Vatican Cardinal calls for ‘the education of believers’ as Hindus prepare to celebrate Diwali


5 November 2007


Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has sent his greetings and best wishes to the Hindu community ahead of the feast of Diwali. In his message to mark the celebrations, the Cardinal urges Christians and Hindus to pay urgent attention to the education of believers to build a peaceful future:

“Ignorance is the first and, perhaps, the principal enemy in the life of believers, while the combined contribution of every enlightened believer provides a rich resource for lasting peace.”

In addition, Cardinal Tauran lays out a blueprint for meaningful dialogue saying relationships between people of different religions need to be nourished by regular meetings, patient listening, collaborative action and, most importantly, mutual respect.

The Most Rev Kevin McDonald, Archbishop of Southwark and Chair of the Committee of Other Faiths for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales also extends the hand of friendship to the country's Hindu communities:

“The themes that come across strongly in this greeting are the common search for peace by members of all religions and the importance of religious freedom and dialogue as the means by which we can work for peace together.”

Cardinal Tauran concludes his message to the world’s Hindus by highlighting: “[a] willingness on the part of the Catholic Church to meet and collaborate with you, your families, your community leaders and all followers of Sanatana dharma, in order to promote harmony in society and peace in the world.”

Audio: Interview with Fr Martin Ganeri, Prior of Dominican House, Blackfriars, Cambridge on the Diwali greeting and Hinduism

Fr Martin Ganeri is the new prior of Blackfriars in Cambridge. He is in a unique position to talk about Diwali and Hinduism as his mother is a Christian and his father’s a Hindu. He also lectures on Hindu Christian encounter at Heythrop College.

“Fundamental to Hinduism, to the way Hindus view the world and view their lives, is the search for knowledge, for the realisation of the truth, for the overcoming of ignorance. The [message] hits the nail on the head in terms of Hinduism – it evokes something that is absolutely fundamental to Hindu thinking and way of life.”

Fr Ganeri discusses Hinduism, Diwali and Christian Hindu dialogue in the UK.

Click here for mp3 audio Interview with Fr Martin Ganeri

Notes to editors:

View the full text of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s message.

Diwali, the festival of lights, starts on Friday 9th November 2007.