About CBCI
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (C.B.C.I.) is the permanent association of the Catholic Bishops of India. It was formally constituted in September 1944 at the Conference of Metropolitans held in Madras. Its objectives are to facilitate coordinated study and discussion of questions affecting the Church, and adoption of a common policy and effective action in all matters concerning the interests of the Church in India.


His Eminence Baselios
Cardinal  Cleemis Catholicos
 

(President)

Most Rev. Andrews Thazhath  
(Vice President I)

Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrão
(Vice President II)

Most Rev. Albert D’Souza
(Secretary General)


CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF INDIA (CBCI)

History :
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the permanent association of the Catholic Hierarchy of India was constituted at the Metropolitans’ Conference held in Madras in September, 1944. Right from the establishment of the CBCI, the CBCI Secretariat was functioning in Bangalore until 1962 when it was shifted to New Delhi.

Vision/Purpose :
Its purpose is to facilitate common action of the Hierarchy in matters that affect or are liable to affect the common interests of the Catholic Church in India. Through it the Bishops of India, conscious of their unity and solidarity in the episcopate, “jointly exercise their pastoral office by way of promoting that greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programmes of the apostolate which are fittingly adapted to the circumstances of the age” (C.D., 38.1).

Ecclesiastical Organization :
The CBCI is at the service of 166 dioceses out of which 29 are Syro-Malabar, 8 are Syro-Malankara and 129 are Latin dioceses.

The Catholic Church in India is divided into 30 Ecclesiastical Provinces headed by their respective Metropolitans. Besides, it is divided into 13 Regions which function through the Regional Bishops’ Councils, with a Bishop Chairman, Bishop Secretary and a Priest Secretary.

New Ecclesial Reality :
In the wake of the Letter of Pope John Paul II (1987) to all the Bishops of India, we have the ecclesial reality of three Episcopal Bodies with their own rights and ecclesiastical legislation. The three Individual sui juris (Ritual) Churches have their respective Episcopal Bodies: Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) for the Latin Church, Syro-Malabar Bishops’ Synod (SMBS) for the Syro-Malabar Church and Holy Episcopal Synod for the Syro-Malankara Church.

The CBCI is the face of the Catholic Church in India and should deal with ‘questions of common concern and of national and supra-ritual character’ (Letter of Pope John Paul II). The CBCI is at the service of the three ecclesial bodies and the 13 Regional Councils of Bishops.

Besides other roles or functions, the CBCI Secretariat will:

  1. Strengthen and foster the relations among the three sui juris Churches as communion; be a coordinating body for common programmes of inter-ritual and supra-ritual character involving the three Episcopal Bodies at the National level;

  2. Promote advocacy on national issues; make representation to Government, liaising with the Central Government and Ministries/Departments of the Centre; influence government policies for nation building and development of peoples.

  3. Network with other Christian Churches (v.gr. NCCI), organizations (v.gr. NUCF), associations of civil society and people of other religions and all people of good will to work for peace and harmony, for probity in public life, for promotion of human rights and Gospel values.

Office-Bearers :
President, Vice-President-I, Vice-President-II and Secretary General.

The Deputy Secretary General, who is also the Director of the CBCI Centre, sees to the day-to-day functioning of the CBCI Secretariat and CBCI Centre.

General Body :
General Body is composed of all diocesan eparchial Bishops in India and those considered equal to them by law, as well as co-adjutor and auxiliary Bishops, and other titular Bishops performing a special work in India entrusted to them by the Apostolic See or by the Conference shall be Ordinary members of the Conference.

Retired Bishops and other titular Bishops, not ordinary members of the Conference, and residing in India, shall be Honorary members of the Conference.

Ordinary General Body Meetings of the Conference are held every two years, while Extraordinary General Body Meetings are held according to need. At the General Body Meeting the Conference reviews the situation and assesses the progress of the Church in India, and, in the light of its own purposes, decides on plans that may be necessary, and action that may be called for.

At such Meetings the Reports of various Offices, National Centres and Regional Councils are submitted. While the Report of the Secretary General is published along with the Report of the General Body Meeting of the CBCI, the Biennial Reports of the CBCI Offices, National Centres and Regional Bishops’ Councils are printed separately just before the Meeting.

Standing Committee :
The Standing Committee acts as the administrative board and is composed of:
  1. The Office-Bearers of the Conference (President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary General);

  2. The Presidents of the three Ritual Episcopal Bodies;

  3. The Metropolitans (Archbishops of Agra, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bombay, Calcutta, Changanacherry, Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Ernakulam-Angamaly, Gandhinagar, Goa and Daman, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Kottayam, Madras-Mylapore, Madurai, Nagpur, Patna, Pondicherry-Cuddalore, Raipur, Ranchi, Shillong, Tellicherry, Tiruvalla, Trichur, Trivandrum [Syro-Malankara Rite], Trivandrum [Latin Rite], Verapoly and Visakhapatnam);

  4. The Bishops-in-Charge of CBCI Offices and Chairmen of National Centres;

  5. Co-opted members by the President of the Conference up to a maximum of four so that representation of the Orientals is about one fourth of the total membership of the Standing Committee.

The Standing Committee meets at least twice a year, mainly to see that the decisions, resolutions and recommendations of the Conference are duly implemented.

Functioning :
CBCI functions through various Offices and National Centres/Institutes. Each Office has one Bishop-in-Charge and two Bishop Members with one Secretary. All National Centres/Institutes have one Bishop Chairman and a Director/Executive Director. It is to be noted that in view of the Reorganisation of CBCI which has been approved by the General Body during its Plenary Assembly held at Guwahati in 2010, following new terminology has been adopted: ‘Office’ instead of ‘Commission’; ‘Secretary’ instead of ‘Executive Secretary’ and ‘Bishop-in-Charge’ instead of ‘Chairman’.

Offices :
  • Office for Clergy and Religious

  • Office for Dialogue and Desk for Ecumenism

  • Doctrinal Office

  • Office for Education and Culture

  • Office for Health Care

  • Office for Justice, Peace and Development

  • Office for Labour

  • Office for Women

  • Office for Laity

  • Office for Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes and Committee for Tribal Affairs

  • Office for Social Communications

  • Office for Youth

  • Media/Information Office


National Centres/Institutes :
  • Caritas India

  • St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences

  • National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC)

  • National Vocation Service Centre (NVSC)

  • National Institute of Social Communications, Research and Training (NISCORT)

  • CBCI Society for Medical Education, North India.

AT A GLANCE :
Archdioceses/Dioceses 166
Archbishops/Bishops/Apostolic Administrators 165
Coadjutor Archbishops 0
Auxiliary Bishops 9
Curia Bishops 2
Apostolic Visitators 1
Diocesan Administrators 2
Retired Archbishops/Bishops 49