VATICAN - PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE SENDS MESSAGE TO HINDUS FOR DIWALI FEAST 2003: “ WHAT CAN WE, CHRISTIANS AND HINDUS, DO TOGETHER TO PROMOTE AND PROTECT THE DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN PERSON?”

Wednesday, 15 October 2003

Vatican City (Fides Service) – “Religious feasts invite us not only to renew and strengthen our belief in God, the Supreme Good of every human being, and to revitalise our relationships with one another, but they also invite us to rediscover, respectfully reaffirm and bravely defend our own dignity and that of every person as human beings created by God” Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue writes in the annual Message to Hindus for their Diwali feast 2003, celebrated on 25 October. Diwali is the feast of light based on the ancient mythology of the triumph of truth over falsehood, light over darkness, life over death, good over evil. Festivities last three days and they mark the beginning of a new year, family reconciliation, especially between brothers and sisters and adoration of God. In the message “Buddhists and Christians: Praying for Peace in the World” the Archbishop says: “I have always been impressed by the fact that on the occasion of Diwali there are some Hindus who make every effort to bring about reconciliation within families and between neighbours, friends and acquaintances. Could not Catholics and Hindus extend these efforts to bring about wider reconciliation and a more lasting peace in our towns and villages and indeed throughout our countries and the world at large?”
He also points out that Christians and Hindus have in common love of God and love for others. “Love for God and love for neighbour’ lies at the heart of the Christian faith” and he asks in the message “Do not your various Hindu traditions (sampradaya) eloquently speak not only of God’s love for us and our love for God but also of the love that human beings must have for one another? The dignity of every person derives from God, the Creator of all, and to promote, protect and defend this dignity forms an integral part of every believer’s life”. The President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue asks another question: “What can we, Christians and Hindus, do together to promote and protect the dignity of every human person? Does not an offense against even one person, when done in the name of religion, mean that an entire religious tradition is abused? Neither the Hindu dharma nor the Christian faith teaches hate, contempt or disrespect for others. Hatred or disrespect on the part of religious believers only brings discredit on religion and its role in society. But the more we commit ourselves to promote the dignity of every human person the more our religious traditions will become credible in the eyes of others.” SL (Fides Service 15/10/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 425)


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