Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has released a message for the followers of Hinduism on Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, whose celebration begins on 11 November this year. Titled Christians and Hindus: promoting human ecology together, the note is also signed by Fr Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J, secretary of the same dicastery.
Celebrated by Hindus around the world, Deepavali (from the Sanskrit for row of lights or lamps) represents the victory of truth over untruth, light over darkness, life over death, and good over evil. The three-day festivity marks the beginning of the New Year, family reconciliation, especially between brothers and sisters, and worshipping the divinity.
In the message, the Council notes, “His Holiness Pope Francis, in his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, has recently addressed the environmental and human ecological crisis threatening our planet. [. . .] Human ecology points to the relationship and responsibility which humans have towards the earth and to the cultivation of ‘ecological virtues’. These virtues include a sustainable use of the earth's resources through the adoption of policies, at national and international levels, which respect the interconnectedness and interdependence of human beings and nature. These issues, as we know, have a direct bearing not only on the current health of our earth - the home of the human family- but also for generations to come.
“There is no more time to underestimate the problem. “Human selfishness, as evidenced in consumerist and hedonistic tendencies in some individuals and groups, nurtures an insatiable desire to be "masters" and "conquerors" rather than "guardians" and "stewards" of nature. We are all called, regardless of religious belief or national identity, to live with a greater responsibility towards nature, to nurture life-giving relationships and, most of all, to reorder our lifestyles and economic structures according to the ecological challenges facing us. Your tradition stresses the "oneness" of nature, humanity and the divine. The Christian faith teaches that the created world is God's gift to all human beings. As stewards of the created order, we are called to care for it responsibly and resolutely.
“There is an inseparable link between our harmony with creation and our peace with one another. lf peace is to prevail in the world, we must, together and as individuals, consciously give ourselves to "protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity" (Laudato Si’, 201). Promotion of human ecology requires formation and education, at all levels, in ecological consciousness and responsibility, and in the wise stewardship of the earth's resources. This begins in the family”.
Finally, the message expresses hope for improved relations. “United by our humanity and mutual responsibility, as well as our shared values and convictions, may we Hindus and Christians, together with people of all religious traditions and good will, always foster a culture which promotes human ecology. In this way, there will be harmony within us, and in our relationships with others, with nature and with God, which will ‘favour the growth of the 'tree of peace' (Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Peace, 2007).”