Vatican: Diwali, a moment of conviviality and co-responsibility to overcome wars and violence

This is what the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue writes in its message to Hindus for the festivity that falls on 24 October this year. In it, the  Council warns to be on guard against tensions fuelled by competitive and populist policies, divisions between majority and minority and the unscrupulous use of social media. Christians and Hindus can be promoters of conviviality and a spirit of co-responsibility among people. Interreligious dialogue is a "powerful instrument" for the common good.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue released its traditional message for the Hindu festival of Diwali (row of lights).

In it, the Council warns that, “Growing instances of tensions, conflicts and violence in different parts of the world on the basis of religious, cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic identities and supremacies – oft fuelled by competitive, populist and expansionist politics, as also by majoritarian and minoritarian movements and blatant misuse of social media – are a cause of concern to all of us, since they grossly affect the fraternal and peaceful co-existence in society.”

Known also as Deepavali, the festival is based symbolically on an ancient mythology and marks the beginning of the new year, representing the victory of truth over lies, light over darkness, life over death, good over evil.

This year the festival will be celebrated on 24 October. In the message, the Vatican dicastery emphasises “the need to promote conviviality and a spirit of co-responsibility among people becomes vital and pivotal,” hence the title “Christians and Hindus: Together promoting conviviality and co-responsibility”.

“Conviviality,” reads the document signed by Card Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and its secretary, Mgr Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage, “is the act and art of forging friendly and fraternal, healthy and harmonious relationships among human beings on the one hand, and between them and nature”.

This, the message, goes on to say, “is built on a daily basis, through personal encounters and dialogue, in mutual listening and learning, with patience and perseverance, and with the conviction that “Life exists where there is bonding, communion, fraternity,” as Pope Francis pointed out in the encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary to be ready “to walk and work together with charity, fraternity and sense of co-responsibility for the common good”, respecting the “transcendental dignity of every human person and his or her legitimate rights”.

Mentioning the role parents and the elderly play in educating the youngest, the message notes that “the family of religious leaders and groups of all religions across the globe, educational institutions, means of communications, governmental and non-governmental organizations also have a shared responsibility in nurturing values of conviviality and co-responsibility, using all available means at their disposal.”

According to the pope, interreligious dialogue is a providential sign of our times and a way to develop fraternity and peace; as such it “can be a powerful means of inspiring and even challenging the people of diverse religious traditions, to live these values in fraternity, unity and solidarity for the common good.”

The multilingual message (English, Italian, French and Hindi) ends by stressing that, “As believers and leaders of our religious communities who are grounded in our own respective religious beliefs and convictions, and with a common concern and responsibility for the welfare of the human family and of the earth-our common home”, Christians and Hindus need to join “hands with those of all other religious traditions and people of good will, [to] promote, individually and collectively, the spirit of conviviality and co-responsibility to transform this world into a secure home for everyone to live in with peace and joy!”