The Vatican, through the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, sends a special message to Hindus every year on the occasion of their festival of Diwali. The Melbourne Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission also sends a local greeting on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese to accompany the distribution of this message. Below is the Greeting from to members of the Hindu community in Melbourne from the Episcopal Vicar, Fr Denis Stanley.
Dear friends in the Hindu community in Melbourne,
On behalf of Archbishop Denis Hart and the Catholic community of Melbourne, I would like to extend warmest greetings to your community on the occasion of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, which celebrates victory over evil and darkness, and the blessing of prosperity and success.
The Catholic Church holds the Hindu community in esteem. Indeed, the Second Vatican Council (a gathering of the world’s bishops in 1962-1965) recognised that: “In Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust.”
The Council went on to say: “The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognise, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.”
As the Hindu community celebrates Diwali, we are reminded that our Catholic faith also uses the symbol of Light for God’s revelation and goodness that comes from above, conquers the forces of darkness, and leads to prosperity and peace for all.
Our world is in great need of peace and an equitable sharing of the world’s goods. On many occasions in the past, Catholics and Hindus have successfully worked together to achieve these goals, and we look forward to doing more together in the future for the common good of our society.
Very Reverend Denis Stanley,
Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations,
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
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