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‘Tolerance alone will not bring faiths together’

‘Tolerance alone will not bring faiths together’

ICC Note: Subtle differences make all the difference when it comes to language

By Chirendra Satyal

7/10/10 Nepal (UCAN) - The English word “tolerance” is inadequate to convey the respect that is required for genuine interfaith dialogue, Bishop Anthony Sharma of Nepal said on his return from a Bangkok meeting of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and its Asian members and consulters.

“For five days we shared our experience on interfaith dialogue,” Bishop Anthony Sharma, apostolic vicar of Nepal told ucanews.com.

Bishop Sharma was among three dozen participants at the July 12-18 meeting held at Sam Phran, near Bangkok.

“We focused on Hinduism and related religions for the first two days – then Buddhism and Islam for the other three days,” Bishop Sharma said.

“Maybe the most inspiring was our visits to Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim places of worship.”

The 71-year-old bishop, who has led the Catholic Church in Nepal since 1984, said that the Hindu background of his parents helped him in interfaith dialogue.

“Though illiterate, my mother lived her Hindu religion. She knew the Hindu epic Ramayana from beginning to end.

“She taught me to respect Christianity and now for me this has turned into respect for Hinduism and other religions,” he said.

The English word “tolerance” does not convey the full sense of this respect, Bishop Sharma said.

“In the Nepali language the more compassionate word, sahishnuta, sounds much better,” he continued.

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