Vatican: Cardinal sends message for Hindu holiday

Vatican City, 16 October (AKI) - The Vatican's top body for promoting religious dialogue used the occasion of the Hindu festival of Diwali to send a message urging peace, protection of fundamental rights and freedom of religion in India.

The Vatican's top inter-faith dialogue official, Cardinal Jean Louis Touran sent a message to Hindus for the feast which is celebrated during the month of October, a Vatican media statement said on Friday.

"Christians and Hindus: Committed to Integral Human Development," was the title of the message which alluded to freedom of religion in India.

"In the process of integral development, protection of human life and respect for the dignity and fundamental rights of the person, are a responsibility of everyone, both individually and collectively", says the text, which also bears the signature of Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata.

Touranis the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, while Celata is secretary.

"Respect for others therefore implies the recognition of their freedom: freedom of conscience, thought and religion," the statement said.

"Integral human development also requires the political will to work towards ensuring greater protection of human rights and peaceful co-existence.

"Development, freedom and peace are inextricably linked together, and they complete one another," the message concluded.

Diwali, known as the festival of light, is a major festival in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism and is celebrated by billions of people worldwide.


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