» 02/26/2014, 00.00
INDIA - USA
American priest in India: Faith in Christ will help us find respect for other religions
Father Leo D. Lefebure, of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is in India for a series of lectures . He talks about his mission, founded on relations with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. We can learn something from every belief if we give up our negative attitudes towards others.
- "The greatest contribution that
India can give to interreligious dialogue is to promote reconciliation with
Pakistan and try to resolve the situation in Kashmir". The speaker is Fr. Leo
D. Lefebure, an American priest, who is touring the Asian country giving
a series of lectures. A native of the Archdiocese
of Chicago, Fr. Lefebure
is engaged in inter-religious. He
is a professor of theology at Georgetown University and is an emeritus member
of the World Parliament of Religions. During
his visit to India, the priest gave a lecture at Jamia Millia Islamia, the
historic Islamic university in New Delhi. Here
he spoke of Paul VI and the new spirit that the pope has brought to relations between
Christians and Muslims. He
spoke to AsiaNews about the meaning of his mission and what he has learned from
dialogue with people of other religions.
does your passion for inter-religious dialogue come from?
faith in Jesus Christ pushes me to pursue respectful and harmonious relations
with the followers of other religious traditions. Unfortunately,
many religious traditions are too often in conflict in many regions of the
world today, and many Americans have negative attitudes towards other religions,
particularly towards Islam. I
draw my energy and my support from so many wonderful colleagues that I have met
in various interfaith activities.
would you see as India's contribution to Christian-Muslim dialogue in a global
biggest contribution that India can give is to promote reconciliation with
Pakistan and try to resolve the situation in Kashmir. This
would have a global impact and would be a wonderful model for dialogue and
inspiration for others.
have you learned from dialogue with people of other religions and people who do
not profess any belief in particular?
a long time I have been involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue, in which I
learned a lot about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, of the tragic history
of Christian anti-Semitism, the need to change Christians' attitudes towards
the Jews and Judaism. Any changes in
this relationship have important ramifications for all other forms of interreligious
learned so much about meditation from Buddhism, which has greatly enriched my
life as a Catholic. Right
now I am involved in "Vaishnava - Christian" dialogue and I am
learning more about this strand of the Hindu tradition. I
have never been involved in a formal dialogue with people who do not belong to
any specific religion, but I learned a lot from the writings of intellectuals who
In Kerala, a Catholic centre promotes inter-religious harmony
Founded in 1987 by Jesuit Father Sebastian Painadath sj, the center of Indian spirituality Sameeksha organizes seminars open to the faithful of every religion and caste. Here, people meet, as companions on a spiritual pilgrimage that crosses the boundaries of the individual to cultivate shared dialogue.
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Fr. Arun Raj Manuel comes from a family originally from Kerala. He was ordained priest by Msgr. Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia. "All my friends, Christians and Muslims, have encouraged me to follow my vocation". Muslim friends were present at his ordination ceremony "and I saw that they were happy." Abu Dhabi people say that "we Catholics are special." To bear witness to the Gospel "you do not need to do the brave, but to live in Christ."
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