More Effort Urged in Interfaith Understanding

Vatican Greets Buddhists on Feast of Vesakh

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 25, 2007 ( The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sent a message to the world’s Buddhists on their feast of Vesakh, encouraging joint cooperation in fostering understanding among peoples.

Cardinal Paul Poupard wrote to “convey my own good wishes, as well as those of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue,” said the message released today.

The cardinal recognized the “good relationship” between Catholics and Buddhists and encouraged effort in furthering mutual understanding between peoples.

He said that “there are people today who still need to learn about others and other people’s beliefs in order to overcome prejudices and misunderstandings. This sad reality, if it is to be overcome, demands much effort on the part of both civic and religious leaders.”

“Even in places where people experience daily the ravages of war, fuelled by sentiments of hatred and vengeance, trust can be restored,” Cardinal Poupard continued. “Together we can help to create the space and the opportunities for people to talk, listen, share regrets and offer forgiveness for each other’s past mistakes.”

The 76-year-old cardinal advocated an “education for peace,” noting that it starts in the home.

“The younger generations deserve and indeed thrive upon value-based education which reinforces respect, acceptance, compassion and equality. It is important therefore that schools, both government and faith-based, do all possible to support parents in the delicate but satisfying task of raising children to appreciate all that is good and true,” he said.

The cardinal concluded, saying: “Together may we continue to contribute toward peace and harmony in our society and the world. We Catholics join you with our heartfelt greetings as you celebrate this feast and I wish you once again a happy Vesakh.”

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