Christianity in India: Open Letter to Pope

An open letter to the Pope from a Catholic priest in India; excerpts below:

We in India (as also in other parts of Asia), born and brought up in a religious pluralistic environment and who were beginning to rejoice with the Second Vatican Council’s views in the document Nostra Aetate about non-Christian religions, are confused about certain contents of Dominus Jesus, published from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 2000 when you were its prefect.

Dominus Jesus states: “If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.” (no. 22) Such a position can surely be detrimental for dialogue with other religions to reach a common meeting ground, and gives Christians a superior place vis-à-vis their counterparts in society.

It is true that we should avoid any suggestion of syncretism or relativism that some Asian theologians seem to have strayed into, but the problem of living alongside people of other religions and sharing humanity is constantly problematic. It should be recognized that there are very many enlightened, God-fearing and morally upright individuals among people of other religions as well as Christianity.

The most difficult part comes when, unlike Christians who refuse to have anything to do with others’ religious beliefs, Hindus and Sikhs are ready to accept Christ as one of the incarnations of God, and willing to worship him and abide by his teaching without giving up faith in their traditional beliefs.

How can we continue to build bridges with them and share a common humanity so as to build a peaceful and harmonious society without compromising our own identity?

[quote=Ahimsa]…How can we continue to build bridges with them and share a common humanity so as to build a peaceful and harmonious society without compromising our own identity?

not to be a pessimist but…you can’t. Jesus said he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. i know that may sound harsh and i believed He clarified this statement in many other places but we have to realize that the Truth (not other’s “truths”) will polarize people. some will never be able to hear it and others thirst for it like nothing else. if you truly love some one, you will always share the truth with them but with gentleness and respect. “gentleness and respect” do not mean compromising the Truth of the gospel though, it means that you love people regardless of whether they love you or not. i think the reason people want to be able to tell others that they don’t need Christ and Christ alone to achieve eternal life is so that they themselves aren’t persecuted, not to “be kind” to others. that’s just my opinion though.

We are not kind to others when we pretend that their religion is as good as ours. One we affirm that ours is the true religion, all we do is to challenge them to test their faith against ours. Those who test their faith honestly, will see that we have the fullness of God … and why should they settle for anything less?

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