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Vatican cardinal assesses dialogue with Muslims, Hindus, others

January 05, 2009

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, assesses the current state of interreligious dialogue in a lengthy interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. The remarks were published in Sunday’s edition of the newspaper.

Asked whether theological dialogue is possible with Muslims, Cardinal Tauran quoted remarks recently made by Pope Benedict and affirmed that theological dialogue, strictly speaking, cannot take place between Christians and the followers of other religions because “we do not have the same relationship with God and much less with our respective sacred books.” Intercultural dialogue is possible, though, as well as about religious topics such “creation, life, family, prayer, fasting, eternal life,” and thus, according to Cardinal Tauran, it is possible to speak in a loose sense about theological dialogue. Quoting the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Tauran added that the Church esteems all that is good and true in other religions and works with the followers of other religions for justice, peace, and charitable initiatives. Cardinal Tauran added that the sacred books of other religions ought not to be referred to as “Sacred Scriptures.” Catholics in formation in “institutes of instruction, seminaries, and novitiates” should study the founders of other religions, while “we Christians obviously have the duty” of introducing the Bible to followers of other religions. The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in October, will lead to a deeper interreligious dialogue with the followers of African religions. Seeing the positive elements in these religions as “seeds of the Word” that are “like a preparation for the Gospel,” Cardinal Tauran added that there are negative elements that are incompatible with the Catholic faith.

Commenting on dialogue with Hindus in light of the persecution of Christians in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, Cardinal Tauran stated that dialogue will concentrate on religious freedom, including the right to change religions and publicly profess one’s faith.

 


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