Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Integral human development, the "commitment" of Hindus and Christians, can be only reached by taking responsibility for one another, which involves the recognition of freedom - of conscience, thought and religion - and the guarantee of political will to work for greater protection of human rights and peaceful coexistence. These concepts are the central focus of the message that the Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue sent to Hindus on the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights. Symbolically rooted in ancient mythology, it marks the beginning of the new year and represents the victory of light over darkness, truth over falsehood, life over death, good over evil.
Entitled "Hindus and Christians committed to integral human development" the message, signed by the President of the Pontifical Council, Cardinal. Jean-Louis Tauran, and the secretary, Msgr. Pier Luigi Celata, states "integral human development is the advance towards the true good of every individual, community and society, in every single dimension of human life: social, economic, political, intellectual, spiritual and religious. Pope Paul VI described it as “development of the whole man and of all men” (Populorum Progressio, 1967, no.42) “from less human conditions to those which are more human” (Ibid., no.20). And Pope Benedict XVI wrote recently that “integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples (Caritas in veritate, no. 17).
"Such authentic human development - continues the document - can be achieved only by assuming a shared responsibility for one another and by seriously engaging in collaborative action. This springs from our very nature as human beings and our belonging to one human family" ". In the process of integral development, protection of human life and respect for the dignity and fundamental rights of the person, are a responsibility of everyone, both individually and collectively."
"Respect for others therefore implies the recognition of their freedom: freedom of conscience, thought and religion. When persons feel respected in their primary choice as religious beings, only then are they able to encounter others and cooperate for the progress of humanity. This shapes a more peaceful social order conducive to development. "
"Integral human development also requires the political will to work towards ensuring greater protection of human rights and peaceful co-existence. Development, freedom and peace are inextricably linked together, and they complete one another. Lasting peace and harmoniousrelations emerge in an atmosphere of freedom; so also, integral human development isaccomplished in an environment of peace”.
"Let us all - the document to concludes - as people of good will, join together to dispel every darkness that hinders a true vision of co-existence, religious harmony and integral development for each and every person. May Deepavali be an occasion to celebrate our friendship and boldly proclaim the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and work together to bring about an era of true freedom ‘for all’ and integral human development ‘of all’"