Hindus welcome Pope's overtures on interfaith dialogue in "Verbum Domini"

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Nevada (US), Nov 13 (ANI): Hindus have welcomed Pope's overtures on interreligious dialogue in his "Verbum Domini" (The Word of the Lord) apostolic exhortation released at Vatican City on November 11, calling it "a step in the right direction".

"The Church considers an essential part of the proclamation of the word to consist in encounter, dialogue and cooperation with all people of good will, particularly with the followers of the different religious traditions of humanity", His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI wrote in this about 200-page document addressed to the bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful.

Pope further said: "Among the various religions the Church also looks with respect to Muslims, who adore the one God. They look to Abraham and worship God above all through prayer, almsgiving and fasting..."

Talking about "dialogue with other religions", he voiced Church's respect "for the ancient religions and spiritual traditions of the various continents. These contain values which can greatly advance understanding between individuals and peoples. Frequently we note a consonance with values expressed also in their religious books, such as, in Buddhism, respect for life, contemplation, silence, simplicity; in Hinduism, the sense of the sacred, sacrifice and fasting; and again, in Confucianism, family and social values. We are also gratified to find in other religious experiences a genuine concern for the transcendence of God, acknowledged as Creator, as well as respect for life, marriage and the family, and a strong sense of solidarity."

Applauding Pope's support for interreligious dialogue, prominent Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that serious and honest interfaith dialogue was the need of the hour and Pope should take the lead in organizing one.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that Pope Benedict, being the leader of the largest religious organization of the world, should invite leaders of major world religions and denominations to Vatican City and initiate the dialogue. (ANI)

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