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Call to foster peace and unity

Vatican official says religions should work against those promoting hate

The cardinal during his address
The cardinal during his address
  • ucanews.com reporter, Pune
  • India
  • November 8, 2011
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A visiting Vatican official has reiterated that religions are called upon to be channels of peace and unity and not conflict or division.

“But unfortunately there has been a tendency among some with vested interests to create distrust … between communities in the name of religion,” said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The cardinal was addressing a gathering of 40 Catholic and 30 Hindu religious leaders yesterday in Pune, western India.

The November 6-9 meeting is addressing the theme: “Enhancing Hindu-Christian relations and collaboration for justice, peace and harmony.”

It is being held at Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Asia’s largest seminary.

The Vatican official urged people to turn their backs on those using religion to spread hate, violence and division in society and to uphold unity and peace.

Cardinal Tauran said if religions worked together they could promote a culture of religious solidarity that will defeat divisive forces and foster love, justice and peace.

He noted that despite their differences, Hinduism and Christianity enjoy shared values and visions.

Genuine relationships, he added, respect differences “no matter what they are.”

The cardinal hailed the meeting as a “sign of hope” to recognize what is “true, good and holy” in each other’s religions to shape a culture of trust and collaboration.

Swami Srikantananda, a Hindu religious leader, quoted Swami Vivekananda, a 19th century Indian religious leader, in asserting that many faiths are many paths to God.

He said: a Christian was not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor are they to become a Christian.

“But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow in the service of others,” he added.

Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona, a member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, noted that India isa  multi-cultural and multi-religious society where inter-religious dialogue should become a way of life.

Related links:

Vatican cardinal stresses ecumenical, interreligious dialogue

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