Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran presents keynote speech during the conference (photo: Chandan Robert Rebeiro)
Visiting Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), said yesterday that even though Christians are tiny in number nationally, their tremendous contribution in the country is much appreciated.
“No need for an inferiority complex because you are small in number, you’ve won respect from your country,” the Vatican envoy said.
The French-born Cardinal, on the fourth day of his first official tour in Bangladesh, was addressing bishops, Episcopal commission secretaries, major religious superiors and Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue (EC-CUIRD) members in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh
Earlier on April 26 the International Conference on Interreligious Dialogue and Harmony Cardinal Tauran said that Bangladesh must be considered as a model for interreligious harmony.
The Cardinal strongly reminded his audience that purpose of interreligious dialogue is not conversion but an ‘encounter of freedom’ between God and man.
“No matter how poor you are, you are enriching your country. Don’t be afraid to live for Christ, who has risen from death for us,” the prelate told the gathering.
During his short visit the Cardinal received a hearty welcome from Church leaders and laypeople. He also visited EC-CUIRD office in the building.
Later that day the Papal envoy made a courtesy call to Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina where he said Bangladesh is a unique model of communal and religious harmony.
The political leaders said the constitution of Bangladesh guarantees equal rights for all citizens to practise their religion freely.
They conveyed greetings to Pope Benedict XVI and also invited him to visit Bangladesh at his convenience.
Cardinal Tauran said he would ask the Pope to visit Bangladesh as early as possible.
The prelate concelebrated a Holy Eucharist with several thousand Catholics including all the bishops of the country at Bangladesh’s largest Holy Rosary Church in Tejgaon, Dhaka.
In his homily Cardinal Tauran said, “To be with you I feel at home, because the Church is not an international organization but a family. I came here with special blessings from the Holy Father for you.”
Emphasizing the important of Eucharist in Church life the prelate added, “Eucharist makes the Church. Every time we celebrate Eucharist Christ stands in our midst as He did in front of apostles on the way to Emmaus.”
A brief reception program followed the Eucharist where the local Catholic Church offered thanks, greetings and gifts to Cardinal Tauran and his secretary Indonesian Father Markus Solo.
Bangladesh praised as interfaith leader