VATICAN (CNS): Christians and Hindus must resist pessimism and instead draw from and add to the “a hidden sea of goodness” that convinces many men and women around the world that peace and brotherhood are possible, said a message from Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for the Hindu feast of Diwali which begins on October 27.
Signed by Miguel Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, president of the council, the message, released on October 21, said that the commitment to kindness and goodness “is growing and leads us to hope in the possibility of building, together with the followers of other religions and all men and women of good will, a world of solidarity and peace.”
The council issues a message to Hindus each year for the feast of Diwali, a three-day religious festival focusing on the victory of truth over lies, light over darkness, life over death and good over evil.
Cardinal Ayuso expressed his hopes that the Diwali “festival of lights” would bring joy to Hindu families and that it also would “strengthen your spirit of fraternity with one another.”
The cardinal said that today, many societies are experiencing the conflicting forces of efforts to improve interreligious and intercultural dialogue, while at the same time “there is apathy, indifference and even hatred among some religious people toward others. This is often caused by a failure to recognise the ‘other’ as a brother or sister.”
Yet all faiths call their followers to recognise other human beings as “a brother or sister to be supported and loved,” he said in the message.
“Living in a spirit of fraternity and fellowship through constant dialogue should be a natural corollary of being a religious person, Hindu or Christian,” the message said.
Cardinal Ayuso said it was a “happy coincidence” that the month ending with Diwali began with celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, 2 October 1869.
St. John Paul II had called him “an outstanding and courageous witness to truth, love and nonviolence.”
The Indian leader also was “a valiant protagonist of human fraternity and peaceful coexistence,” the cardinal said. “We would do well to draw inspiration from his example in living peaceful coexistence.”