PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
MESSAGE TO HINDUS FOR THE FEAST OF DEEPAVALI 2016
Christians and Hindus: Promoting hope among families
Dear Hindu Friends,
1. On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we offer
our best wishes as you celebrate Deepavali on 30 October 2016. May your
celebrations around the world deepen your familial bonds, and bring joy and
peace to your homes and communities.
2. The health of society depends on our familial bonds and yet we know that
today the very notion of family is being undermined by a climate that
relativizes its essential significance and value. So too, family life is often
disrupted by harsh realities such as conflicts, poverty and migration, which
have become all too commonplace throughout the world. There are, however, strong
signs of renewed hope due to the witness of those who hold fervently to the
enduring importance of marriage and family life for the wellbeing of each person
and society as a whole. With this abiding respect for the family, and keenly
aware of the global challenges daily confronting us, we wish to offer a
reflection on how we, Christians and Hindus together, can promote hope in
families, thus making our society ever more humane.
3. We know that the family is “humanity’s first school” and that parents are
the “primary and principal” educators of their children. It is in the family
that children, led by the noble example of their parents and elders, are formed
in the values that help them develop into good and responsible human beings. Too
often, however, the optimism and idealism of our youth are diminished by
circumstances that affect families. It is especially important, therefore, that
parents, together with the wider community, instil in their children a sense of
hope by guiding them towards a better future and the pursuit of the good, even
in the face of adversity.
4. Providing a formation and education in hope is thus a task of paramount
importance for families (cf. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation
Laetitia, 274-275), as it reflects the divine nature of mercy which embraces
the disheartened and gives them purpose. Such an education in hope encourages
the young themselves to reach out, in charity and service, to others in need,
and so become a light for those in darkness.
5. Families, therefore, are meant to be a “workshop of hope” (Pope Francis,
Address at the Prayer Vigil for the Festival of Families, Philadelphia,
26 September 2015), where children learn from the example of their parents and
family members, and experience the power of hope in strengthening human
relationships, serving those most forgotten in society and overcoming the
injustices of our day. Saint John Paul II said that “the future of humanity
passes by way of the family” (Apostolic Exhortation
86). If humanity is to prosper and live in peace, then families must embrace
this work of nurturing hope and encouraging their children to be heralds of hope
to the world.
6. As Christians and Hindus, may we join all people of good will in
supporting marriage and family life, and inspiring families to be schools of
hope. May we bring hope’s light to every corner of our world, offering
consolation and strength to all in need.
We wish you all a joyful Deepavali!
Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran
+ Miguel Ángel
Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ