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Jesuit Scholar Urges to Continue Inter-Religious Legacy Of John Paul II

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altBELLARY, JAN 20: Jesuit scholar in Islam, Fr. Terence Farias S.J. said that the late Pope John Paul II, of happy memory gave the Church a splendid and path-breaking example of promoting inter-religious dialogue. The same has to be continued with new vigor.

“The late Pope’s inter-religious contribution was very clear from the fact that his funeral was attended by so many   leaders of different   world religions which had never happened in the past”, declared Fr. Terence.  


Fr. Farias, the former provincial of Jesuits in Karnataka was speaking to the clergy of Bellary Diocese on "Promoting Inter-religious Dialogue" on 18th Jan 2011.


“John Paul II was the first pope to call a gathering of leaders of different religions to pray and fast to promote world peace at Assisi in 1986. He was the first Pope to enter a Mosque in 2001 in Damascus. He was the first Pope to make it appoint to meet the leaders of other religions in every pastoral visit of his to different countries”, recalled the leader of the Jesuit Mission at Jagir Pannur in northern Karnataka.


“This new and revolutionary way of relating to people of other religions would not have been possible if it were not for what the Vatican II taught the Church about relations with other religions. It taught us to look at other religions not as our rivals, or enemies, rather as our collaborators in building the Kingdom of God” he added.


“Inter-religious dialogue therefore, according to the Vatican II is cooperation with people of other religions on the basis of our common values and beliefs, in order to build a better word, a world of peace and Justice”, he insisted.


“For this end from the time of the Council, inter-religious dialogue has been practiced mainly in four forms throughout the world, namely, by inter-religious prayer, meetings of leaders of different religions to find out means to promote harmony and unity, cooperation of people of people of different faiths for the purpose of development and promoting better relations by individuals with other people in everyday life”, opined Fr. Farias.


“If inter-religious dialogue is to be practiced by the  faithful, it is necessary that the  priests should know well the doctrine  propounded on this  point by the Vatican II and preach on it now and then to the faithful”, he exhorted.


“From the time of the Council, the Vatican in the name of the Holy Father, greets people of other faiths on their principal feasts.  And this little gesture has created a lot of good will and improved relations”, stated the Jesuit leader.


“Taking the example of the Holy Father, the Parish Priests as the head of the Catholic community could greet the people of other faiths on the occasion of their principal feasts”, advised Fr. Farias.


“So also the Bishops on their pastoral visits to the parishes, following the example of John Paul II, could make it a practice to meet the leaders of other religions of that area. This certainly would create a lot good will and create greater peace”, he added.

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