PONTIFICAL COUNCIL for INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
Christians and Sikhs:
to nurture a culture of friendship and solidarity for peace
Dear Sikh Friends,
1. The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue most cordially extends to you its warmest greetings and well-wishes as you commemorate the Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib on 17th of November. May the celebration of this feast enhance peace, harmony and happiness in your families, neighbourhoods and communities!
2. Due to globalization, humanity today is much more inter-connected and inter-dependent than in the past; people in general live in a spirit of friendship and fellowship. But unfortunately, the ill effects of globalization have also drifted some of them from one another. The alarming rise, in recent times, in the instances of tensions, conflicts and violence in many parts of the world is becoming more and more a cause of great concern to all those who have the welfare of humanity close at heart. Given this disquieting situation, we wish to share with you, on this occasion, a few thoughts on how we, Christians and Sikhs, can contribute towards nurturing a culture of friendship and solidarity among people for peace.
3. At the root of this crisis, as many of us would believe, is the growing selfish and individualistic tendencies that have resulted in widespread inequality and injustice and have given rise to what Pope Francis would term as ‘a throw-away culture’, ‘a culture of indifference’ and a ‘culture of waste’, whereby human beings, shockingly though, are considered as ‘commodities’ rather than as ‘persons’ and therefore easily disposable and replaceable, having no qualms of conscience.
4. As believers in our own respective religious creeds that unequivocally affirm the inherent dignity of every human person with inalienable rights and the consequent duties, we are called upon to do all that we can, individually and collectively, to protect and preserve it by promoting a ‘culture of closeness’ (friendship) with everyone. More specifically, our focus should be on the ‘neighbouring other’ to make the world more humane, where everyone feels respected and accepted. Our convictions, religious or otherwise, must impel us to see others ‘like ourselves’ and to treat them with respect they deserve as persons of incalculable value.
5. This culture of friendship is best developed through the practice of ‘encounter and dialogue’ in mutual trust, esteem and manifestation of goodness in our day-to-day lives. Dialogue fosters understanding, harmony, concord and peace. It makes the people of different religious and cultural traditions to live together in peace and to work together for the common good by developing a ‘culture of solidarity’. In the words of Pope Francis: “There is no future for any country, for any society, for our world, unless we are able to show greater solidarity” (Meeting with the Academic and Cultural World, Cagliari, 22 September, 2013).
7. Being convinced of our own respective religious teachings and conscious of our individual and shared responsibility towards the society that we are all part of, may we, Sikhs and Christians, joining hands with others, promote a culture of friendship and solidarity to build a just, peaceable and habitable world..
Wish you all a Happy Prakash Divas of Siri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib!
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
Father Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ