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Religions and peace. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran: “Resorting to force is a form of weakness on the part of those left without arguments”

“We need to show that we can live together with the coherence of our life. We need to spread the respect for human life, for every human life, encouraging openness towards others, in the firm belief that diversity is not something bad but a source of richness. In truth, resorting to force is a weakness of those left without arguments.” Interview with Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, on the occasion of the "Deepawali": the most important festivity celebrated by Hindus, this year on October 19

Man is miserable if he shuts himself alone inside a room. “Diversity is not a bad thing, it’s a source of richness.” Those who make use of force to impose their ideas are in fact demonstrating their “weakness.” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, quoted renowned French philosopher Blaise Pascal to describe the attitude requested of the members of world religions in the face of the challenge of migration and interreligious dialogue in Europe. The Cardinal attended the ceremony for the lighting of the tree of light and the exchange of garlands of flowers held at the Pontifical Gregorian University upon the opening of a Christian-Hindu conference on “Enlightenment and tantra. Christian and Hindus in dialogue.” It’s the eve of the most important Hindu “Deepawali” festivity, celebrated in Italy by 115 thousand Hindus and Indians with various events, signs of a Country – Italy – that is increasingly plural, also in religious terms. “I wish all our Hindu brothers a joyful celebration of the Deepawali”, the cardinal said addressing the audience. “May this festival of lights bring more joy and more peace into your life and in your world, by grace of God, the Supreme Light,.” “May our gathering here today and our reflection on this theme make us grow in the respect of everything that is noble, beautiful and good in our respective religious traditions so as to jointly contribute to the common good and to peace.”

Your Eminence, attacks committed in the name of God in the world are being perpetrated relentlessly. Our Hindu brothers celebrate the Deepawali festivity but our world is strewn with obscurity. What message are men of religion called to disseminate? 
We need to show with the coherence of our lives that living together is possible. We must spread the respect for human life, for every human life, encouraging openness to others. In the belief that diversity is not a bad thing: in fact it’s a source of richness. We have to disseminate these concepts.

The use of force is a form of weakness that is used by those left without arguments.

Murders are sadly committed in the name of God. Do religious believers have some form of responsibility? Education. The future is education; in schools and in universities. In fact most problems are a result of ignorance. Ignorance leads to hatred and hatred destroys human coexistence.

Europe has been shattered by a number of terror attacks. There is widespread fear and the other person is seen as an enemy we must defend ourselves from. Increasing numbers of people, especially in Europe, are asking to close national borders. What is your opinion? How can there be dialogue given these circumstances? This is true. The Pope expressed it in meaningful terms in his speech at the Al-azhar University in Cairo.

We are faced with three challenges: the challenge of identity, the courage of otherness and the sincerity of intentions.

It’s important to have a strong identity: authentic dialogue cannot take place if it is based on ambiguity. The other person must not be seen as a competitor but as our brother. And the sincerity of intentions means showing that interreligious dialogue is not a strategy.

What is it?

Dialogue is a spiritual attitude first of all,

As I just said, it makes us see the other person not as a competitor but as a travel companion who walks towards God. Dialogue enables us to appreciate the qualities of the other person and it’s also a stimulus for us, for in dialogue we need to be consistent witnesses. Interreligious dialogue always begins with the profession of one’s faith. This avoids relativism.

The Vatican press office released your message for the Deepawali festivity, titled “Christians and Hindus: Beyond tolerance”, in which you wrote: “to see pluralism and diversity as a threat to unity leads tragically to intolerance and violence.” I think we have a lot to learn on spiritual life from our brothers of all eastern traditions. To have the courage to remain silent, to listen to God and to find the meaning of spiritual life. Pascal, the famous French philosopher, used to say; “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” I consider it prophetical.

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