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Saturday, October 22, 2016
Vatican sends Diwali greetings to Hindus
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 The Vatican has just released the text of their 2002 message to Hindus around the world who will be celebrating Diwali on 4 November. Diwali, or the 'Festival of Light' - is a celebration of renewal and of divine power overcoming darkness in the world. In north India, Diwali celebrates the god Rama's return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king. In Gujarat, the festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali. Traditionally families and communities light lamps and candles around around the home, in courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. Nowadays in urban areas neons lights are also popular. People wear new clothes on the day of the festival, which is invariably accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. The 2002 Message was signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze when he was president of the pontifical council. On October 1, he was named prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments. The Cardinal said it was customary for him "to invite friends of different religions on the occasion of their respective feasts, to joint reflection on various aspects of our life, in society and in the world at large." He asked if religious festivals were not perhaps "expressions of the desire of human beings to conquer darkness by light, evil by good, untruth by truth and death by life?" He noted that Hindus and Christians attach great value to life in all its stages. "Technology," wrote Cardinal Arinze, "has made great progress in our days. Life has perhaps become safer, easier and longer. ... But does technology help us to value human life? With the progress of technology life paradoxically seems to be more threatened than ever. ... Modern genetic science has become a tool in the hands of man. He can use it or abuse it. Tempted at times to become a manipulator of life, or even an agent of death, man needs to rediscover his fundamental place in creation, namely, that he is created by God and God is the sole Creator of all that exists." In his closing remarks the Cardinal spoke about the inter-religious meeting held this January in Assisi. He said participants, from different religious traditions, "made a common commitment in favour of promoting each single life and the whole of life. ... Only to the degree that ethical and religious considerations will prevail in the whole of society can we hope that the principle of respect for life will be enshrined in society's attitudes and laws." source: Vatican News Service
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