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Vatican cardinal, in England, addresses Jains, Sikhs, interfaith meeting for peace

Catholic World News - June 17, 2013

During a five-day visit to the United Kingdom to promote interfaith relations, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, delivered separate addresses to the Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Catholic communities and spoke at an interfaith gathering on peace.

At the interfaith gathering in Westminster cathedral hall, during which representatives of nine religions prayed separately for peace according to their own traditions, Cardinal Tauran said:

How can we be messengers and artisans of peace in concrete terms? First of all and most importantly, by genuinely living our faith whichever religious persuasion we belong to. A faith life authentically lived cannot fail to bring forth fruits of peace and brotherhood because no religion teaches otherwise. It is in the nature of every religion to promote peace and fraternal relationship among people … It is true that there are today certain fundamentalist and fanatic elements that try to instigate intolerance, hatred and violence against people who do not share their beliefs, in the name of authentic religious tenets. But those elements are a minority.

During his address to Hindus in London, Cardinal Tauran emphasized compassion; to Jains, he spoke about nonviolence; and to Sikhs, he reflected on service.

“Both Christianity and Jainism, as is known, give primacy to a life of love and nonviolence,” he said to Jains in Hertfordshire. “We see it immortalized in the life and teachings of Jesus who despite being reviled, humiliated and persecuted, remained serene, fearless, non-aggressive and suffered everything because of his unconditional love and compassion for the humanity particularly the needy and the suffering.”

To Sikhs in Birmingham, he said:

Both of our religions, as is evident, lay great emphasis on service to humanity, serving the human being next to us. We, Catholics, find a perfect model for this in Jesus Christ who came “not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). His entire life was one of service and sacrifice. He said, “If anyone wants to be first, must be the last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35). He also said, “The greatest among you shall be your servant” (Mt 23:11). You are familiar with the incident towards the end of his life whereby he washed the feet of his disciples, giving an example of humble service to them and inviting them to do the same. “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you have done it onto me”. (Mt 25: 40), he said. Following his example, the Catholic Church, for the past many centuries, as you are quite aware of, has been actively engaged, in myriad ways, in humble service to humanity particularly for the poor, the sick, the needy and the marginalized.

Later, at Vespers in Birmingham’s cathedral, he told Catholics that interreligious dialogue means being “rooted in our own faith, cultivating, despite differences, harmonious relationships among believers of diverse religions and collaborating with them for the good of humanity with shared values and convictions.”

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