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ICC Note:

Christian leaders in Rome have organized an international conference to promote dialogue between Christians and the Hindu community. The expressed goal of the conference was to provide familiarity between the two communities as ignorance often brings many evils. Attacks on Christians in India, a Hindu-majority nation, have dramatically escalated. In the first six months of 2017 alone, Christians have been attacked 410 times. Will promoting interfaith dialogue help curb this escalation in persecution? 

10/18/2017 India (Asia News) – Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University organized an international conference on ‘Enlightenment and Tantra – Christians and Hindus in Dialogue’ to coincide with the Hindu festival of Diwali. Held yesterday, the symposium noted that although dialogue between Christians and Hindus is difficult, it is yet imperative to get to know one another in order to appreciate the richness of the other.

Church leaders, representatives of the Hindu community, and scholars came from around the world. In his address, Mgr Ambrogio Spreafico, President of the Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Italy, stressed the current challenges faced by interfaith dialogue. Still, he noted that, “It is imperative to know each other because ignorance brings many evils.”

“When Christians speak of the East, they mostly do so from an intra-Christian perspective,” Mgr Spreafico said. “In reality, there is a distant and yet beautiful East whose cultural richness is largely unknown to us.”

According to the prelate, “In today’s globalization, reaching out is even more necessary. Since globalization too often divides instead of uniting, it creates fears and fears always divide. The latter are a source of bias, misunderstandings and contempt of others. This is why we need to reach out and help each other understand the other.”

Citing Jewish scholar Zygmunt Bauman, Mgr Spreafico noted that “In history, the world has always been divided into ‘self’ and the ‘other’.” With globalization instead, “to defend ourselves from the other, we have moved to ‘us’ and ‘them’.”

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