Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Concern over religious fundamentalism, sectarian violence in Vatican's Diwali greetings to "Hindu friends"

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
By Our Representative
In an usual message titled “Feast of Deepavali 2014“ from Vatican City, which is the seat of power of the Roman Catholic Church, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has expressed dismay over “the negative effects of globalization” which are starting to “impact on religious communities throughout the world.” In its greetings message to the “Hindu friends”, the message says, “Globalization has contributed to the fragmentation of society and to an increase in relativism and syncretism in religious matters, as well as bringing about a privatization of religion.”
The message, issued on October 22 and signed by Council president Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, especially expresses concern over “religious fundamentalism and ethnic, tribal and sectarian violence in different parts of the world”, which are “largely manifestations of the discontent, uncertainty and insecurity among peoples, particularly the poor and marginalized who have been excluded from the benefits of globalization.”
At the same time, the message believes, “globalization has opened many new frontiers and provided fresh opportunities to develop, among other things, better educational and healthcare facilities”, adding, “It has ushered in a greater awareness of democracy and social justice in the world, and our planet has truly become a 'global village' due in large part to modern means of communication and transportation.”
Distributed by Father Cedric Prakash, prominent Ahmedabad-based Jesuit human rights activist, the message says, “The negative consequences of globalization, such as widespread materialism and consumerism, have made people more self-absorbed, power-hungry and indifferent to the rights, needs and sufferings of others. This, in the words of Pope Francis, has led to a 'globalization of indifference' which makes us slowly inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2014).”
The message emphasizes, “Such indifference gives rise to a 'culture of exclusion' (cf. Pope Francis, Address to the Apostolic Movement of the Blind and the Little Mission for the Deaf and Mute, 29 March 2014) in which the poor, marginalized and vulnerable are denied their rights, as well as the opportunities and resources that are available to other members of society.”
It adds, “They are treated as insignificant, dispensable, burdensome, unnecessary, to be used and even discarded like objects. In various ways, the exploitation of children and women, the neglect of the elderly, sick, differently-abled, migrants and refugees, and the persecution of minorities are sure indicators of this culture of exclusion.”
Arguing in favour of “a culture of inclusion”, the message says, this is particularly important when there amidst “increasing discrimination, violence and exclusion throughout the world.” Insisting on the need for Hindus and Christians to “join together” and work towards culture of inclusion with followers of other religions “for a just and peaceful society”, it adds, this should be done even if one is grounded in one’s own “religious traditions and with shared convictions.”
The message “joyfully greets” Hindus on “the festive occasion of Deepavali, celebrated on October 23 this year”, pointing out, “May the Transcendent Light illumine your hearts, homes and communities, and may all your celebrations deepen the sense of belonging to one another in your families and neighbourhoods, and so further harmony and happiness, peace and prosperity.”

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