Thursday, November 08, 2007

Message to Hindus on the occasion of Diwali

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has issued its annual message to Hindus for the festival of Diwali, which is being celebrated this week. [Diwali itself is tomorrow, November 9. There's something or the other going on all week, however.]
Belief and freedom always go together. There can be no coercion in religion: no one can be forced to believe, neither can anyone who wishes to believe be prevented from doing so. ... Like all human relationships, those between people of different religions need to be nourished by regular meetings, patient listening, collaborative action, and above all, by an attitude of mutual respect. Accordingly, we must work to build bonds of friendship, as indeed must the adherents of all religions. ... Dear Hindu Friends, the hand I warmly extend to greet you on the occasion of your feast is also a gesture of willingness on the part of the Catholic Church to meet and collaborate with you, your families, your community leaders and all followers of the Sanatana dharma, in order to promote harmony in society and peace in the world.
[This year, following Hindu custom, my family will not be celebrating Diwali, the first after my father's death.]

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