Pope finds Hinduism's "sense of the sacred, sacrifice and fasting" in agreement with Catholicism

Nevada (US), Nov 13 (ANI): "Evidence of a close connection between a relationship with God and the ethics of love for everyone is found in many great religious traditions", His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his "Verbum Domini" (The Word of the Lord) apostolic exhortation released at Vatican City on November 11.

Talking about "dialogue with other religions", he voiced Catholic 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 Hinduism, the sense of the sacred, sacrifice and fasting..."

This about 200-page document is addressed to the bishops, clergy, consecrated persons and the lay faithful.

Prominent Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, welcomed Pope's overtures on interreligious dialogue and suggested him to invite world Hindu leaders to Vatican City and enter into a comprehensive dialogue as he had done with few other religions in the past.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that serious and honest interfaith dialogue was the need of the hour. Religion was the most powerful, complex and far-reaching force in our society, so we must take it seriously. And we all knew that religion comprised much more than our own particular tradition/experience.

After intensive deliberations, this proposed meeting of Catholic-Hindu leaders should come up with a concrete plan about the common religious concerns like human improvement, peace, ecological responsibility, social and economic development, etc. Maybe this gathering could become an annual feature after that, Rajan Zed added.

Zed further says that in our shared pursuit for the truth, we can learn from one another and thus can arrive nearer to the truth. Dialogue may help us vanquish the stereotypes, prejudices, caricatures, etc., passed on to us from previous generations. As dialogue brings us reciprocal enrichment, we shall be spiritually richer than before the contact.

Rajan Zed stressed that in the spirit of Synod of Bishops 2008 which recommended "strengthening inter-religious dialogue", Pope should visit a Hindu temple in the near future to promote mutual understanding and respect between the faiths. (ANI)

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