11/07/2023, 17.43
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Vatican on Diwali: Building peace through truth, justice, love and freedom

These are the same pillars Saint Pope John XXIII mentions in his 1963 encyclical "Pacem in Terris”. As such, they are still relevant today, this according to the traditional message of greetings released today by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for the Hindu Festival of Lights. They are necessary foundations to avoid giving in to "contempt for human dignity", the “curtailment of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, including religious rights" and the “aggression" against those who are different in a number of ways.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue today released its message for the Hindu feast of Diwali, which this year falls on Sunday, 12 November. Also known as Deepavali, the festival of lights marks the start of a new year and the victory of truth over falsehood, light over darkness, life over death, good over evil.

Signed by the Cardinal Prefect Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot and Fr Indunil Kodithuwakku Janakaratne Kankanamalage, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, it reads: “As believers, we need to express our aspiration for peace through consistent and concerted efforts, grounded in an unshakable fidelity” set on the pillars of truth, justice, love and liberty.

To build peace it is necessary not to “yield to pessimism, discouragement and renunciation.” Far too often, such attitudes produce “contempt for human dignity; the denial or curtailment of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, including their religious rights; and of intolerance and hatred, injustice and discrimination, violence and aggression directed towards those who are ethnically, culturally, economically, linguistically and religiously diverse, or against the more vulnerable members of society”.

The message says that, “This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), the Encyclical Letter of Pope John XXIII.” The theme of the message is thus centred on the idea that Christians and Hindus can, together, work on “building peace in truth, justice, love, and freedom.”

“In 1963, when the world was deeply troubled and on the brink of a nuclear war, that Document issued a timely, impassioned and much-needed plea to world leaders and people to work together for peace, and urged them to find amicable solutions to problems in a spirit of mutual trust, through dialogue and negotiations.”

“The teaching of Pacem in Terris has given rise, over the past six decades, to a heightened awareness among people worldwide – albeit in varying degrees – of the need to respect the transcendental dignity of persons, their legitimate rights and their shared responsibility to work for the common good in a spirit of solidarity.”

The message notes that “the full realization of its prophecy of peace remains a distant dream, which can only be realized through collaborative efforts on the part of men and women of every religious tradition and all sectors of society. These efforts must continue and make further progress.”

Hence, “families, led by the example of parents and the elderly, as well as educational institutions and the media, ought to play a preeminent role in inspiring the desire for peace and teaching the values that build peace in men and women of every age.”

Released in English, Italian, French and Hindi, the message ends by emphasising the "great potential" of interfaith dialogue to nurture “mutual trust and social friendship among interfaith communities,” a task that also falls on religious leaders.

Finally, “As believers and leaders of our respective religions, with common convictions and a sense of shared responsibility for the welfare of humanity, may we, Christians and Hindus, sincerely endeavour to become artisans of peace.”

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