Saturday, October 14, 2017

Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C., Passes Away


(L-R): Dominic Rozario and his friend Father Benjamin Costa, CSC, at the Mathis House of Notre Dame College, Dhaka
Photo (July 17, 2017) © Jerome D'Costa

(L-R): Father Bernard Palma and Father Benjamin Costa, CSC, as young priests in the early 1970's
Photo @ courtesy of Father Bernard Palma

With a heavy heart, I am announcing the unexpected demise of Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C., on Friday, October 13, at 3:45 p.m. at City Hospital in Dhaka. He died of acute lung and respiratory complications due to pneumonia. He was 75.  

Father Benjamin Costa, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Bangladesh and former Acting Vice Chancellor of Notre Dame University, first in September last had suffered from chikunguniya virus attack and later from pneumonia and serious lung complications. On September 28, he was rushed from Square Hospital of Dhaka to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore where his situation did not improve. He was brought back to Dhaka few days ago and was admitted to City Hospital at Lalmatia.


His funeral Mass, held on Saturday, October 14, at St. Mary’s Cathedral at Ramna at 9:00 a.m., was attended by numerous grieving fellow priests, Brothers, Sisters, leaders of different religions, relatives, friends, school-college-university students and teachers, and well-wishers. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, C.S.C., a classmate and friend of Father Costa, officiated at the Mass. Another memorial Mass was held at Holy Rosary Church at Tejgaon at 1:00 p.m. Around 4:00 p.m., he was buried at the Holy Cross Community Cemetery at Bhadun, about 20 km north-east of Dhaka.

In their condolence messages, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, and Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Dr. Akhtaruzzaman expressed their shock at the death of Father Costa and praised his valuable contributions to the education and development sectors of Bangladesh.  

Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, in an October 14 email message to me, wrote: “…The climax of our [cardinal and Father Costa’s] friendship was on 26 Sept. when in ICC [intensive care unit] at the [Dhaka] hospital, Ben [Father Benjamin] asked for the sacramental absolution of his sins on his 75th Birth Anniversary. Confession was his best gift of friendship with me; and from me, the most precious gift to him in ministering reconciliation. Restlessly he worked, now he enjoys eternal rest.” It is noteworthy that Roman Catholics try their best to have a rewarding death by confessing their sins and receiving God’s forgiveness before leaving the earth.

Born on September 26, 1942 at Doripara Village of present-day Gazipur District, Father Benjamin Costa, at the age of five, with his siblings and parents (Late Matthew Costa and Late Elizabeth Palma) moved to Rajardior Village of Chatmohar Upazilla in Pabna District when their and fellow villagers' lands were acquired by the British government for building the railway line from Dhaka to Chittagong.  He studied at local parish primary school at Mathurapur of Pabna District and then at Little Flower Preparatory Seminary and Holy Cross High School at Bandura of Dhaka District and at Notre Dame College of Dhaka. He also studied at Notre Dame University in Indiana, USA, and later at Christ the King Major Seminary at Karachi in West Pakistan. On January 7, 1971, he was ordained a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross at Mathurapur Catholic Church. Much later, he also studied at the University of Chicago, USA.

He first served as a professor and later Principal (April, 1998- December, 2012) of Notre Dame College, Dhaka, and then Acting Vice Chancellor (2013-August, 2017) of the newly-established Notre Dame University Bangladesh in Dhaka. 

For Catholic youth formation and development, his contribution is legendary. He helped in the formation of the Catholic Jubo Seba Dal and other youth initiatives in the Archdiocese of Dhaka. He was also involved in many other charitable and educational organizations and initiatives. He was also was rector of college-going Holy Cross seminarians and Holy Cross Brother candidates. He was a prolific writer and translator. His write-ups appeared in numerous Catholic and secular newspapers, magazines, and journals. He wrote and translated several Catholic religious and spiritual books. In early 2017, his Bangla-language book of essays and articles, called Probondoshomogro, was published by Lekhaprokash -- a secular publishing house in Dhaka.

May God give an eternal rest to Father Benjamin Costa!

A part of his funeral ceremony at St. Mary's Cathedral can be viewed at: Fr. Benjamin Costa CSC: He Is No More


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Thursday, October 12, 2017

UTHAYAN: A Publication of Toronto


Uthayan -- a Tamil-language weekly -- from Toronto

'Uthayan' or 'Canada Uthayan' is the Tamil-language weekly newspaper, which bills itself as "Canada's #1 Tamil newspaper," covers Canada, Sri Lanka, India, and world with news, features and articles on politics, economy, finance, business, community events, beauty and fashion, food, real estate, health and fitness, religion, entertainment, astrology, sports, and more.

Email contact: uthayannews@yahoo.com

It's also available online at: Uthayan


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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

DAS JOURNAL: A Publication of Toronto


Das Journal -- a German-language bi-weekly -- from Toronto
This German-language bi-weekly newspaper caters to the German-Canadians, Austrian-Canadians, and Swiss-Canadians by providing news, features, and articles on politics, economy, business, finance, community events, entertainment, health and fitness, science and technology, religion, food, automobiles, architecture, travel, sports, and more. 

Email contact: info@dasjournal.ca/

It's also available online at: Das Journal



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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TORONTO LIFE: A Publication of Toronto


Toronto Life -- a monthly magazine -- from Toronto
This monthly provides news, features, and articles on Toronto city life and current events, personalities, society, business, lifestyle, beauty and fashion, culture and cultural heritage, political and socio-economic trends, entertainment, festivals and parades, movies and TV, bars and clubs, restaurants, food and drinks, education, real estate, law and order, transport, multiculturalism, secularism, seasonal listing of restaurants and shopping malls, sports, and more. 

It's also available online at: Toronto Life




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Monday, October 9, 2017

The Myanmar Rohingya Refugee Crisis Affects Us All


A Rohingya dad cries for his dead son after fleeing to Bangladesh by crossing the Naf River from Myanmar
Photo courtesy: The Daily Star, Dhaka

Make-shift shelters Rohingya shelters on the hills of Balukhali in south-east Bangladesh
Photo courtesy: www.npr.org/

The Rohingyas, an Indo-Aryan ethnic group of Muslims living in the Rakhine State of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), since last August, are being hunted down by the Myanmar army and their Buddhist civilian accomplices. These people -- facing beheadings, deadly physical attacks including rapes, and burning down of their houses and belongings – began to flee mainly to Bangladesh. So far, their number has risen to more than 500,000.
The government of Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingyas as their citizens, who are living there as stateless persons. They also don’t have the status of one of the government-recognized ethnic minority groups in the country. The Rohingyas have been victims of sporadic attacks in the last few decades, but widespread and organized government-supported attacks took place in the last 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The United Nations and many other countries, including Bangladesh and Canada, have condemned these attacks and persecutions and asked Myanmar government to take proper action to stop these killings and deportations.

According to the Vatican Radio, Pope Francis, on August 27, speaking to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, said: “Sad news has reached us of the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters, a religious minority. I would like to express my full closeness to them – and let all of us ask the Lord to save them, and to raise up men and women of good will to help them, who shall give them their full rights.”

According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis to a general audience on February 8 this year said: “I would like to pray with you today in a special way for our brother and sister Rohingya. They were driven out of Myanmar, they go from one place to another and no one wants them.”  He further said: “They are good people, peaceful people, they aren’t Christians, but they are good. They are our brothers and sisters. And they have suffered for years,” he said, noting that often times members of the ethnic minority have been “tortured and killed” simply for carrying forward their traditions and Muslim faith. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Myanmar on November 27 - 30 and Bangladesh on November 30 - December 2 this year. 

Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario, C.S.C., of Dhaka, Bangladesh, in a statement on September 20, 2017, said: "The humanity is under attack in different places of the world by different peoples.... yet the humanity is not totally finished. Its bright example is Bangladesh that has come forward in protecting the Rohingyas in the country. Bangladesh, not only opened its border for the Rohingyas, it has opened its heart to thousands of children, women, the elderly, the sick, the wounded, and babies in the wombs. It is as if the humanitarian maternity of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and its people. 

He further said: "We thank Pope Francis for his constant support toward the suffering Rohingyas. He is with us, too. We also thank Caritas International and other non-government agencies that are determined to be beside these people by extending their assistance through Caritas Bangladesh...The prayers of Bangladesh Church will always be with these suffering people."


To know more on the events and issues, please click on the following: 



Background Information on the Rohingyas of Myanmar:


(Updated  on Oct. 10, 2017)




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Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (October 8 - 14, 2017)


A quotation of John William Fletcher on 'fanaticism,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A lake scene through a rain-drenched car window on way to Tobermory from Sauble Beach, Ontario, Canada: August 22, 2015) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

GTA WEEKLY: A Publication of Toronto


GTA Weekly: A weekly newspaper of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
This weekly, claiming to be "strengthening community by sharing diverse perspectives," covers the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and provides news, features, and articles on politics, economy, business, arts and culture, entertainment, community events, personalities, leisure and lifestyle, city services, public transport, sports, horoscopes, and more. 

Email contact: info@gtaweekly.ca

It's also available online at: GTA Weekly



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Sunday, October 1, 2017

'Probondoshomogro': A Book of Essays and Articles by Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C.


The book cover of Probondoshomogro, written by Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C., the then Acting Vice-Chancellor of  Notre Dame University Bangladesh
This 400-page Bengali-language book, by Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C. – former professor and Acting Vice-Chancellor of Notre Dame University Bangladesh, was published in early 2017 by Lekhaprokash of Dhaka.

It contains a collection of 58 write-ups, previously published in different newspapers, magazines, and journals in Bangladesh.

The main thread of his writings is God is love and we need to put that love into practice in our daily lives irrespective of our professions and religions.

The varied topics he covered in his book are:


  • God, and being holy like God
  • Jesus Christ (Christmas, Easter, Jesus as the ideal teacher)
  • Kingdom of God: social perspectives
  • Catholic Church and other Christian Churches
  • Role of Churches in spreading Christ’s teachings
  • Unity of Christian Churches
  • Spirituality, and personal and collective spirituality
  • Spirituality of religion teachers
  • Spiritual formation of social-development workers
  • Father Basil Moreau’s vision and present-day Congregation of Holy Cross
  • The Congregation of Holy Cross in Bangladesh: its past and present situation
  • Holy Cross Novitiate in Bangladesh
  • History of formation of priest-candidates of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Bangladesh
  • Moral and spiritual formation of children and adolescents
  • Family being the seed-beds of religious vocations
  • Role of family in building corruption-free society
  • Role of youth organizations in the formation of values
  • Role of the youth in the present realities of life
  • Characteristics of a successful youth leader
  • Teaching and teachers, and the role of teachers in changing societies
  • The necessity of self-giving and self-dedication in the teaching profession
  • How to curb students' increasing cheating or cribbing tendencies in academic tests and examinations
  • Human rights, including those of minority communities, in the light of the Bangladesh Constitution
  • Human rights, labour rights, and family rights
  • Justice for peace and harmony in society
  • Women’s rights in Christianity and present situation
  • Basic and indivisible inheritance of all peoples
  • Need of prayers for world peace and welfare of peoples
  • Inter-religious communion and harmony
  • Peaceful coexistence and cooperation among followers of different faiths
  • Religious directions on religious fraternity and harmony
  • Poet Nazrul Islam and inter-religious harmony
  • Medical care is a liberating service
  • Non-violence and world peace
  • Globalization of religious beliefs
  • Role of religion in countering terrorism
  • Role of families in countering terrorism 
This book will enlighten both Christian and non-Christian readers, who can learn something valuable from it for the benefit of themselves and others.

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The Quotation of the Week (October 1 - 7, 2017)



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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Father Benjamin Costa Is Critically Sick, Needs Your Prayers




(L-R): Jerome D'Costa, blogger of the BANGLADESH CANADA AND BEYOND blog, and his friend Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C., Acting Vice-Chancellor of Notre Dame University Bangladesh at the Mathis House of Notre Dame College, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on July 17, 2017
Photo by Dominic Rozario

The initial report received here says that Father Benjamin Costa had got chikungunya virus attack as a result of a certain type of mosquito bite, resulting in headache, muscle pain, swelling of joints and more. Later he got lung complications followed by breathing difficulty, for which he was in Square Hospital in Dhaka for three weeks. 

As his condition was getting severe, he, on September 28, on emergency basis was rushed to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore by an air ambulance. Father James Clement Cruze, C.S.C., the Provincial of the Fathers of Holy Cross in Bangladesh, accompanied him.

A prayer request has been made for an early recovery of Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C. to his fellow priests-Brothers-Sisters, friends, acquaintances, Bangladesh Notre Dame College and University professors and students.

Since the establishment of Notre Dame University Bangladesh in the Fall of 2014, Father Benjamin Costa, C.S.C., has been acting as the Vice-Chancellor until mid-August of this year. Then, Father Patrick Daniel Gaffney, C.S.C., a U.S. Holy Cross priest and Associate Professor of English in the same university, became the new Vice-Chancellor. 

The Latest on Father Benjamin Costa's Situation:

According to Father James Cruz's emails to Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario, and forwarded to me, doctors in Singapore did two bronchoscopies on Father Benjamin Costa and "ventilation has been changed from mouth to throat. He is still stable. Doctors will say more on Sunday. He has been given high antibiotics." Father Cruz also says that Father Benjamin Costa's blood pressure and heart beat "are fine. Kidney is also good. Because of lung infections lung-support machine is helping him to breathe. Please continue to pray for him."

Further Info on Father Benjamin:

Father James Clement Cruze, C.S.C., who had accompanied Father Benjamin to Singapore, returned to Dhaka and Father Shital Hubert Rozario, C.S.C., took his place. Father Cruze writes in an October 8 e-mail to Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario: "The present situation of Father Benjamin remained the same. No change. He is in ventilation. Lung infection is grave. Doctor could not find out, either it is recoverable or not. They have done 2nd-time bronchoscopy and his ventilation has been changed from mouth to throat. He is being given high antibiotics. Doctors wanted few days more to give their opinions. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for him."



(Updated on September 30, 2017 at 10:40 p.m.)
(Updated again on October 6, 2017 at 12:40 p.m.)
  (Updated again on October 9, 2027 at 12:05 p.m.)  

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Canadian Grandfather, Father, and Grandson Share the Same Birthday, September 22


(L-R): Kevin Warner, his son Lucas Warner, and his grandson Cooper Warner share the same birthday
Photo courtesy: www.bbc.com/

Canada's Alberta province resident Kevin Warner (born on Sept. 22, 1959), his son Lucas Warner (born on Sept. 22, 1992), and his grandson (born on Sept. 22, 2017) have the same birthday and all of them are the first-born sons!

According to a mathematician, the probability of having this phenomenon is one in 130,000.

For more, please read the following:

There are other similar or quasi-similar cases that happened elsewhere. For details, click on the following:


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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Christian Numerologist's Prediction: The World Ends on September 23, 2017


According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is to come again at the end of the world
Image courtesy: www.express.co.uk/


Yes, today -- September 23 -- is the much-vaunted doomsday, the end of the world! So says David Meade, a Christian numerologist and self-proclaimed end-time prophet in the U.S. 

According to him, the verses in Luke 21: 25 -26 are the signs of the Bible-mentioned apocalypse. Our most-recently witnessed solar eclipse and destruction unleashed by Hurricane Harvey are those events of the apocalypse.

It is now, at the time of writing this item in this blog, 10:15 a.m. and still I don't see any sign of the apocalypse. When one picks and choose a verse or part of the Bible ignoring other parts of the Bible, a person makes a fool of himself. According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is God and he did not say when exactly the apocalypse would happen. He said that no one knows when it is going to take place.

For more on this prediction, please read:




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Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (September 17 - 23, 2017)


A quotation of Joanna Lumley on 'learning from nature,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (A summer garden in Scarborough area of Toronto: Sept. 5, 2017) © Jerome D'Costa

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Amazon Launches Its Audiobook Website 'Audible' in Canada



L-R: Don Katz, the CEO of the Audible, novelist Margaret Attwood, and Elizabeth Moss, an actor of The Handmaid' Tale, at the Audible-launching ceremony in Toronto
Photo © Jerome D'Costa

Amazon's audiobook website, Audible, was launched yesterday with the partial reading of novelist Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale in a morning ceremony at the Union Station of Toronto.

In Canada, audiobooks will be available from: audible.ca/                              

For more, please read: Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth Moss reunite, have words in Toronto (Sept. 3, 2017)




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Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (September 10 - 16, 2017)


A quotation of Nelson Mandela on 'making a difference to others' lives makes our lives significant', compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Flowers on sale at the Costco superstore in Scarborough, Toronto: April 12, 2014) © Jerome D'Costa

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Friday, September 8, 2017

GLOBAL CITIZEN DIGEST: A Publication of Toronto



Global Citizen Digest: A Publication of  Toronto

Published by the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion at the Centennial College, Toronto, this magazine provides news, features and articles on global citizenship initiatives and partnership, indigenous studies, indigenization at the Centennial College, relationship building across institutions, social entrepreneurship movement, conversations for social change, social justice fashion, and more. 

Email: gcei@centennialcollege.ca

It is also available online at: Global Citizen Digest


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Thursday, September 7, 2017

DOLCE: A Publication of Toronto



Dolce: A Publication of Toronto
This luxury lifestyle and fashion magazine, published quarterly from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), publishes features and articles on personalities, art and design, fashion, business and finance, real estate, food and drink, philanthropy, jewellery, travel, and more. 

Email: info@dolce.ca

It's also available online at: Dolce





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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How Some People Use Religion for Their Own Interests


Sept. 11, 2017 issue of the Outlook magazine from India
Image courtesy: www.outlookindia.com

The Outlook magazine, published from New Delhi, India, in its September 11, 2017 issue details ungodly deeds of some Indian male and female charlatans using religion for money, sex and power disregarding the sense of decency, morality, and rule of law.

The magazine's cover story deals with items headlined as follows: Goddamn!, Tantric Rites In The Bed, The Unascetic Swami Of Pelf, Bleeding Plots Narrate It All, Shootout At Puttaparthi, A Scary Cort Of Bliss, Thirst Beneath The Red Lips, A Hypnotic Tale, Middlemen In God's Market, Convicted By People's Court, and The Dera Sultanates.

To read them all, you may visit: Outlook



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Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (September 3 - 9, 2017)


A quotation of Galileo Galilei on 'the free use of sense, reason and intellect,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Terracotta replicas of ancient Chinese soldiers at the Dundas Subway Station mall in downtown Toronto: Oct. 18, 2013) © Jerome D'Costa

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Vatican Announces Papal Visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh


The coming papal visit logos for Myanmar (left) and Bangladesh (right)
Image courtesy: Radio Vaticana

The Vatican on August 28 announced Pope Francis' official apostolic visit to Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh from November 27 to December 2, reports the Catholic News Agency (CNA).

The Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, read out a statement that the pope will make the visit to the cities of Yangoon (former Rangoon) and Nay Pyi Taw of Myanmar on November 27 - 30. The pope then will be in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on November 30 - December 2.

In Myanmar, according to the 2014 census, there are roughly 5.1 million people, of whom 88% are Buddhists, 6.2% Christians (among whom 700,000 are Roman Catholics), and 4.3% Muslims and .5% Hindus.

In last May, the Vatican and Myanmar officially established diplomatic relations with the provision of having each other's ambassadors. In 2015, Charles Maung Bo, the archbishop of Yangoon, was elevated to the cardinalate.

The neighbouring Bangladesh, on the other hand, has a population of about 163 million and, according to the 2011 census, 90.39% are Muslims, 8.54% Hindus, 0.60% Buddhists, 0.37% Christians (of whom, about 300,000 are Catholics) and 0.14% others (Sikhs, animists, and atheists) . Patrick D'Rozario, the archbishop of Dhaka, became a cardinal in the papal consistory in the Vatican on November 19, 2016. 

It is noteworthy that Pope Francis' visit to Bangladesh will be the third visit of a pope. On November 27, 1970, Pope Paul VI, on his way to Manila, the Philippines, made a short stopover in Dhaka (then in East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh), and expressed his love and sympathy for the victims of the deadly November 12 cyclone that had devastated a large portion of the coastal areas and killed more than 300,000 people.   Pope John Paul II, made an apostolic visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh, on November 19 - 20, 1986.   

To know more on the coming papal visit, plead read the following:


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Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (August 27 - September 2, 2017)


A quotation of John Wooden on 'character and reputation,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo by Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (August 20 - 26, 2017)


A quotation on 'taking charge of one's own life,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Design: Jerome D'Costa

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Quotation of the Week (August 13 - 19, 2017)


A quotation of Confucius on 'doing the right thing,' compiled by Jerome D'Costa
Photo (Clouds over Toronto sky: August 15, 2012) © Jerome D'Costa

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stolen Babies of Spain




This 1971 photo shows Catholic nuns with a lady who purchased a baby in a Malaga hospital, Spain 
Photo courtesy: BBC

A BBC documentary, called This World: Spain’s Stolen Babies and aired in October of 2011, shows that a secret network of Catholic doctors, nurses, priests, and nuns were complicit with the right-wing Catholic fascist dictator General Franco of Spain (1939 – 1975) in stealing new-born babies and then trafficking them in the name of good and holy cause. Even after the death of the dictator in 1975, this illegal, unjust, and unchristian act continued up to the early 1990's.

General Franco was a rabid right-winger who ruled authoritatively, without giving any legitimate right to the citizens of Spain, and he considered his opponents, especially leftists and communists, as enemies of the state.

To curtail the influence of communism in the country, he pursued a secret policy of stealing babies born to leftist and communist parents (who were thought to be a threat to the government and the Catholic Church and religion) and giving them to government-approved “Catholic” parents for adoption at an exorbitant price. Later, babies born to single mothers, irreligious mothers, and poor mothers, too, were taken and sold similarly. In the name of keeping people Catholic, priests and nuns also cooperated in this vicious venture by providing false birth certificates to these stolen babies and telling birth-mothers that their babies died immediately after birth. The Spanish Church thought that it got a contract from God to keep the country Catholic by any means – lawful or unlawful. It was also a financially profitable business for the Spanish government and the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis, nowadays telling us Catholics to abandon this very judgmental, condemning, and greedy attitude and be merciful and self-sacrificing instead.

To know more on this shameful and sinful episode of the Spanish history, you may read the following:

(Updated on August 31, 2017)

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