A bishop in India is to donate one of his kidneys to save the life of a poor Hindu.
Bishop Mar Jacob Muricken of the Syro-Malabar Eastern church is an auxiliary in the Palai diocese, in the southern state of Kerala.
The recipient is E Sooraj, a 30-year-old poor lower-caste Hindu man from Kottakal in the south of India. He was diagnosed with kidney failure two years ago, and has been on dialysis since then, and struggling to support his wife and his mother.
Bishop Muricken was inspired by hearing Fr Davis Chiramel, chairman of the Kidney Federation of India, speaking at a convention. Fr Chiramel had donated one of this own kidneys to a Hindu in 2009.
“This is perhaps the first time in history that a serving bishop is donating one of his kidneys to save a life,” said Fr Chiramel. He said it was significant that he was doing it “in the Holy Year of Mercy, following the call by Pope Francis to love each other without the barrier of caste or creed”, adding “30-year-old Sooraj is getting life from this Catholic bishop, who’s forming the bridge of love and God’s grace”.
Bishop Muricken said: “Pope Francis backs such acts of organ donation. It’s in the spirit of the Church. I believe this should be a strong message for people around me, to be open to donate organs.”