Monday, July 13, 2020

Archbishop Moses M. Costa, C.S.C., Dies of COVID-19 Complications

Bishop Moses M. Costa, CSC, of the Diocese of Dinajpur,
Bangladesh, visiting the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Bishop Moses M. Costa, CSC, in front of the Niagara Falls

Bishop Moses M. Costa, CSC (3rd from left) 
with Mrs. Mary D'Costa and her sons Ujjal Peter D'Costa,
and Shouvik Mikhail D'Costa at the Niagara Falls,
Ontario, Canada

Mrs. Mary D'Costa and her son Ujjal Peter D'Costa
with Bishop Moses M. Costa, CSC at the Niagara Falls,
Ontario, Canada

Bishop Moses M. Costa, CSC (5th from left) and
Mrs. Mary D'Costa (1st from right) pose with some
American visitors at the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

All the photos above by Jerome D'Costa (July 2002)

Archbishop Moses M. Costa, C.S.C., of the Archdiocese of Chattogram (Chittagong), Bangladesh, died on July 13 at the Square Hospital in Dhaka of COVID-19-related multiple strokes caused by a brain hemorrhage. He was 69 years old.

His body was taken to nearby Tejgaon Catholic Church in Dhaka and then to his village home parish church of Tumilia in Gazipur District before his burial at the Chattogram Catholic cathedral graveyard.

On June 13, Archbishop Moses was admitted to the Square Hospital with severe respiratory distress and cough and the following day he was diagnosed with COVID-19. He was recovering from it, but later on July 9 he suffered brain strokes and was put on life support two days later. With the further deterioration of his condition, he was transferred to the intensive care unit where he ultimately died.

He was well-known in Bangladesh for his selfless work among students, youths, seminarians, and disadvantaged people of different ethnicities and faiths. He is being mourned by them all.

Archbishop Moses Costa, son of Hiron Pundit (teacher), was born on November 17, 1950, at the village of Tumilia. He had several brothers and sisters, among whom three -- Sister Mary Catherine, S.M.R.A., Sister Mary Tara, S.M.R.A., and Sister Mary Bibha, S.M.R.A. -- became nuns.

He became a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross on February 5, 1981. Later, on July 20, 1996, he was named the bishop of the Diocese of Dinajpur. On April 6, 2011, he was appointed the Bishop of Chattogram Diocese. Pope Francis, in 2017, elevated the Diocese of Chattogram into an archdiocese and appointed him the first archbishop of Chattogram on February 2, 2017. In both the dioceses he served, he worked relentlessly for the spiritual upliftment of his Catholic folk.

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (July 12 - 18, 2020)

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider." 
--Francis Bacon

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Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (July 5 - 11, 2020)

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education." --Martin Luther King, Jr.
A quotation of Martin Luther 
King, Jr. on 'the function of education,' 
compiled by Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (June 28 - July 4, 2020)

A quotation of Steve Schmidt on 'President Trump's
capability', compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Design by Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (June 21 - 27, 2020)

Quotations on the 'importance of thinking,'
compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Above design by Jerome D'Costa

(Click on the above image to read it on an enlarged format)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Catholic Church and Casteism

Casteism in the Catholic Church of India

A divided Catholic cemetery in Trichy of Tamil Nadu State, 
India (the portion on the left is for the upper-caste and
the one on the right is for the lower-caste Catholics)

Photo courtesy:  

What is casteism? Casteism is prejudice or antagonism directed against someone of a different caste in the Indian Hindu society. Hindus, even after their conversion to other religions -- including Christianity -- do maintain some sort of casteism among themselves. 

Casteism comes from the word 'caste.' According to the Wikipedia, a caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy (the custom of marrying within one's own caste or group), hereditary transmission of a style of life which often includes an occupation, ritual status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion based on cultural notions of purity and pollution. 

According to the BBC, India's Hindu caste system is among the world's oldest forms of surviving social stratification. This caste system is more than 3,000 years old and it divides Hindus into rigid hierarchical groups based on their karma (work or occupation) and dharma (religion or duty). 

Ancient India's religious texts, called the Vedas, speaks of the caste system that divides Hindus into four main categories -- starting from the top to bottom -- the Brahmins (priests, academics or teachers), Kshatriyas (warriors, kings or rulers, and administrators), Vaishyas (merchants, landowners or farmers, herders, craftspeople), and Shudras (manual labourers, peasants or farm workers, servants). Later, a fifth group or caste called the Dalits (outcasts or untouchables), emerged and they are persons, from the first four groups, who have been condemned and driven out of their individual caste because of their serious sins, transgressions, or crimes. They, then, sought refuge among other similarly condemned people, whose professions are considered 'dirty.' They work as street sweepers, latrine cleaners, leather workers,  etc. 

 In later ages, some Indian Hindus converted to Christianity but did not abandon their earlier socio-religious caste system. In spite of Christ's teaching "love your neighbor as yourself," they hung on to the caste system, which is more or less present among both the Catholic priestly class and laypersons. In name, they are Catholic ("without any bias towards others"), but in practice, they are still caste Hindus.    

During the 2003 'ad limina' (required periodic) visits of the Catholic archbishops of the ecclesiastical provinces of Madras-Mylapore, Madurai, and Pondicherry-Cuddalore of India, Pope John Paul II had reminded them that "It is the Church's obligation to work unceasingly to change hearts, helping all people to see every human being as a child of God, a brother or sister of Christ, and therefore a member of our own society." 

Please read the following to see the situation of casteism in the Indian Catholic Church:

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (June 14 - 20, 2020)

Quotations of David Frum on 'President Donald Trump's
leadership,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
(Click on the above image to read the quotes in an enlarged form)

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Monday, June 8, 2020

The Catholic Church and Racism -- 2

Pope Francis celebrating Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican
Photo courtesy: Remo Casilli/Pool and AP via

Pope Francis in a recent Angelus prayer service condemned "the sin of racism" and the violence in the U.S. He said: "We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human being." He also specifically mentioned the police murder of George Floyd, a black person, in Minneapolis in the U.S.  To read more, click here. 

Please read the following to learn more on the Catholic Church and Racism:

(The End)

To go to the beginning of this write-up, click on 

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Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (June 7 - 13, 2020)

A quotation of Jean Chretien on 'using one's own intellect 
and not listening to all the pundits during one's life,' 
compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Artwork © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Catholic Church and Racism -- 1

Several decade-old racist Catholic demonstration in the USA 
with the placard "Jesus did not choose nonwhite apostles," 
meaning 'Jesus chose white apostles.' 

Since the late 19th century, Jesus and his apostles, although being 
Jews were thought to belong to the Caucasoid race as the whites, 
Middle Eastern people, and most people of north-west and south 
India. Latter scientists began to propose that Semites -- Jews and 
other Middle Eastern people -- are not white, but brown or 
dark brown. To see how Jesus Christ really looked like, 
click on the following: The Real Face of Jesus  
Photo courtesy:

Catholics participate in the black civil rights 
movement in the USA in the 1960s
Photo courtesy: Marquette University Archives via

"What Is Racism? 

"Racism arises when—either consciously or unconsciously—a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior, and therefore judges persons of other races or ethnicities as inferior and unworthy of equal regard. When this conviction or attitude leads individuals or groups to exclude, ridicule, mistreat, or unjustly discriminate against persons on the basis of their race or ethnicity, it is sinful. Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the persons offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love (Mt 22:39).

"Racism occurs because a person ignores the fundamental truth that, because all humans share a common origin, they are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. When this truth is ignored, the consequence is prejudice and fear of the other, and—all too often—hatred. Cain forgets this truth in his hatred of his brother. Recall the words in the First Letter of John: “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him” (1 Jn 3:15). Racism shares in the same evil that moved Cain to kill his brother. It arises from suppressing the truth that his brother Abel was also created in the image of God, a human equal to himself. Every racist act—every such comment, every joke, every disparaging look as a reaction to the color of skin, ethnicity, or place of origin—is a failure to acknowledge another person as a brother or sister, created in the image of God. In these and in many other such acts, the sin of racism persists in our lives, in our country, and in our world. Racism comes in many forms. It can be seen in deliberate, sinful acts. In recent times, we have seen bold expressions of racism by groups as well as individuals. The re-appearance of symbols of hatred, such as nooses and swastikas in public spaces, is a tragic indicator of rising racial and ethnic animus. All too often, Hispanics and African Americans, for example, face discrimination in hiring, housing, educational opportunities, and incarceration. Racial profiling frequently targets Hispanics for selective immigration enforcement practices, and African Americans, for suspected criminal activity. There is also the growing fear and harassment of persons from majority Muslim countries. Extreme nationalist ideologies are feeding the American public discourse with xenophobic rhetoric that instigates fear against foreigners, immigrants, and refugees. Finally, too often racism comes in the form of the sin of omission, when individuals, communities, and even churches remain silent and fail to act against racial injustice when it is encountered." 
--Compiled from Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love -- a pastoral letter against racism (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 2018)

In spite of Biblical and Catholic Church teachings on love, justice, and human dignity and equality, a good number of Catholic Church members (both the laypersons and the hierarchy) are not immune from racist behaviour.   

To learn more about the positive and negative aspects of the Catholic Church and racism, please read the following:

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pope Francis Decries Racism And Violence in the U.S., Calls For Reconciliation

Pope Francis
Photo courtesy: Shalom World TV

Protesters, including Catholic nun Sister Quincy Howard,
(4th from left) on June 2, in Washington, D.C., USA
Photo courtesy: AP via

Pope Francis today in his live-streamed general audience termed the tragic death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, USA, as "tragic" and mentioned that he was praying for him and "all others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism," reports the CNN. 

 "Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd," the pope said.

"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.

"At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost," he said.

From the U.S. Catholic Church, a number of priests, bishops, laypersons, and some organizations also expressed their disgust and concern for George Floyd's death and violence and voiced their demand for justice. 

For details on Pope Francis' message, please read the following:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

President Donald Trump in Cartoons

Cartoon courtesy:

The world, especially the U.S., is gripped with the consequences of the childish behaviour of President Donald Trump. His narcissism, irresponsibility, quirkiness, constant belittling of others, and total lack of love and empathy are causing many people to suffer unnecessarily. 

You may see the reflection of this in the following cartoons, provided by the U.S. News and World Report website: 

  • Cartoons on President Donald Trump (Click on the first cartoon and then click on the arrow on the right one by one to view more than 800 cartoons on President Donald Trump)

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Monday, June 1, 2020

The Racial Killing of George Floyd and the Catholic Church Reactions

George Floyd of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA,
was brutally killed by police on May
Photo courtesy:

A mural of George Floyd of Minnesota, USA
Photo courtesy:

Police arrested George Floyd, an African-American man, on a complaint of passing a spurious 20-dollar bill in a store in Minneapolis on May 27. He was handcuffed and the police tried to place him in a police vehicle but failed as he was unwilling to enter the vehicle saying that he was claustrophobic. Then four policemen pinned him to the ground with their knees. In spite of his cries, " I can't breathe," " I can't breathe," one policeman, Mr. Derek Chavin, kept on pressing his knee on his neck for minutes. When his limping body was taken to hospital, he was pronounced dead.

The whole scene of arrest and policemen's brutal behaviour toward him was videotaped by more than one spectator. The videos became viral and spread throughout the world like wildfire. Condemnation and anger were expressed around the world including the USA against this blatant racism. 

The U.S. Catholic Church leaders were quick to express their resentment and outrage, too. A number of priests, bishops, laypersons, and Catholic charities and organizations condemned the racist and dreadful behaviour of the policemen and demanded justice for it. 

 On May 29, U.S. Bishop Chairmen (of seven committees of U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops) gave a statement in the wake of the death of George Floyd and national protests, saying: "We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our own eyes. What's more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion." 

The statement also said: "We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice."

 On May 31, Archbishop Jose H. Gomes of Los Angeles and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in a separate statement said: "The killing of George Floyd was senseless and brutal, a sin that cries out to heaven for justice. How is it possible that in America, a black man's life can be taken from him while calls for help are not answered, and his killing is recorded as it happens?

"I am praying for George Floyd and his loved ones, and on behalf of my brother bishops, I share the outrage of the black community and those who stand with them in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and across the country. The cruelty and violence he suffered does not reflect on the majority of good men and women in law enforcement, who carry out their duties with honor. We know that. And we trust that civil authorities will investigate his killing carefully and make sure those responsible are held accountable."

It further states, "We should not let it be said that George Floyd died for no reason. We should honor the sacrifice of his life by removing racism and hate from our hearts and renewing our commitment to fulfill our nation's sacred promise -- to be a beloved community of life, liberty, and equality for all."

The Catholic Church has its own drawbacks, too. It needs to be consistent, insistent, and striving all time to see changes in the discriminatory behaviour in all spheres of life. Its own people are not immune from racism, casteism (especially in south India, where the higher caste Catholics have separate seats in certain churches and separate graveyards than the low-caste Catholics), and other types of injustices. 

For more details, please read the following: 

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (May 31 - June 6, 2020)

A quotation of Napoleon Hill on 'use of one's brain
and mind taking one's own decisions,'
compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (an abacus) © Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (May 24 - 30, 2020)

A quotation of Father James Martin, S.J. on 'following Jesus
in caring for the coronavirus patients,'
compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Design: Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (May 17 - 23, 2020)

Quotations on U.S. President's Leadership 
and Empathy During Times of Crisis and Grief

  • “I can think of many presidents whose finest hours included times of mourning. In these and other times, the president binds us as a nation by acknowledging and giving voice to our shared sense of loss, grief and pain and pointing the way to better times ahead. [President Donald] Trump hasn’t shown himself capable of this, in my view.” –David Greenberg (presidential scholar at Rutgers University, USA)
  • “It takes a strong man to open his heart. But it also makes a very good and memorable president [who exhibits compassion and empathy].” –Craig Shirley, a Republican operative and President Reagan biographer
  • “In virtually all of F.D.R.’s [Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s] talks, he played a pastoral role. He was always empathetic, and even when he was talking about economic dislocation, unemployment, etc., he introduced spiritual notes.” –Susan Dunn, a Williams College professor and author of several books on Roosevelt
  • “He [President George W. Bush] was really passionate about connecting with people especially because he took this type of tragedy so personally. He used that passion to express his remorse and sadness, but also to connect with people to make them feel better. He would say it wasn’t about him. It was about the presidency and he wanted to share the presidency with them.” –Eric Draper, the White House photographer who accompanied President George W. Bush
  • “In five years of watching him, I’ve never seen [President Donald] Trump display a shred of empathy or grace towards another human being. I’m not sure he has that capacity, at least he’s never shown it in public.” –Jon Favrean, chief speechwriter of President Barack Obama
  • “…His [President Donald Trump’s] role should show hope and inspiration, but I think it should show compassion. There are a lot of people that are experiencing a lot of fear, so I do think it has a time and a place.” –David Mangan, one of the survivors of coronavirus, and a pharmaceutical sales representative from Hot Springs, Arkansas
--Quotations compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Source: "Amid a Rising Death Toll, Trump Leaves the Grievieving 
to Others" by Peter Baker, The New York Times (April 30, 2020)

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Quotation of the Week (May 10 - 16, 2020)

A quotation of Sister Joan Chittister, OSB,
on 'real leadership,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Design: Jerome D'Costa

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