Vatican issues message of peace for Diwali

The Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue on Thursday offered greetings as Diwali approaches on November 12, stressing that Interreligious dialogue can boost mutual trust among interfaith communities and can further contribute to sustaining peace globally.

The Vatican in an official statement shared by the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, stated, "Interreligious dialogue possesses great potential for nurturing mutual trust and social friendship among interfaith communities, and it has indeed become a necessary condition for contributing to peace in the world," citing Pope Francis.

It further added that it is necessary for religions and religious leaders to strive to encourage their followers to be the people whose lives are shaped by truth, justice, love and freedom.

This year marks the 16th anniversary of Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), the Encyclical Letter of Pope John XXIII.

Pope John XXIII was the former head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1958 until his death in June 1963.

Notably, when the world was dealing with deep troubles and was on the brink of a nuclear war, that document issued a timely, impassioned and much-needed plea to world leaders and people "to work together for peace, and urged them to find amicable solutions to problems in a spirit of mutual trust, through dialogue and negotiations."

Pope John XXIII, a revered saint, said, "Peace is but an empty word if it does not rest upon...an order that is founded on truth, built up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect under the auspices of freedom."

Over the past six decades, the teachings of 'Peace on Earth' have given rise to a heightened awareness worldwide, focusing on the need to respect the transcendental dignity of persons, their legitimate rights and their shared responsibility to work for the common good in a spirit of solidarity.

"It also gave rise to movements that passionately engage in the protection and defence of human rights and promotion of peace through dialogue and negotiation. Nonetheless, the full realization of its prophecy of peace remains a distant dream, which can only be realised through collaborative efforts on the part of men and women of every religious tradition and all sectors of society," the Vatican emphasized.

These efforts must continue and make further progress, it added.

Moreover, the message by the Dicastery further stated that initiatives aimed at fostering peace and the universal common good must not yield to pessimism, discouragement and renunciation.

"These attitudes may be prompted by instances of contempt for human dignity; the denial or curtailment of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, including their religious rights; and of intolerance and hatred, injustice and discrimination, violence and aggression directed towards those who are ethnically, culturally, economically, linguistically and religiously diverse, or against the more vulnerable members of society," it wrote.

"As believers, we need to express our aspiration for peace through consistent and concerted efforts, grounded in an unshakable fidelity to those pillars," the dicastery added.

To contribute to peacebuilding globally, we need to strengthen those pillars of peace, adding that, for this very reason, families led by the example of parents and the elderly, as well as educational institutions and the media, play a crucial role in inspiring the desire for peace and teaching the values that build peace in men and women of every age.

"As believers and leaders of our respective religions, with common convictions and a sense of shared responsibility for the welfare of humanity, may we, Christians and Hindus, sincerely endeavour to become artisans of peace," the Vatican emphasized.

Further adding, the Vatican said in its Diwali message, "Joining hands with followers of other religious traditions and with all people of goodwill, may we work together to build our world on the lasting foundations of truth, justice, love and freedom, so that everyone can enjoy genuine and lasting peace!"


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