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Bishop gives kidney to Hindu "in the spirit of the church"

by Hannah Tooley

Bishop Mar Jacob Muricken from Kerala gave his kidney to an impoverished, lower-caste Hindu, becoming the first serving bishop to do so while alive.

Speaking to The Tablet, he said: "It is only a simple sacrifice for a fellow being."

The 30-year-old recipient, Sooraj Sudhakaran, has been on dialysis on for the past year after suffering kidney failure in both kidneys.

He has been unable to work or support his family.

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."

He learnt about Mr Sudhakaran from the chairperson of the Kidney Federation of India, Fr David Chiramel.

He himself donated one of his kidneys almost a decade ago.

Bishop Mar Jacob Muricken said he donated his for the Catholic Year of Mercy.

Jubilee years are normally every 25 or 50 years but Pope Francis decided to call one early, it began in winter 2015.

Bishop Muricken said: "Pope Francis has repeatedly appealed to make Our Lord Jesus more visible through works of mercy.

"[It's significant that he is 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."

The donation was approved and took place in the last few days.

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