Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Dialogue between believers of different religions is a “necessary journey”, in order to build a world of peace, but it must be based upon shared respect and the acceptance of religious freedom. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical council for inter-religious dialogue has written to Hindus for Diwali, the festival of lights, in a message entitled “Christians and Hindus : Determined to Walk the Path of Dialogue”.
To his “dear friends” the Cardinal writes “the world around us is yearning for peace. Religions promise peace because they trace their origin to God who, according to Christian belief, is our peace. Can we, as believers of different religious traditions, not work together to receive God’s gift of peace and to spread it around us so that the world becomes for all people a better place to live? Our respective communities must pay urgent attention to the education of believers, who can so easily be misled by deceitful and false propaganda”.
But “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”. In this light the message recalls the words of Benedict XVI to a group of ambassadors, including the Indian ambassador:… “Peace is rooted in respect for religious freedom, which is a fundamental and primordial aspect of the freedom of conscience of individuals and of the freedom of peoples” (18 May 2006).
“Like all human relationships, - continues the message - 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”. “Only through dialogue, avoiding all forms of prejudice and stereo-typed ideas about others and by faithful witness to our religious precepts and teaching, can we truly overcome conflicts. Dialogue between followers of different religions is the necessary path today; indeed it is the only appropriate path for us as believers”. Concludes cardinal Tauran – “Together, in collaboration, we can do much to build a society of harmony and a world of peace”.