In 1944 a Conference of Indian Bishops known as “Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India” (CBCI) was established. When the National Episcopal Conferences got juridical and structural recognition in Second Vatican Council, the CBCI began to reorganize itself with infrastructures such as National Commissions, Regional Councils of Bishops and National Organizations working under its guidance and directives.
The promulgation of the Latin Code of Canon Law in 1983 contributed to the debate about establishing a Conference only for the Latin Rite Bishops. The Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II, after his visit to India in 1986, wrote an apostolic letter to the Indian bishops on 28 May 1987 an important text of which reads thus:“The Bishops of each of the three Rites have the right to establish their own Episcopal bodies in accordance with their own ecclesiastical legislation. The National Conference (i.e., the CBCI) of all Catholic Bishops of India is to continue for questions of common concern and of a national and supra-ritual character, e.g., Doctrine and Morals, Organizations of a national and supra-ritual character, questions involving the Catholic Church and the Government, etc. These areas are to be determined in the National Conferences’ new statutes.”
Hence in compliance with the above directive of the Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II, the CBCI in its General Meeting in April 1988 decided that all the three ritual Churches could have their own Episcopal body. Accordingly, the bishops of the Bhopal started their own Episcopal Conference in the same meeting and named it “Conference of Catholic Bishops of India – Latin Rite” (CCBI-LR). In January 1994 the Holy See approved its Statutes. Hence, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is an organization having its legal foundation in the Canon Law of the Catholic Church, which applies to all Catholic Church of the Roman Rite throughout the world. Therefore, according to Canons 447-459 CCBI is the Central Church body of India and its purpose is to deliberate on matters of concern for the whole Church of India and encourage activities in accordance with the needs of the times. The CCBI members are: 1) The diocesan bishops, their coadjutors, and auxiliaries, and 2) those honorary bishops appointed by the Holy See or the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India for particular tasks.
In the Bishops’ Conference there is a President, who is in overall charge and represents the Conference, a Vice President and a Secretary General to assist him for a term of two years. The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, in addition to Plenary Assemblies, has an Executive Committee to handle ordinary matters, Episcopal Commissions and a General Secretariat. Currently CCBI comprises of 131 dioceses and 181 Bishops.
To grow as a participatory community of vibrant Christian families, nourishing ourselves on the Word of God and the Sacraments, and proclaiming and propagating Gospel values, for promoting a just and peaceful society which is in harmony with the whole creation.
To witness and to spread the good news in the diocese of Bhopal through prayer, sacrifice and service to every one without any discrimination of caste or creed, health or poverty, by building up basic Christian and human communities by sharing the Gospel value especially through mass media, communication and trying to fulfil the basic needs of the people in order to bring out the hidden image of Christ in all the people and thus establish the kingdom of God though the inter religious harmony.
Archbishop Leo Cornelio received Ambassador of Peace Award
Most Rev. Leo Cornelio SVD, the Archbishop of Bhopal, received the prestigious International Human Rights Award for the year 2015, on the auspicious day of World Human Rights Day on Thursday the 10th of December at the India Islamic Centre, New Delhi in a glittering ceremony organized by All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice.
The Archbishop's name was nominated by the council for his outstanding contribution for peace, harmony, protecting human rights and service to Humanity. During the Ceremony, the President of Human Rights Council commented, "Leo Cornelia is a renowned philanthropist, humanitarian, compassionate, thoughtful and a person respected far and wide. His Humility to accept this prestigious award on the occasion of Human Rights, he added, will continue to add dignity and encourage people to make strides in the direction of serving humanity.
The Award titled " AMBASSADOR OF PEACE" was presented in the presence of
Governors of various states, Human Rights Commission, Social Activists, Religious
Leaders, Social NGOs, Foreign Diplomat United Nation, Ministers, Members of
Parliament, IAS, IPS and Judiciary etc. from all over India as well as Globally.
To a question asked, the Archbishop replied to the Editor of Bhopal Link, that the
Award has humbled him to serve humanity more diligently. He said it is an award for
the people of M. P., for their unity to promote a violent free society.
The Archdiocese of Bhopal, along with other Diocese of M.P. congratulated Leo Cornelio for receiving this prestigious award and wishes him the best for the future. Fr. Maria Stephen, the PRO for M.P. Region said it is an honour for the entire people of M.P. and hoped that it would encourage all the sections of the society to build a better world where human rights and dignity will prevail.