Tsunami Hit the Culture Too, Says Bishop
KOENIGSTEIN, Germany, MAY 12, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The killer tsunami that struck Asia in December 2004 did more than destroy homes and take lives.
It also triggered a cultural attitude of receiving, not giving, says Bishop Leon Augustine Tharmaraj of Kottar, India.
"That is why the Church must help people to regain their spirit of community," Bishop Tharmaraj said during a recent visit to the Germany-based charity Aid to the Church in Need.
"So far, about 300 new houses have been handed over to people made homeless by the tsunami -- mainly Catholics living near the seaside -- but some 1,400 homes still have to be rebuilt, as well as many of the church buildings that were destroyed or seriously damaged," he added.
The bishop praised the "very good and close cooperation" between government authorities and the Church.
"What is most important now is that people regain the means to earn their livelihood," he stated. "Here, the Church's social commitment is crucial, especially in the field of education."
The Diocese of Kottar, in the southeast state of Tamil Nadu, has 500,000 Catholics in a population of 1.7 million inhabitants. It has 262 diocesan priests, and 70 major seminarians.