Vincent Conçessao

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His Excellency
Vincent Michael Conçessao
Archbishop Emeritus of Delhi
ChurchCatholic Church
SeeDelhi
Appointed19 November 2000
PredecessorAlan Basil de Lastic
Orders
Ordination4 December 1961
Personal details
Born (1936-09-28) 28 September 1936 (age 82)
Puttur, Madras Presidency, British India
DenominationCatholic

Vincent Michael Conçessao (born 28 September 1936) is a prominent Indian Catholic (Latin Rite) clergyman who was installed as the fifth Archbishop of Delhi in November 2000. He served as Vice President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India from 2000 to 2004.[1]

Birth and education[edit]

Vincent Michael Conçessao was born on 28 September 1936 at Puttur in South Kanara district, Karnataka state, the fifth of eight children in a middle-class family. His parents were devout Catholics. He attended St. Francis Xavier Primary School and then St Philomena's Boy’s High School, Puttur for his secondary education. In 1961 he joined St. Joseph's Seminary at Jeppu in Mangalore. His father died that year. He was ordained in Mangalore on 4 December 1961.[2]

In 1962 Conçessao moved to New Delhi where he was appointed Assistant Parish Priest at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi. In 1965 he was admitted to Loyola University Chicago, U.S.A. to study sociology, gaining a master's degree. He also studied Development during a summer course at the Coady International Institute in Canada.[1]

Career[edit]

In 1970 Conçessao returned to Delhi and was appointed Director of Social Action of the Archdiocese of Delhi. In this role he set up the organization that is now called Chetanalaya. Through it he undertook various projects such as relief for flood victims, rehabilitating displaced persons and supporting development of the poor. He was particularly involved with helping slum-dwellers in the Delhi resettlement colonies.[3] At the same time he was Rector of Pratiksha, the residence of seminarians studying at the Vidyajyoti College of Theology. He also served as the president of the Catholic Priests' Conference of India. In 1991 Conçessao was appointed parish priest of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi, and in 1993 was elected Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Delhi.[1]

Conçessao was consecrated a bishop on 1 April 1995 and was appointed auxiliary Bishop of Delhi and Bishop of titular see of Mascula. He chose the motto "To bear witness to the lord".[1] He was appointed Archbishop of Agra on 5 November 1998.[4] After Archbishop of Delhi Alan Basil de Lastic died Bishop Vincent was transferred back to Delhi and installed as its fifth Archbishop on 19 November 2000.[5]

Archbishop Vincent participates in several inter-religious and multi-religious organizations. Between 2000 and 2004 he was Vice President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. Other positions include President of the National United Christian Forum, President of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference (F.A.B.C) Office for Evangelization, President of the Regional Bishops' Conference of northern Region, Working President of the Foundation for Religious Harmony and Universal Peace and President of the Holy Family Hospital.[1]

Views[edit]

Talking shortly after the destruction of the World Trade Center in September 2001, at the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican Archbishop Concessao spoke of another form of terrorism, which he called "the terrorism of an unjust economic system which grinds to death thousands of people every day".[6]

Archbishop Vincent has been critical of the government for failing to prevent discrimination against Christians of Dalit origin based on their religion. He has said that the communal forces attacking Christians use a methodology borrowed from the Nazis, "spreading false accusations, creating an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility and then having recourse to violence to frighten the people to change their religion".[2] When the National Integration Council was reconstituted and held an inaugural meeting in August 2005 the Christian minority rights leader John Dayal and the Reverend Valson Thampu presented a statement signed by Archbishop Vincent calling for equal rights for Christian Dalits and for an end to violence inspired by ethnic and religious divisions.[7]

Following large-scale violent attacks on Christians in Orissa, Karnataka and other states in 2008, Concessao said the attacks were not spontaneous but had been carefully organized after years of preparation by groups interested in spreading Hindutva. He accused Chief Ministers such as Naveen Patnaik of Orissa of failing to do the minimum to protect the citizens of his state. He called for a ban on Bajrang Dal and the closely related Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). However, he said this seemed unlikely since he had the impression that there was collusion between the Karnataka government controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bajrang Dal and the VHP.[8]

Talking of the practice of Swiss banks in hiding illegal money, including that of Indians evading taxes, Concessao has said Europe "is bankrupt as regards to moral values which are so important to the Catholic Church". He proposed that Indian Catholics should help re-evangelize Europe.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao". Mangalorean Star. July 2006. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  2. ^ a b Hazel Concessao (6 December 2011). "Interview of Delhi Archbishop Vincent Concessao". Church News Site. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  3. ^ Walter Nandalike. "Archbishop Vincent Concessao". Daiji World. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  4. ^ "Archbishop Vincent Michael Concessao". Catholic Hierarchy. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  5. ^ "Delhi Archdiocese - History". Catholic Bishop's Conference of India. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  6. ^ Archbishop Concessao (January–February 2002). "Another kind of terrorism: The unjust economic system". Michael. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  7. ^ Nirmala Carvalho (1 September 2005). "After 13 years, the National Integration Council is back in business in India". Asia News. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
  8. ^ Karan Thapar (12 Oct 2008). "We don't serve to get converts: Archbishop". IBN Live. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  9. ^ "Europe 'bankrupt' on moral values: Archbishop Vincent Concessao of New Delhi". THE LAITYTUDE. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-06.