Message to Hindus Emphasizes Education in Dialogue

Proposal of Cardinal Arinze on the Feast of Diwali

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2001 ( A Vatican official proposed education in dialogue for peace in the future, when congratulating Hindu faithful for the upcoming feast of Diwali.

“War and violence in the name of religion are contrary to the true spirit of religion and can endanger its very existence,” Cardinal Francis Arinze said in a message sent to Hindus on behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He is president of the council.

“Mutual respect and esteem for our respective religious traditions lead to a greater awareness of our responsibility to cooperate in promoting social peace and harmony,” the cardinal said.

The feast of Diwali, known also as Deepavali, namely, of the oil lamps, is based on an ancient myth that represents the victory of truth over falsehood, of light over darkness, of life over death, and of good over evil.

The Hindu celebration starts Nov. 14 and lasts three days, marking the beginning of a new year; family reconciliation; and the adoration of God.

“Education for dialogue, grater communication, and practical cooperation will contribute to overcoming the causes of violence and to promoting a spirit of mutual understanding and respect,” the Vatican message stressed.

“I propose that we intensify our efforts to foster relations and promote dialogue between our communities,” Cardinal Arinze concluded.

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