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Look beyond specific religions, says Indian prelate

Religious leaders must be agents of humanity, promote the human family

Look beyond specific religions, says Indian prelate
Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil addressing the colloquium in Pune reporter, Pune

January 11, 2011

An Indian archbishop has urged leaders of various religions to look beyond their communities and promote the human family.

“Behind every civilization there is a unifying vision of reality and in our case, it is a spiritual vision, and it is the most important element in a culture,” Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati said at a recent colloquium in Pune, western India.

About 100 representatives of various religions and NGOs attended the Jan. 6-8 program that addressed the theme, "Indian pluralism and solidarity for a just humanity.”

Archbishop Menamparampil, who initiated an interreligious peace forum in the strife-torn northeastern India, says uniting diverse communities is a “mystic experience.”

“God reveals himself in cultures and communities when they draw closer to each other as though in a pre-ordained fashion,” the Salesian archbishop said in his keynote address. He “genuine religion” does not promote sectarianism or put up boundaries.

“All our destinies are interwoven and until the last of us has lived, the significance of the first cannot be finally clear,” he told Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs and agnostics.

Archbishop Menamparampil cited the examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Sun Yat-sen and Aung Suu Kyi. Similarly, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II represented “the entire humanity” despite their special commitment to their own communities, he added.

The archbishop pointed out that the early Christians brought social changes not through agitation but by planting values Jesus taught.

Likewise, Pope John Paul II transformed communist Poland with his moral philosophy, cultural sensitivity, non-violent resistance and credibility, Archbishop Menamparampil said.

“Mother Teresa touched the conscience of the world with her powerful witness of love, without a single word of rebuke,” he added.

The Ishvani Kendra, center for missiology and communication managed by the Divine Word congregation, organized the colloquium.

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