Saturday, January 21, 2017

INDIA - The Jesuits committed to social harmony

To overcome ignorance and prejudice and above all to educate young people to promote peace and social harmony, peace which is an urgent need today: this is what the Indian Jesuit theologian Michael Amaladoss, director of the Institute for dialogue with cultures and religions at Loyola College in Chennai and consultant for mission and evangelization of the World Council of Churches says to Agenzia Fides.

"We need to build relationships and help people not only to tolerate, but to celebrate difference as a creative gift from God. 

We have to build a multi-religious coalition to counter any type of fundamentalism and communalism in all religions. We should especially take care of the formation of young people, so that they grow by acquiring a mentality that overcomes prejudice and promotes social harmony", the Jesuit told Fides.


According to Amaladoss, "the use of new digital media and social media is needed to reach a growing number of people and form networks. We could disseminate information, provide training programs and also facilitate meetings through the Internet", he notes.


On the theme of dialogue, Fr. Vincent Sekhar, another Jesuit, underlines the importance of the ministry of inter-religious dialogue in India, starting from the current religious-political situation of the country, useful to discern new paths: "This is why we must be proactive and resist what hinders the values of pluralism and secular India, cultivating all possible ways to promote love and friendship, trust and cooperation.
 

At present it is urgent to build bridges to reconcile different communities", he notes.

"Policy that exploites religion, the challenges of religious fundamentalism and provocation of communalism seriously affect the two pillars of democracy and secularism in India", said Fr. Sekhar.


"We must recognize - he continued - that the essence of all religions is love, service, peace and harmony. The recognition that every human person is the home of a Supreme Being leads to mutual respect. We also believe that the respect and appreciation of the teachings of the scriptures of all religions lead to the appreciation and acceptance of each other, helping us to live peacefully".


In this spirit, the Jesuits organize prayer meetings and the celebration of religious festivities in collaboration with members of different religions, encouraging understanding and solidarity and pledge to bringing reconciliation and harmony in contexts where there is violence.

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