Christian greetings on the Feast of Deepavali
The following message, addressed to Hindus for the Festival of Lights (Deepavali, also referred to as Diwali, 23rd October) by the Roman Catholic Council for Inter Religious Dialogue in Rome, may be of interest to Christians in England whose Hindu friends, among others, celebrate this important day. The document was co-authored by Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J. and signed by Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran.
“Christians and Hindus: together to foster a culture of inclusion”
“It is true that globalisation has opened many new frontiers and provided fresh opportunities to develop, among other things, better educational and healthcare facilities”, according to the text. “It has ushered in a greater awareness of democracy and social justice in the world, and our planet has truly become a 'global village' due in large part to modern means of communication and transportation. It can also be said, however, that globalisation has not achieved its primary objective of integrating local peoples into the global community. Rather, globalisation has contributed significantly to many peoples losing their sociocultural, economic and political identities”.
“The negative effects of globalisation have also had an impact on religious communities throughout the world since they are intimately related to surrounding cultures. In fact, globalisation has contributed to the fragmentation of society and to an increase in relativism and syncretism in religious matters, as well as bringing about a privatisation of religion. Religious fundamentalism and ethnic, tribal and sectarian violence in different parts of the world today are largely manifestations of the discontent, uncertainty and insecurity among peoples, particularly the poor and marginalised who have been excluded from the benefits of globalisation”.
“The negative consequences of globalisation, such as widespread materialism and consumerism, moreover, have made people more self-absorbed, power-hungry and indifferent to the rights, needs and sufferings of others. This, in the words of Pope Francis, has led to a globalisation of indifference which makes us slowly inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves. Such indifference gives rise to a 'culture of exclusion' in which the poor, marginalised and vulnerable are denied their rights, as well as the opportunities and resources that are available to other members of society. They are treated as insignificant, dispensable, burdensome, unnecessary, to be used and even discarded like objects. In various ways, the exploitation of children and women, the neglect of the elderly, sick, differently-abled, migrants and refugees, and the persecution of minorities are sure indicators of this culture of exclusion”.
“Nurturing a culture of inclusion thus becomes a common call and a shared responsibility, which must be urgently undertaken. It is a project involving those who care for the health and survival of the human family here on earth and which needs to be carried out amidst, and in spite of, the forces that perpetuate the culture of exclusion”.
“As people grounded in our own respective religious traditions and with shared convictions, may we, Hindus and Christians, join together with followers of other religions and with people of good will to foster a culture of inclusion for a just and peaceful society”.