Bishop’s College, Kolkata

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Understanding other religions

Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey, January 8, 2020: The Times of India

Bishop’s College, Kolkata, in 2020
From: Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey, January 8, 2020: The Times of India

KOLKATA: The 200-year-old Bishop’s College, a theological college that trains priests for Anglican churches, has decided to widen its syllabus to understand religions other than Christianity and hold inter-faith conferences and seminars throughout the year. In these changed times, the duty of a priest extends beyond the gates of his parish, the college authorities feel “We are extremely worried about the way the country is being divided in the name of religion today. Divisive forces are at work and often backed by political forces. This can only be countered by a peace movement and as a Christian priest I feel that church priests have a big role to play in starting this movement. We want to empower the priests with an expanded knowledge of all religions of the country right from the time they are training with us at Bishop’s College,” principal Sunil Caleb said.

Principal Sunil Caleb stressed he would encourage priests to mix more with people of all religions in the vicinity of their parishes and beyond and initiate activities involving everyone. “This would be possible when every priest is aware of the teachings of other religions in great details. That way both the priest and the people he is talking to would identify with each other and mutual trust and love blossom. Inclusivism is a very Christian concept and we should facilitate this as teachers of the college and as parish priests ourselves,” he added.

The Bishop’s College is part of the diocese of Kolkata of the Church of North India and affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College and awards its students masters degree in theology that is recognised worldwide. Besides being trained in Christian religious theories, students here have till now been given a basic understanding of other Indian religions, but this may not be enough in the current scenario, feel the authorities. A close look will, therefore, be taken at the syllabus to see how the chapters on other religions can be expanded. Inter-faith dialogue will also be a part of the curriculum and will see other religious leaders being invited to the college to participate in dialogues.

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