Friday, October 16, 2009

The PCID's Diwali Message

The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue has issued a Message to Hindus in occasion of Diwali (Deepavali), the Festival of Lights.

The theme of this year's message is - Hindus and Christians: Committed to Integral Human Development

I am not especially thrilled with the language of the document, some of which reads:

Religious Festivals enable us to revitalize our relationship with God and one another. May this Festival of Lights, while elevating our minds and hearts towards God, the Supreme Light, strengthen fellowship among us and bless us all with happiness and peace.

I am willing to let this slide, however. I understand the need to play the game, and Cardinal Tauran neither invented the tradition, nor asked for the job.

There is really nothing wrong with what Cardinal Tauran calls for, or rather, with the kind of cooperation to which he invites Catholics and Hindus:

Let us all, as people of good will, join together to dispel every darkness that hinders a true vision of co-existence, religious harmony and integral development for each and every person.

I subscribe to this call, and promise to do my best in this direction.

Rather more upsetting to me is what is missing from the Message.

You see, I think our Hindu friends in, say, Orissa, could use some more basic instruction in the conditions necessary to integral human development, before we try our hand at creating the conditions sufficient for its flourishing.

In the Message, I would have liked to see something like the following:

Integral human development is only possible if you do not murder your Christian neighbors.

Systematically raping Christian women and girls is also unhelpful, never more so than when they are in the bonds of religion.

Whether accomplished by simple theft or outright destruction, violent dispossession of your Christian neighbors is not the best way forward on the road to integral human development, either.

It is, moreover, our firm conviction that, vis-à-vis integral human development, both torching Christian houses of worship and burning Christian families out of their homes and businesses, so that their only recourse is to hide in the forest and live for months like hunted animals, are almost certainly counterproductive.

What was it that Paul VI said?

"If you want peace, work for justice." I think that was it.


Good thing for me I am smart enough to understand how preparing for war can be a work of justice (Cf. Gaudium et spes n. 79).



Maria said...

I'm totally out of the loop. What Hindus are you referring to vis-a-vis Christian persecution? And what's this pontifical statement about? Does the Church always release statements acknowledging holy days of other faiths? Are these statements in response to this persecution of Christians that you are referring to?

Lazy Disciple said...

Dear Maria,

Christians in the Indian state of Orissa suffered violent persecution last year.

It was the second persecution in as many years.

Government figures report an official death toll of 60, though that number strikes everyone as awfully low.

For several weeks, Hindu radicals murdered, maimed, raped, and drove Christians from their homes.

They tried to coerce conversions, sometimes by threatening rape and/or murder of family members.

The Hindu radicals burned Christian homes, business and houses of worship.

10s of thousands of Christians were forced to live in makeshift camps the government erected.

Many thousands of others chose to flee into the forest and take their chances there, rather than place themselves under government "protection".

There are several links in the post to particular news stories - are they not showing up on your screen?

Now as to the PCID: I know the PCID sends a message to Hindus at Diwali, to Muslims at Eid ul-Fitr, and to Buddhists at Vesakh.


Clayton said...

GS 79 - I've never seen it referenced before in the way you've done, LD! :)

Lazy Disciple said...

I know, I know.

State authorities and others who share public responsibility have the duty to conduct such grave matters soberly and to protect the welfare of the people entrusted to their care. But it is one thing to undertake military action for the just defense of the people, and something else again to seek the subjugation of other nations. Nor, by the same token, does the mere fact that war has unhappily begun mean that all is fair between the warring parties.

Those too who devote themselves to the military service of their country should regard themselves as the agents of security and freedom of peoples. As long as they fulfill this role properly, they are making a genuine contribution to the establishment of peace.

The way I just pay attention to the plain language of the paragraph, like that!

Pretty cheeky of me, I suppose.

Good to have you 'round the place, again!