The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC) has criticised the state government for setting a trend of turning Sundays -- that they claim to be special for Christians -- into working days.
"For Christians, Sundays have much religious significance," noted the KCBC in a press noted. "The state cabinet has decided to conduct various programmes for students and government employees this Sunday (October 2) as part of Gandhi Jayanti.
Special masses are held on Sundays in most Catholic denominations, including the Syro-Malabar Church. Catechism or religious instruction classes for Christian children are often held on Sundays.
"Earlier, Sundays were devoid of official programmes. But of late that trend is shifting and there is a practice of forcibly introducing events on Sundays," the KCBC said.
The Council has alleged that in recent times more and more Sundays are turned into working days. "June 30th, which was a Sunday was a working day for government employees in Kerala. The traditional boat race as part of Onam that is usually held on a second Saturday was shifted to a Sunday this time. Moreover, several competitive exams are conducted on Sundays. This is becoming a trend... The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council strongly opposes this practice. We also urge the state government to move the statewide programmes scheduled for October 2nd to either October 1 or October 3."
It is understood that the Kerala government has proposed to roll out it's No To Drugs' campaign on October 2 (Sunday) with the participation of students and government employees.
The other day, former cricketer Sourav Ganguly, who is the president of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) inaugurated the campaign.
'Don't cause difficulty for churchgoers'
Meanwhile, the Syro-Malabar Church Public Affairs Commission has said launching the campaign on Sunday will cause difficulty for churchgoers.
The Commission writes: "It has come to the attention that on October 2, the education department is conducting an anti-drugs campaign with the participation of students, teachers and parents.
"Sundays are special to the church, in accordance with the ten commandments given by God. On such a day, the faithful have to participate in mass and children are to be given Catechism. Hence the abovementioned programme causes difficulty.
"Usually, weeklong events are held as part of Gandhi Jayanti. This proposed event can be moved to another day in the week. The church will fully cooperate to such an arrangement."