12/04/2007, 00.00
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An encyclical of hope for an Asia tormented by dangers and problems

by Nirmala Carvalho
Msgr. Thomas Dabre, a member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious dialogue and president of the Doctrinal Commission of the Indian Bishops conference, speaks to AsiaNews about Spe Salvi in the context of the problems in his nation and continent.

Bombay (AsiaNews) – On the one hand tied to Regensburg – were the bond between faith and reason is addressed – and on the other to Deus caritas est – and its affirmation of God’s infinite love manifest in history - Spe Salvi offers Asian society and India in particular, “a comforting and encouraging message of hope to a world fraught with all kinds of problems and dangers”. So says Indian bishop of Vasai, Thomas Dabre, member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and Chairperson of the Doctrinal Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.  Speaking to AsiaNews he reflected on the relevance of Benedict XVI’s second encyclical in his country and continent. 

“The encyclical affirms that in hope we are saved, Christ is the salvation given to us in hope. We have our hope because of Christ who manifested unconditional love for humanity and this is the grounds for hope. The present day scenarios and the outlook for the future at times is bleak because of unfortunate developments of ideologies, terrorism, fanaticism and communalism on the one hand and agnosticism, atheism, indifference and exaggerated fascination for the progress brought about by science technology and medicine”.   

“The person open to the developments in the world can easily get discouraged because of development in the international community and even nearer home in India and Asia.  In such a discouraging situation the Holy Father proclaims this comforting message of hope.  Ultimately, Christianity is a message of hope- given the context we live in today with continuous conflicts and strife-  the Holy Father clarifies is what the world urgently needs today - A manifestation and revelation of unconditional love- which was manifested in the life and mission of Christ. The grounds for hope is based on God alone- not human effort. The encyclical has message of hope for all”. 


“The Holy Father has reviewed attempts in history to offer hope to man- like the French Revolution, also in philosophical thinking which spoke about faith in progress brought about by human reasoning and freedom and the philosophy of Karl Marx which held sway over large parts of the world in the 20th century.  For a period these mesmerized the world, but given the intrinsic flaws these were doomed to fail and history bears out that theses ideologies and systems have failed.

In the Regensburg discourse, the Holy Father called for a synthesis of faith and reason- this Spe Salvi, goes back to Regensburg where the Pope is calling for Reason to be open to faith. Spe Salvi, also ties with Deus Caritas Est –it is God’s infinite Love manifested and revealed in history”. 

“I am personally very happy and rejoice with the Spe Salvi, because in spite of the communalism fascism and casteism plaguing Indian society, according to the Pope, most of humanity harbour hope and do not give into despair. This virtue of hope also inspires and urges us to be responsible to the situation around us in the very context with live in- thus we have to world to work for justice and for a better world and we must be prepared to suffer for the cause of Truth and Justice and peace. Christian hope demands a readiness to suffer. Not just self satisfying and individualistic”.


“In India, communalism fascism and castism, fundamentalism is real enemies of hope and we are called to hope. This brings us to our beloved brothers the Dahlit Christians who are being discriminated on every level and sadly even through legislature. In India more than more 16 million Dahlit Christians are being affirmative action benefits extended to Dahlits of other faiths. The Church of India and I strongly support the rights of the Dahlit Christians”.


“The holy father is a promoter of faith and this Spe Salvi, is relevant in inter-religious dialogue and faith in God gives hope to human beings and all religious leaders of every religion must collaborate to give hope to all people (not just people of good will) to work today’s creating a community of hope where peace and justice reigns and all people live with dignity. Religions must cooperative together to give hope to humanity and this is what inter-religious dialogue to hope for a better world which must be concretized through works for peace and mutual understanding”.


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See also
Pope: Advent, Christ’s hope stronger than science
Inter-religious dialogue and evangelization can co-exist
Christmas Day violence tarnishes India’s democratic image, says bishop of Orissa
Pope has also hopes for atheists
The hope of Christ’s coming pushes us to live life to the full, not to disengagement, says Pope


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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”