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Vatican Message to Hindus

29 Oct 2010 – by John Thavis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a message to the world’s Hindus, a leading Vatican official said interreligious dialogue should ultimately lead to wider practical cooperation in addressing “the grave and unresolved challenges of our times.”

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, wrote the annual message to mark the Hindu celebration of Diwali, the feast of lights, which was to begin Nov. 5 in most parts of the world.

Cardinal Tauran said mutual respect and mutual trust were the “pillars” of interreligious dialogue and the foundation of peaceful coexistence in society. Greater effort in interfaith dialogue, he said, should translate into an increase in cooperation and common action in the world.

He quoted the late Pope John Paul II, who said in India in 1986 that interreligious dialogue “paves the way for relationships that are crucial in solving the problems of human suffering.”

Hinduism is the third largest religion with more than 1 billion followers, and the vast majority of Hindus live in India. In recent years, minority Catholic communities in India have faced increasing episodes of violence carried out by Hindu militants.