ensure and safeguard a space for proper human control over the choices made by Artificial Intelligence programs: human dignity itself depends on it."

Pope Francis participated in the June 14 "outreach" session of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations, which also included invited nations and international organisations and was on the topics of Artificial Intelligence, energy, and the Africa and Mediterranean regions in the southern Italian region of Puglia.

The Pope held bilateral meetings with several notable leaders before the session, including Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US President Joe Biden and others.

Calling AI "an exciting and fearsome tool," the pontiff said it must be used for good and for building a better tomorrow, and aimed at the good of people. "It is up to everyone to make good use of [AI technology], but the onus is on politics to create the conditions for such good use to be possible and fruitful," he underlined.

Pope Francis drew attention to the complexity of AI as a tool, warning that "if in the past, men and women who fashioned simple tools saw their lives shaped by them — the knife enabled them to survive the cold, but also to develop the art of warfare — now that human beings have fashioned complex tools, they will see their lives shaped by them all the more."

He also urged leaders to reconsider the development of so-called "lethal autonomous weapons" and to ban their use. "This starts," he said, "from an effective and concrete commitment to introduce ever greater and proper human control. No machine should ever choose to take the life of a human being."

He warned that the good use of advanced forms of AI will not remain fully under the control of its users or original designers, given that in the future, AI programs will even be able to communicate directly with one another to improve performance.

The Vatican has been heavily involved in the conversation on AI ethics, hosting high-level discussions with scientists and tech executives on the ethics of AI in 2016 and 2020. In his remarks at the G7, Pope Francis also highlighted some specific limitations of AI, including the ability to predict human behaviour.

He described the use of AI in the judicial system to analyse data about a prisoner's ethnicity, type of offence, behaviour in prison, and more to judge their suitability for house arrest over imprisonment. "Human beings are always developing and are capable of surprising us by their actions. This is something that a machine cannot take into account," he said.

He criticised "Generative AI," which he said can be especially appealing to students today, who may even use it to compose papers. "Yet, they forget that, strictly speaking, so-called Generative AI is not really 'generative.' Instead, it searches big data for information and puts it together in the style required of it. It does not develop new analyses or concepts, but repeats those that it finds, giving them an appealing form," the pontiff said.

"Then, the more it finds a repeated notion or hypothesis, the more it considers it legitimate and valid. Rather than being 'generative,' then, it is instead 'reinforcing' in the sense that it rearranges existing content, helping to consolidate it, often without checking whether it contains errors or preconceptions."

This runs the risk of undermining culture and the educational process by reinforcing "fake news" or a dominant narrative, he continued, noting that "education should provide students with the possibility of authentic reflection, yet it runs the risk of being reduced to a repetition of notions, which will increasingly be evaluated as unobjectionable, simply because of their constant repetition."

(Excerpts from Hannah Brockhaus' report on the Catholic News Agency website)

This War Needs To End…Now!

Fr Joshan Rodrigues


The world continues to watch with brazen apathy as the war in Gaza continues unabated. The Old Testament Torah refers to 'an eye for an eye' as the law of retaliation in the book of Exodus. Jesus rescinded this law in the NT, and replaced it with the law of love. However, the State of Israel has far exceeded this lex talionis by exacting 150 eyes for each Israeli who was kidnapped by Hamas militants on October 7 last year. Last week, Caritas Internationalis said that over 30,000 people have died in Gaza, and 1.7 million have been forcefully displaced, many of them facing hunger.

This is nothing short of genocide, and a few brave nation states have knocked on the doors of the International Court of Justice, asking for the world court to call it as such, and hold Israel accountable. A large percentage of the victims in Gaza are women and children, but the Israeli military continues its relentless bombardment of relief camps and civilian populations, justifying it by the presence of Hamas forces hiding amongst them. Even if this is true, does it justify killing innocent civilians, women and children? Does not this go against internationally laid down principles of war?

However, what is most shameful is the apathy and lack of humanity amongst world leaders, especially those who have the power to end this senseless war immediately. While empty platitudes are offered to the suffering and dying populations of Gaza, Western powers continue to supply arms to Israel to further decimate innocent civilians. The reason behind this apathy? Political compulsions and economic interests! When politics becomes more important than the cost of human lives, the path is paved for innocents to be massacred across the world. Who said that all human lives are equal? They certainly are not. An Israeli life is more precious than that of a Palestinian – 150 times more precious to be exact!

I am in awe of those citizens of the planet, especially younger people, who came out and protested in college campuses, in front of embassies and government buildings around the world, asking their leaders to condemn this horrific violence, and do everything within their power to put an end to this systematic erasing of an entire population. Many of these protestors put themselves at great risk professionally and personally, but were motivated by an enlightened conscience and a deep concern for the future of humanity.

Pope Francis has been a lone voice amongst the comity of nations relentlessly appealing for an end to all hostilities. He once again renewed the call for peace on Friday, June 7, at an inter-religious prayer service held in the Vatican Gardens to mark the 10th anniversary of the June 8, 2014 "Prayer for peace in the Holy Land," at which Israel's then-President Shimon Peres and Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas embraced.

Pope Francis said he was always thinking of all the Palestinians and Israelis of goodwill who, amidst tears and suffering, are waiting in hope for peace. "We must all work and strive so that a lasting peace is achieved, where the State of Palestine and the State of Israel can live side by side, breaking down the walls of enmity and hatred; and we must all cherish Jerusalem, so that it becomes the city of fraternal encounter between Christians, Jews and Muslims, protected by a special internationally guaranteed status," he urged.

And what about us? Are we to remain mute spectators, experiencing guilt and sorrow, while horrific images of suffering in Gaza flicker on our screens? We must rise together as parishes and local churches, prepare written representations of protest, and bring pressure to bear on our own Government, and that of Israel and other Western nations to bring about an immediate ceasefire. We can organise our own peaceful and prayerful protests and vigils to show solidarity with those who are suffering in the Holy Land.

If the world continues to be inhumanly indifferent to the plight of those who are suffering in Israel and Gaza, we will certainly be held accountable by future generations, and probably also by the Almighty.

A Mandate for a Governance of Humility

Fr Joshan Rodrigues


The people have spoken! And the dance of democracy which took place over seven phases stretching over two months has finally come to an end. The incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA seems set to come back to power for a historic third term. However, the sweetness of victory for PM Modi has been significantly diluted, with the reduced margin of victory, completely defying the exit polls which were predicting a landslide in favour of the BJP. (The manner in which these exit polls are conducted needs to be thoroughly investigated.) 

The I.N.D.I.A. alliance may have come excruciatingly close to the finish line of the 272 mark, yet they will take heart from the fact that the Congress and many regional members of the alliance have put in stellar performances to significantly improve their tally from 2019. The Congress party has more than doubled its numbers to touch the 100 mark, while the BJP has failed to cross the 272 majority mark by itself, as it did in 2019. The greatest setback for the ruling BJP would have to be Uttar Pradesh, where they actually trail the I.N.D.I.A. alliance of the SP-Congress combine. 

In contrast to the one-sided nature of the exit polls, the results reflect the close fight between the two alliances that was prominently visible during the campaign spanning the seven phases. 

So what did work for the NDA and the BJP, helping them still cross that majority mark, although with much lesser conviction? The BJP's decisive and strong governance, combined with its focus on infrastructure development which has vastly improved in several pockets across the country over the last ten years, must certainly be given credit. The fight against corruption was much needed, but has been disappointingly one-sided, which has eroded the credibility of this exercise. The Modi wave? The wave has certainly flattened to a large extent, but pundits would agree that the BJP would have done even more poorly, if not for Modi's charisma and leadership image. The BJP would be wise to promote new regional leaders and faces going ahead, rather than placing all its eggs in one basket. 

The reduced mandate given by the people of India to the BJP-led NDA is a cry for the restoration of democratic principles and a rejection of religion-based politics. Steep inflation and price rise while wages remain stagnant, a profit-driven economy over a human-centred one, vilification of minorities, eroding of public and governing institutions, pushing through of policies and enactment of new laws without proper parliamentary debates and public consultation, erosion of free speech rights across the country, imprisonment of journalists and human rights activists, but most importantly – a politics of humility! All of these were real issues for the Indian public which have been ignored over time. The new Government and the new Lok Sabha will have to take a good hard look at these issues. 

While we congratulate the BJP-led NDA and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this victory, we humbly also urge them at the same time to focus on a politics of inclusive development, where each and every citizen of this country, irrespective of his/her religious or social or economic background, feels free, safe and empowered to work, speak and live to their fullest potential as human beings with dignity. (Editorial written on June 4, counting day, prior to the final tally).

In other news, I am extremely grateful, but at the same time deeply humbled, to be taking over the mantle of Editor of The Examiner from Fr Anthony Charanghat who, while leading this esteemed publication for well over 30 years, has taken it to new creative heights, so much so that his own name has become synonymous with the publication. Having been his student and protégé for the last 15 years, has brought me much knowledge, wisdom and experience to now take charge of this enormous responsibility. His Eminence, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, has always been kindness and encouragement personified towards me, and has always prodded me on with a very fatherly attentiveness. I am humbled that His Eminence has thought me fit to serve this legacy Catholic Indian news magazine. 

I am sure that with the unstinted support of our loyal readers and patrons, the staff at The Examiner, and my fellow priests and religious brothers and sisters, I will be able to pursue an editorship of humility, the same as I wish of our new government.

BODY and BLOOD of CHRIST  

The Sacrament of Divine LOVE

Fr Anthony Charanghat


As we celebrate the Feast of Christ's Body and Blood, we delve deep into the meaning and transformative power of His real presence in the Eucharist. During Mass, when we remember Jesus through the breaking of His Body and shedding of His Blood, we experience His presence in the Eucharist not as a symbolic static entity, but as a dynamic participation in Christ's liberation, from humanity's enslavement to sin to a life of grace wrought by Christ's Divine love through His life, death and Resurrection. It is in our participation in the Eucharistic sacrifice that we experience Christ's presence in the fullest sense. Jesus said to His apostles, 'Whenever you do this in My Name, I will be there.' 

In St Mark's Gospel, Jesus instructs His disciples to follow a man carrying a pitcher of water who will lead them to the Upper Room. This image symbolises Baptism and being elevated to live according to God's perspective. This Sacrament initiates us into active participation in humanity's liberation from death to New Life, obtained for us by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The Passover meal of fellowship which He instituted in the Upper Room signifies and represents our means of salvation and the image of communion in the Heavenly Kingdom. 

Jesus consecrates the bread and wine into His Body and Blood, performing the miracle of transubstantiation. It is our responsibility to prepare the bread and wine - the elements of our offerings to God. During the presentation of the gifts, a blessing prayer is made, offering our humanity as bread and wine to be transformed into Christ's Body, signifying our total dedication of our lives to God.

The Eucharist calls us to live our humanity as a reality consecrated to God, that we may ascend to a higher and more beautiful level of existence. When we align our lives with God's will, we reflect His beauty in every act and thought. We are invited to participate in this dynamic transformation, where our humanity is united with Christ. Participation in the Eucharist is a call to transform our existence into one transcending our biological reality to a spiritual one. 

The elements of bread and wine retain their properties, but spiritually, we become the Body and Blood of Christ. During Mass, the celebrant calls upon the Holy Spirit twice: once upon the bread and wine, and again upon the congregation. This invocation underscores our journey to become the Body of Christ, achieving a real unity with God. By receiving Communion, Christ's blood courses through our veins, making us one with Him. A dimension of the Eucharist is to become Christ's presence in the world, infusing even our simplest acts with a touch of heaven. The  Eucharistic celebration forges a covenant of relationships with the inner life of the Three persons in One God. This relationship is characterised by reciprocal commitments and mirrors our human relationships that often involve expectations and mutual obligations.

However, all human relationships, including our covenant with God, are imperfect. None of us fully measures up to the expectations placed upon us, whether as friends, spouses, or children. We recognise the importance of authentic relationships, but inevitably fall short. However, this does not mean unhappiness and dissatisfaction are inevitable.

In our insufficiency, Christ enters our lives. He gives His life, breaking His Body and shedding His blood—so that humanity can finally be faithful. Through His sacrifice, we are enabled to enter into a faithful covenant with God, not by our efforts, but by grace. This divine assistance makes genuine fidelity possible, transforming our lives and relationships.

The Father sent His Son to take on our humanity, making our 'Yes' to God possible. This grace, exemplified in the Virgin Mary's acceptance, is extended to all of humanity through Christ's Incarnation. We cannot meet God's demands through sheer willpower; it is through Jesus that we are sanctified, redeemed and purified.

When we partake of His Body and Blood, we unite with Him, allowing His strength to sustain us and celebrate this profound feast of communion. We can fulfil our roles as spouses, siblings, colleagues and parents, and our professional lives through the strength of the Lord. We are not called to be strong on our own, but to ally ourselves with the One who is strong, making life beautiful and filled with Divine purpose.

Living the Life of the Trinity

Fr Anthony Charanghat


The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity invites us to embrace the profound mystery of One God manifest in the community of three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This Divine community is revealed to us through Creation, within our inner lives, and through our baptismal call to mission. Baptism, whether of infants or adults, immerses us into the divine life, challenging us to live out this mystery in our daily existence. Whenever we bless ourselves with the sign of the Cross, we are expressing our faith in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is a Trinitarian shape to our faith.

When we are baptised in the name of the Trinity, we are called to relate to God as Trinity – who is Creator, Saviour, and Sanctifier. Much of the public prayer of the Church is addressed to God the Father, through God the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. We are journeying towards God the Father through Christ, who is our way, and in the Spirit, whose power at work within us, leads us to Christ and, through Him, to the Holiness of the Father. The teaching of the Trinity not only makes a statement about how God relates to us, but also about how we relate to God.

Often, we view such mystical experiences of faith as detached from the pressing social and political issues of our time. In a world deeply rooted in materialism, we may be sceptical of the spiritual dimension that goes beyond self, and consider it as meaningless and irrelevant. However, history shows that the great mystics were also profound world-changers. Their spirituality does not detract from their engagement with the world, but enhances it, making them both heavenly minded and of earthly good. The Church must become a nurturing ground for such experiences, rather than abstract theological speculations, offering spiritual sustenance to seekers, both within and beyond our communities.

The Prophet Isaiah's mystical vision is a powerful testament to humanity's encounter with the divine, illustrating God's transformative entry into human life. God is always present, sometimes moving gently, and at other times, dramatically. These encounters can shift our perspective, taking us beyond the ordinary to a deeper understanding of our union with the Divine. In that moment, we encounter the living God and discover His mission for us.

The overwhelming Divine presence can make us feel insignificant in the grand scheme of His mission. However, the sense of bridging the vast distance between the infinite and the finite by living the life of the Trinity inspires 'radical amazement.' We must experience the utter holiness of the life of God, only then can we recognise our own fallibility and the social injustices we have previously overlooked.  Encountering the all-encompassing embrace of the God of the universe compels us to reject the flawed situation of our chaotic world.

In experiencing the life of God as Creator, we realise that the entire Earth is filled with God's glory. Every cell and solar system inspires praise and wonder. Each moment becomes a theophany, each encounter an epiphany. With our senses awakened to the majesty of God's creation, we perceive the world as infused with God's presence. Our cells and souls declare God's glory.

Isaiah's ecstatic vision is brief; God calls us to engage with the political and social turmoil of our time. Mysticism leads to mission: God needs us to enact social justice, economic equality, sound international policies, relational hospitality, political civility and harmonious living.  Our response should be like the "Here I am"  response of the prophet to the calling of God to guide our nation back to God's ways.

This is significant: God needs us! God cannot heal the world without our cooperation. God's power is relational, inviting our participation. The more we engage with God's work, the more God can accomplish in our lives and in the world.

God's Spirit invites us to share in the mystical within the mundane, calling us to holiness, freedom, and creativity. God's loving revelation calls us beyond our past to new life. We can be born anew to the fullness of God's love through Jesus. God's aim is the salvation and wholeness of all Creation, emphasising love over condemnation. The Trinity is unified in this purpose, offering hope for the future through divine love.

The Trinity's loving integrity serves as a model for our own quest for healing and justice, encouraging us to embrace a global yet personal approach to our mission in the world.

Rediscovering the Power of the Spirit in the Church 


In the Acts of the Apostles, we see the Holy Spirit as an instrument in and through which the Lord Jesus guides and even protects the nascent Church. The Spirit is seen literally guiding the actions – holding by the hand, as it were – of the Apostles and disciples, showing them where to go and where not to go for the time being, what to say and how to overcome the obstacles presented by different worldviews and philosophies of the cultures where the Church makes a missionary foray. 

The Holy Spirit is thus closely bound to the Resurrected Lord, and makes true His claim that "I will be with you always till the end of the age." It is in and through the Holy Spirit that Jesus is now present to all of humanity at all times, precisely emerging forth from the continuum of space-time, to dwell in a continuum of eternity. The Holy Spirit, being the principal engine of movement and guiding consciousness of the Church, also pulls the community of believers that is the Church from this world into the life that is to come. The eternal presence of the Spirit in the Church reminds us that while nestled in this world, the Church is in fact a mirror of, and gateway to, the heavenly Jerusalem. 

Too often though, the Holy Spirit is relegated to being merely the third person of the Trinity in the general consciousness of the believers. While the Trinitarian reality is in fact true, it can erode the pneumatological foundation and basis of the Church's life and activity on earth. Bereft of the charismatic dimension so powerfully seen in the early life of the Church making its way into new places and territories, the Church can be tempted to be anchored in its institutional nature, focusing on organisation, hierarchies, stability and a passive orthodoxy, rather than being open to being blown by the wind, to wherever the Spirit takes it. 

It is time that the Church, both local and universal, sees Pentecost not as a powerful event of the past, but as an ongoing event. The local Church must rediscover the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, more so the power of the Spirit, and allow itself to be set on fire for the salvation of the world. The Christian faith is not something to be maintained and protected, but to be evangelised and shared to the four corners of the earth. The Church must learn to let itself be guided once again by the Spirit, over and through uncharted waters, new ministries, old and new challenges, and the new cultures and philosophies of the contemporary post-modern world yet untouched by the faith of the Gospels. 

The Synodal process begun by Pope Francis is a step in the right direction and a new "aggiornamento" in the Church. By listening and being listened to, we are allowing the Spirit to once again take primacy of place in the Body of Christ, provided we are open and honest about the process. We must continue to have these "Conversations in the Spirit" in a manner of sincerity and willingness to listen with an open heart. If we continue to seek security and comfort in the institutional dimension of the Church, we may soon find ourselves sharing the destiny of all human institutions throughout the history of mankind. 

But the Church, the Body of Christ and the community of believers, is precisely led and guided by the inner sighs and screams of the Spirit dwelling within us. This precisely is the reason for our hope, and excitement when we look to the future. We must pray that the gifts of the Spirit be accepted and put to good use in a powerful way in our daily lives. A popular wisdom saying tells us that an elephant's trunk has approximately 10,000 muscles, and while it is strong enough to knock down a tree, it is also nimble enough to pick up a blade of grass. What does this tell us? That each one of us has the powerful force of the Spirit residing within us, that can bring about a revolution in the world, and yet it is through the gentle power of LOVE shining through the Face of Christ that we set the world on course towards the Kingdom to come. 

When we abdicate this Christian duty, we discount the presence and the power of the Spirit within us. 

Come, Holy Spirit!

Fr Joshan Rodrigues is on The Examiner Editorial Board, with the additional duty of Managing Editor.

Ascension in the Age of AI and Algorithms

Fr Anthony Charanghat


The feast of the Ascension is a celebration that presents the perfect scenario of Jesus’ final glorification after His suffering, death and Resurrection – a glory in which we, too, hope to share. The Gospel of John describes how Jesus ascended to His heavenly abode, after giving His final blessing and missionary command to His disciples. The command was to 'proclaim and communicate the Good News of Salvation to the whole of humankind and creation.' Jesus promises His disciples the Holy Spirit who shapes the perfect source of heavenly power to assist them to bear witness to His new kind of glorified bodily-spirit presence throughout the world. It is the Spirit who enables us to communicate the message of this new kind of His presence to the world.

Ever since then, humankind has attempted the use of different means of communication traditions, via oral, written, visual, and multimedia movie technology generating poignant pathos, to express this mysterious saving presence. The Pope however says, we must continue to cultivate new wonders of technology in communications like AI, so that we may be more effective in communicating this kind of presence of God’s infinite saving love.  It is the Holy Spirit who endows us with the supernatural wisdom of the human heart enabling us to communicate as men and women of the Ascension.

The Ascended Jesus into heaven sends us, His disciples, to spread the Gospel throughout the world. It is a matter of being men and women who seek Christ along the transitory paths of our time, bringing His Word of salvation to all people of good will. Without the gift of the Spirit, all our missionary efforts in communication would be deficient, and fall short of conveying the fullness of the glory of God, that reveal the comprehensive understanding of the Way as shown by Jesus to follow His path to Heaven.

In his recent message for World Communications Day 2024, Pope Francis delves into the profound impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on our lives, urging us to ponder deeply on how we can remain truly human amidst this technological revolution. He emphasises that the development of AI systems is not merely a concern for professionals, but a matter that affects every individual and the fabric of society as a whole.

Central to the Pope's message is the concept of the, "wisdom of the human heart,". A new kind of humanity must take shape, endowed with a deeper spirituality and new freedom and interiority” which guides us in integrating our decisions, emotions and spirituality amidst the complexities of technological advancement. This wisdom enables us to overcome the challenges posed by AI, while upholding human dignity, transparency, and equality. It is imperative to approach this technological transformation with a perspective grounded in humanity, underlining the call to embrace the new, while safeguarding our humanity.

The Pope underlines the dual nature of AI, presenting both opportunities and dangers. He recognises AI’s potential to facilitate communication, bridge linguistic barriers, and disseminate knowledge. However, he also highlights the risk of misinformation, manipulation, and the erosion of truth, particularly in the era of deepfakes and algorithmic bias.

Moreover, the Pope accentuates the importance of ethical regulation and responsible use of AI technologies. He calls for international collaboration to establish binding regulations that address the moral implications of AI development and deployment. He affirms that regulation alone is insufficient, stressing the need for self-restraint in practices that would endanger individual and collective growth in humanity.

Pope Francis calls for the need for thoughtful engagement with AI, focusing on its impact on professions, dignity, transparency, and equality. He warns against fostering divides and exploitation through AI. Advocating for AI should be a means to promote equality and empower communities globally.  A wise and discerning use that upholds human values will ensure that AI serves the common good and enhances the integral quality of communication in society.

On our journey, we will encounter Christ Himself in our brothers and sisters, especially in the poorest, in those who suffer in their very flesh, the harsh and humiliating experience of old and new forms of poverty. As at the beginning, the Risen Christ sent His Apostles with Faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, so too does He send all of us today on our mission ministry, with the power of His grace to firmly communicate concrete and visible signs of Hope. He went to heaven and opened the gates of heaven, and gave us the Hope to reach it.

A Call to Mirror God’s Way of Communication

Fr Anthony Charanghat

 

The Examiner Catholic Newsweekly, based in Mumbai and serving the Archdiocese of Bombay since 1850, stands as a bedrock of Catholic religious faith-based journalism, endeavouring to emulate the divine mode of communication God established with humanity. The call to The Examiner on the monumental event of the 175th Anniversary titled the De Quadrant Bicentennial year is to encapsulate the essence of mirroring God's Way of Communication, by incorporating the profound messages of God as revealed in Christian scriptures.

The core of these messages posit that Christian communication is a divine gift, initiated by God to unveil the existential and spiritual realms of the world He created. This foundational belief steers The Examiner's editorial focus towards illuminating God's teachings and fostering a deeper bond between humanity and the divine.

The Examiner's De Quadrant Bicentennial celebrations will have programmes conducted during the celebratory event that will display the vibrancy of the faith of the community in writing and reading Christian literature. The inauguration of the jubilee celebrations began with a prayer dance by the Holy Name School children, which was followed by The Examiner anthem, composed by Mr Tony Menezes and music arranged by Adv. Amanda Rebello and the children's choir of the Church backing the family of The Examiner to raise their hearts in thanksgiving.

Cardinal Gracias then unveiled The Examiner commemorative issue, symbolising its longevity. These moments underscore the publication's evolution and its unbroken connection to its roots and mission in spite of being an arduous journey. His Eminence, the Chief Guest and patron of The Examiner, lit the inaugural samai, marking the commencement of the celebrations. His address highlighted The Examiner's esteemed position within Catholic journalism, acknowledging its resilience and purposeful navigation through changing technological landscapes. The Cardinal's words serve as a testament to The Examiner's dedication to journalistic excellence and its role in shaping critical narratives within the community.

The Examiner event also featured jubilee memorial lectures, beginning with Fr (Dr) Plavendran's analysis of Artificial Intelligence's impact on Catholic media; his caution against uncritical adoption of technology without alignment to Catholic teaching reflects a broader discourse on maintaining authenticity in the Digital age. The next lecturer, Dr. Rochelle Almeida, Professor Emerita of The Humanities New York University,  shared her recollections on her journey with The Examiner, from a young contributor to a celebrated academic, underscoring the publication's role in nurturing intellectual and spiritual growth to great heights of excellence, which also motivated her to write an article for the successive Christmas Bumper Publication every year. It also made her realise how popular The Examiner was, as readers in various parts of the world showered encomiums on her.

The discussions extended into the regulatory and operational challenges faced by print media today, as outlined by Mr Gavin D'Souza. His emphasis on compliance and the strategic importance of accreditation in India highlighted the behind-the-scenes efforts required to maintain The Examiner's legacy.

The crowning event was The Examiner awards founded in honour of the parents of the Mascarenhas family. This year's Golden Pen award was won by Ms Nirmala Carvalho, a well-known independent journalist not only in The Examiner, but in other Christian media outlets around the globe. Mr Christopher Mendonca was the recipient of the Silver Pen award for writing on the extraordinary liturgical seasons of the year for The Examiner and for his reflections on contemplative prayer and spirituality in the Christian tradition. Ms Fiza Pathan was the winner of the Bronze Pen award for being a prolific writer and having written and published 17 award-winning books and short stories.

Amidst the celebration, The Examiner Editor's candid admission of past shortcomings revealed a humble introspection and a fervent desire to live up to the divine mission. This acknowledgment speaks of the publication's resilience and its commitment to spreading God's light through truth, justice and love, despite facing challenges. He underlined that we were unworthy vessels of clay and have been remiss in our mission to spread the brilliant light of God anchored in truth, justice and love. However, he emphasised that deep in our hearts, we are more resolved than ever that with the Spirit of God, we will labour courageously to fulfil our mission, no matter what the cost.

The editorial content's future, as led by Fr Joshan Rodrigues, promises a dynamic and forward-looking approach to faith-based journalism. His concluding words of thanks encapsulated the collective spirit that has sustained The Examiner, acknowledging the contributions of Bp Dominic Savio Fernandes, Rector of Holy Name Cathedral, the clergy, educators, contributors, and the wider community as partners in the publication's journey, not failing to thank specially the personnel of the various departments involved in giving birth to the people's favourite Examiner weekly. And also, our gratitude goes to Fr K.T. Emmanuel who compered the entire show of the evening with his sense of humour, keeping the audience riveted to the exciting story of The Examiner's uphill task of traversing from Quill to Digital.

The Examiner Journey

Scroll to Digital

Fr Anthony Charanghat

 

Ae raise our hearts on the occasion of the 175th year of the uninterrupted publication of The Examiner to give thanks to God for the gift that He has given us. Through His merciful love, the genesis of The Examiner began in the Church of India in March 1850. It has been a record of sorts, ranking among one of the premiere English publications in this country.

We do not take this occasion to trumpet the glories of our work, for we are just frail vessels of clay made from the earth, and unto dust we shall return. But praise we must: give glory to God for the wonders and marvels of His work; and loudly proclaim and communicate the grandeur of His Love.

Where do we begin to tell the story of how great the Love of God can be, greater than the ocean and the sea, a communion between God and Humanity! This is the essence of the branding of The Examiner insignia which gives us the motto, and the icon of what a religious Catholic newspaper ought to be. The above mentioned quote summarises the quintessence of what Cardinal Valerian Gracias, the first Indian editor, exhorted the subsequent editors, when he inducted them into The Examiner publication 50 years ago.

We are also beholden to our Emeritus Cardinals - His Eminence Simon Pimenta and His Eminence Ivan Dias, and our current Shepherd of the Archdiocese of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias for their support and guidance in helping us run the Catholic newsweekly.

Accordingly, the logo and motto were conceptualised to spell out the purpose and goal of The Examiner which was to unravel the Word of God in human language to be understood by the people of God – a theme well depicted in The Examiner emblem.

The Coat of Arms of The Examiner is shaped within the circle of God's embracing love. It is anchored in God, illumined on the top of a Cross by a flame spreading the light of Christ. Perched at the bottom of the Cross are two arms of the anchor on which are two pens symbolising the medium of our time - the written word, to spread His Truth, Justice and Love.

It is a religious magazine which gives primacy of place to human relationship with God. Hence, The Examiner is called to function as a mirror of God's Love revealed by His Word, who is Christ. The Examiner, being a Catholic religious newspaper, has to interpret the deeper insights of God's Word in the language of the common person.

The Examiner has employed the language of scripture to convey the message of the mission entrusted to every man and woman to fulfil their call to bring the Kingdom values on Earth. The literary genre of the language of the Bible has been extensively used in The Examiner and by our writers who were legends of yore, that has elevated the tenor and tone of The Examiner and raised it to the touch of the Divine, casting a spiritual glow that makes The Examiner so riveting.

It is interesting to observe that human religious writings are always inspired by God, especially if they mirror the revelations of God, as evidenced by the authors of the Bible. The language of the Bible has been extolled as the best literature in the world which touches the mind, moves the heart and changes the world. The Bible has been deemed universally as the greatest story of Love ever told.

We pay tribute to a galaxy of eminent writers and contributors who have embellished the volumes of The Examiner over the years with their expertise, knowledge and writing skills, who have made it a readers' delight to be found not only in many Christian homes, but also avidly read in public libraries, educational institutions and hospitals, to bring comfort and solace in the healing powers of God in their moments of pain and suffering.

Above all, the Bible is a story of Salvation realised in the redeeming life of Jesus Christ, our mediator between God and man.

I cannot fail to thank the dynamic and exuberant Fr Joshan Rodrigues, who has been a pillar of strength, upholding the edifice of The Examiner as he assisted me in editing the content and operations of The Examiner, and on several occasions, writing the leaders of the Newsweekly.

It is our sincere belief and hope that the next generation of The Examiner family will surely steer the forward march of The Examiner to greater heights into the last lap of the bicentennial. May Godspeed your journey.