L'Osservatore Romano

Pope's Remarks to Jains Before General Audience

‘I thank you for all that you do in this task and we remain united in this ideal, in this task, in this work to make sure our Mother or Sister Earth is guarded’

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Before the General Audience this morning, Pope Francis received members of the Institute of Jainology of London in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall and addressed them briefly (translation of his words is below).
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) issued a press communiqué stating that a meeting took place between the PCID and an International Jain delegation on 31 May in the offices of the dicastery.
The respective delegations were led by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the PCID, and Nemu Chandaria, chairman of the Institute of Jainology. It was the third meeting of this type; the previous two were held in 1995 and 2011. There have also been several contacts between the Jain community and the PCID since 1986, and the PCID, in collaboration with the local churches and Jain organisations in India, the United Kingdom and the United States, organised Jain-Catholic dialogue meetings in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
According to the Vatican, in yesterday’s meeting, held in an atmosphere of mutual respect and friendship, members of the delegations expressed satisfaction with the cordial relations and cooperation that exist between both the Christian and Jain communities in countries where they live in close proximity. While expressing the desire to further deepen cooperation, the delegations agreed that it must be increasingly strengthened at local level to better contribute towards the common good of society. In particular, they stressed the importance of educating younger generations so that they may be aware of their own traditions, and come to know and better respect the traditions of others.
With an aim to identifying concrete areas of convergence as the basis of cooperation, they discussed “Taking care of the Earth, the home of the human family”, emphasising the need for both Jains and Christians to work together, joining hands with all believers and people of good will to make the Earth liveable and peaceful for all.
They reflected on the Jain principle of “non-violence” (Ahimsa) towards all forms of life and that of Christian “compassion” and “justice” for the poorest and most vulnerable people by calling for responsible stewardship of the natural world. They found common elements that can motivate and advance cooperation between Jains and Catholics.
They also recognised that these elements, on a practical level, call upon the followers of both religious traditions to promote respect for the environment, non-exploitation of natural resources, reduction of wastefulness, care for all forms of life and concern for future generations.
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[Pope’s words before the audience:] I welcome you and I like this encounter, an encounter that nourishes our responsibility to care for Creation, a gift that we all have received – the gift of Creation – so that it grows and is cared for. Creation is God’s mirror, the mirror of the Creator, the mirror of nature, of all nature, the life of nature, and is our mirror, too.
We all love Mother Earth, because she is the one who has given us life and protects us; I would also call her Sister Earth, who accompanies us during our journey through life. But our responsibility is a bit like caring for it a bit like one does for a mother or sister, that is to say to do so with responsibility, tenderness, and peace.
I thank you for all that you do in this task and we remain united in this ideal, in this task, in this work to make sure our Mother or Sister Earth is guarded; in the knowledge that in caring and protecting Creation, the Earth, we are treating and caring for all humanity. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]

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