Jews & Hindus find Pope’s message “shocking”

via Press Release published on September 24, 2009

Jews and Hindus have found some of the Pope’s World Mission Sunday message posted on The Holy See website “shocking”.

Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; and Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman; in a joint statement in Nevada today, said that Pope, who heads the largest religious group in the world, should be a unifying force to bring all the religious traditions closer so that they could work together as equal partners on a mutually acceptable agenda for the enrichment of the humanity while still keeping their unique identities.

On the other hand, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in this message encourages his followers to “make disciples of all peoples” and says that the Church works “to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world.”

The Pope further tells his followers—“The goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel as they journey through history towards God, so that in Him they may reach their full potential and fulfilment. We should have a longing and a passion to illumine all peoples with the light of Christ that shines on the face of the Church, so that all may be gathered into the one human family, under God’s loving fatherhood.”

Pope Benedict points out—“Christ calls, justifies, sanctifies and sends his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God, so that all nations may become the People of God.” He stresses—The whole Church must be committed to the missio ad gentes, until the salvific sovereignty of Christ is fully accomplished: “At present, it is true, we are not able to see that all things are in subjection to him”.

Rabbi Freirich and Rajan Zed (who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism) argue that instead the Pope, being a respected religious world leader, should attempt to bring various religions together to work as a team on common world religious and human concerns like economic and social development, peace-making and peace-keeping, freedom and human rights, ecological responsibility. Religion tells us to rise from our own selfish concerns and work for the higher ideals of welfare of all humanity.

We all seek the truth. As we head in the same direction, so in our shared quest for the truth, let us learn from one another and thus come closer to the truth, Freirich and Zed point out. Moreover, if God wanted us to be one homogeneous people with a single belief system, God would have done it. Existence of different faith traditions exhibited God’s generosity and bountifulness, they said and added that Pope Benedict, who was a renowned theologian and had served as professor at various German universities, very well knew that religion being a complex component of human life encompasses much more that our own particular tradition or experience.

Jewish and Hindu leaders urged Pope to initiate dialogue among world religions because dialogue would bring us mutual enrichment and help us to overcome prejudices passed on to us from previous generations.

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