Bangladesh’s cardinal has launched a “devoted appeal to unity” to the Christian leaders and Churches of the country to overcome their conflicts and divisions that has almost brought the country’s first Christian microcredit institution to a halt. Since last year, the managing board of the Dhaka-based Christian Cooperative Credit Union Limited (CCCUL), which covers various denominations, has not been renewed because of disagreement among Christian leaders. This has led to the institution’s paralysis, preventing it from granting loans.
"It is sad and at the same time scandalous to see the recent divisions and disunity within Christian communities in Bangladesh and abroad," the country’s first cardinal noted in his appeal. According to Card D'Rozario, the situation is due to "conflicts over ideologies, approaches and strategies, leadership and interests, power, and positions taken by Christian organizations and socio-economic institutions." The net result of this is that “Ordinary people are the victims of such conflicts and divisions,” the prelate added. “For them, divisions threaten the Christian community. " Therefore, "listening to the voice of simple people, I urge all interested parties to turn to God's mercy and forgiveness, and abandon the spirit of revenge, hatred and exaggerated judgments. Build your vision, values, mission and actions around Christ, who is a source of unity, healing, and reconciliation. Let the Risen Lord be present. May prayers accompany each one of you," Card. D'Rozario exhorted.
The bank was created in 1955 by American Holy Cross priest Fr Charles J. Young, at a time when Dhaka’s Christians, unable to get loans from regular financial institutions, found themselves exposed to unscrupulous loan sharks. The CCCUL offers easy low interest loans. Today it has 36,000 shareholders members, 47,000 savings account holding members with an equivalent of $ 66 million in estimated assets, making it one of Asia's largest credit unions.
The dispute pits the old guard and other candidates. The credit union’s outgoing group barred some candidates from running by cancelling their membership. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh postponed the election of the CCCUL management board scheduled for 6 January.
Some Christians have welcomed Card. D’Rozario’s initiative, wishing it had come earlier. Speaking about corruption among CCCUL leaders, who they say came to power illegally, they called for fresh and clean elections to the board. (Source: AsiaNews)