Bishop Swarbrick praises Fr Stan Swamy’s “faith and determination”

Bishop Paul Swarbrick roots his message in Scripture and begins by reading Psalm 71. He then praises Fr Stan Swamy's tireless commitment to the poor - something that cannot be supressed by prison bars.

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Four Catholic Bishops from our International Affairs department have recorded messages calling for the release of Fr Stan Swamy – a Jesuit priest who has been held on unfounded charges of terrorism in an Indian prison for more than 200 days. He celebrated his 84th birthday in captivity on 26 April 2021.

Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Bishop of Lancaster and our Lead Bishop for Africa, roots his message to Fr Stan Swamy in Scripture and begins by reading Psalm 71. He then praises his tireless commitment to the poor – something that cannot be supressed by prison bars.

“Father Stan is committed and determined to defend and promote the rights of the indigenous people. He will not rest. He will not walk away and let them be robbed. Even in his present restricted circumstances, he is doing what he can to promote their cause. He will not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. He has prayed and continues to pray. But he knows the prayers go together with deeds.”

Message

My name is Paul Swarbrick and I’m the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Lancaster in the north west of England.

In this brief message, I wish to add my voice to all those who are expressing solidarity and support for Father Stan Swamy. An eighty-four-year-old Indian Jesuit priest who is currently detained by the Indian authorities on charges related to terrorism. All he is guilty of, in fact, is defending the rights of the poor.

Before I go any further, I would like to add a brief quote from Psalm 71.

May the mountains bring forth peace for the people. And the hills justice. May he defend the poor of the people and save the children of the needy and crush the oppressor. He shall save the pool when they cry and the needy who are helpless. He will have pity on the weak and save the lives of the poor. From oppression, he will rescue their lives. To him, their blood is dear.

The Psalms are considered the prayers of Christ. Prayers go together with deeds. I cannot recall Christ ever giving up on his care for the poor.

Father Stan is committed and determined to defend and promote the rights of the indigenous people. He will not rest. He will not walk away and let them be robbed. Even in his present restricted circumstances, he is doing what he can to promote their cause. He will not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. He has prayed and continues to pray. But he knows the prayers go together with deeds.

Father Stan, I thank you for your faith, your determination and your example of courageous love for these little ones, so dear to God.

May the good people of India see laws upheld and may justice prevail.

God bless you.