Cardijn still relevant: Father Tissa

“Cardijn is still relevant in contemporary reality. CCI must bring Cardijn closer to the youth through his approach and See-Judge-Act method. The primordial role of the youth in the world should not be undermined,” says Fr Tissa Balasuriya, O.M.I., the world renowned sociologist and social activist.

“I was formed by the students,” claims the theologian who spent a decade of his life as the Chaplain of the International Movement of Catholic Students in Asia.

Fr Tissa in an informal hour long chat with the team of international leaders of Cardijn Community International (CCI) touched upon critical issues faced by the world today.

“Globalization is too vast an area and cannot be generalized,” Father Tissa continued saying “There are positive aspects of modern science and technology which could be used for action towards social change and uniting people.”

“We have distorted Christ,” he continued. To a question on how he felt at the time he was ex-communicated from the Church, he said he took it as ‘in-communication’ and not ‘ex-communication’.

Talking about ‘climate change’ Fr Tissa called upon everyone to respect the ‘rights of Mother Earth’ and work towards ‘climate justice’. He said that ‘climate justice’ is definitely part of the ‘mission of the Church’.

To a question on what keeps him going even at this age, Fr Tissa declared with a firm conviction that it was ‘LOVE’.

“The gap between the rich and poor is widening at an alarming pace. The rich are getting enormously richer and the poor very poor’ says Fr. Tissa who vouches that the ‘the teaching of Jesus was so sublime and simple. Loving your neighbor is loving God. Working towards building peace, truth and equality to prevail is the form of love we are supposed to practice but unfortunately this teaching has been distorted and manipulated,” says the octogenarian theologian.

Commenting on the forthcoming 50th anniversary of Vatican II, Fr Tissa said that another Council is necessary.

“It is the urgent need today that all of us should place our demand for another Council which shall make the Church more relevant,” he said.

The See-Judge-Act otherwise known as the Review of Life method is developed by Cardijn and is used by many Catholic Action groups and movements in the world. Cardijn Community International (CCI) provides a space for adherents of the method and the members of these movements to continue sharing experiences and show support to relevant development actions in communities.

The CCI team was on a visit to Sri Lanka to meet groups and communities involved in social action and to seek partners and supporters for the network in Sri Lanka.

The team comprised M. J. Ruben, International Convenor, Fr. S. Servatius, International Collaborator, Ms Glynis Joseph, Asia-Pacific Coordinator and Ms Kins Aparece, CCI-Philippines Coordinator.