What is the stance of Catholic Church on Hinduism?

Any comments… Question is in the title.

Some popes have clearly condemned it, but what is the stance after Vatican II

Hinduism is polytheistic (belief in many gods) in contrast to Christianity.

From the Catechism:

842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

I don’t know anything about it being condemned but the Church clearly regards it as a false religion or philosophy. It advises Catholics not to get involved in any of its practices.
However, it is not clear just what " Hinduism " is. Even its adherents seem seriously conflicted about just what it is or what it means. We get them here from time to time and confusion seems to be their real issue.

Is that what you had in mind?

Linus2nd

The Catholic position on all non-Catholic religions is pretty much the same, only varying in degree of how much the non-Catholic religion strays from the truth. Hinduism is pretty far from the truth, being polytheistic and condoning the worship of idols (thus breaking the first commandment). On those issues where Hinduism and Catholicism agree, we’d salute them on the many more issues where we disagree, we’d condemn those beliefs (but not the people holding them). The only difference Post-Vatican 2 would be the near exclusive focus on the areas we agree with one another and on the (albeit small) chance that individual Hindus could be saved (with little or no mention that such salvation would be achieve despite their Hinduism not because of it). In the last 50 yrs, we’ve preferred accentuating the positive and ignoring the negative, but the Church’s teaching hasn’t changed one iota. Ultimately, the Catholic Church teaches that all Hindus (and all non-Catholics) should be converted, all men should be Catholic. We don’t hear that very much, but we still believe it. Vatican 2 itself says,

“But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. **Wherefore **to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.” (Lumen Gentium, 16.)

If you are interested in the possibility of salvation of non-Catholics, I recommend reading THIS. God bless.

I don’t think you will find that terminology used in any official Church documents.

It advises Catholics not to get involved in any of its practices.

Are you talking about “Jesus Christ, Bearer of the Water of Life”? That document does express concerns about the use of Eastern practices such as yoga and Buddhist meditation. But I think you’re putting the case too strongly. Certainly there is no outright condemnation of such practices.

Edwin

Depends on what you mean by that. Hinduism certainly does not hold that there are multiple Ultimate Realities. The cultural phenomenon called Hinduism certainly includes the worship/veneration of beings who are not themselves directly identified with Ultimate Reality (the so-called “impure gods” and to a lesser extent the ancient Vedic gods). The most religiously and philosophically serious Hindus tend to look down on this kind of worship, but they do not condemn it the way Christians or Muslims would. (Whether this worship is, in Catholic terms, “dulia” or “latria” is a difficult question, I think.)

The “great gods” of devotional Hinduism, however, are understood for the most part to be manifestations of the one divine Reality. (Indeed, in some sense everything is, making the whole question complicated.) So Hinduism is, in a certain sense, monotheistic.

and condoning the worship of idols (thus breaking the first commandment).

Of course, many Protestants say the same about Catholicism:p. Given how badly you know Protestants misunderstand Catholicism, shouldn’t you be a bit more cautious in your pronouncements lest you be guilty of the same kind of misunderstanding toward Hinduism?

On those issues where Hinduism and Catholicism agree, we’d salute them on the many more issues where we disagree, we’d condemn those beliefs (but not the people holding them).

How do you know that there are “many more issues where we disagree”? It’s not clear to me that you know enough about Hinduism to make such a statement. Nor can one simply quantify “issues.” For instance, the fact that Hinduism teaches that there is one ultimate spiritual Reality from which all things come, and that we align ourselves with that reality by controlling selfish desire, practicing compassion, doing our duty toward our neighbors and our society, and stirring up for ourselves a passionate love for divine beauty–this arguably outweighs all the differences. Or perhaps not–perhaps their denial of the Incarnation, or at least of the exclusivity of the Incarnation (and hence of the Incarnation as we believe in it, since their concept of multiple “avatars” is really something quite different) outweighs all the agreements. Either way, one can’t simply draw up two lists.

The only difference Post-Vatican 2 would be the near exclusive focus on the areas we agree with one another and on the (albeit small) chance that individual Hindus could be saved

Who says it’s a small chance? What Catholic teaching engages in quantifying how big that chance might be?

(with little or no mention that such salvation would be achieve despite their Hinduism not because of it).

Perhaps there’s “little or no mention” of this dubious idea for good reason.

A person who reads the Bhagavad-Gita and finds there that he/she should live with mind fixed on the one supreme God, abandoning selfish desire and serving others out of compassion, is saved in spite of Hinduism? That doesn’t make sense.

Edwin

“Hinduism” isn’t one thing.

Some Hindus are polytheistic, others are monotheistic. Some Hindus consider Jesus as a perfect incarnation of the One God and others do not.

Edwin,

That was a wonderful response. I am humbled. I see now I’ve met another Catholic I need to watch and learn from!

A lot of times I hear people say that Hindu and other polytheistic religions need to worship the “one true” God. I thought there was only one.

I have a work email. I have several titles/duties. If someone is asking the Outreach Specialist to answer the email, it’s for me. If someone sends it to the housing case manager, or the EAP rep, or the support coordinator, still me. If it’s my son addressing it to “mom” --still me. Call me what you like (hopefully nice things) and it’s coming to me and I know, even if you’re confused about who you’re talking to, that you mean ME. I am confused.

Isn’t God, in his all-loving nature understand that someone praying to the “One who makes the crops grow” and then the “one who starts cars” would be the same person even if they don’t? I understand they may assert they are different but in reality it’s all the same God. A lot of people say we actually have three gods. The very nature of the trinity makes the one God confusing. I just wonder about the comment, “one true God”. I would think He’s the One and Only so the worst is people are praying to the air and the best, which is what I’m saying, the only one there is hears and understands.

I understand people feel compelled to share their faith with others but I just think God is big and smart enough to know that it’s all about Him and answer out of that love. So…I have no problem with the Hindu --in fact I’d like to read some of their literature. I know one person who is Hindu and I’d like to read more after I finish my Tao books. :wink:

I am, as a matter of fact, not yet in full communion with the Church. But I am headed there (after twenty years of waffling).

Edwin

The Tao Te Ching seems more philosophical than religious to me … I can’t think of any point in the book that conflicts with the New Testament.

I have learned to have a lot of admiration with Hindus because of one their ancient existence and second they don’t tell go around telling me who Jesus really was :rolleyes: They do seem overall to have a belief of “God” as a one.

That said several of the practices seem unnecessarily risky, one healthwise (dipping in a certain river) and another physical lets say “mind over matter” self immolation.

Personally I can tell you 530 years ago my ancestors were Hindus.

MJ

This sounds awfully familiar, and our condemnation of Hinduism is reminiscent of Islam condemning us as being polytheistic for believing in a triune God.

Is the Caste system part of Hinduism?

I believe there is a caste system…

But doesn’t a lot of hinduism have astrology and palmistry and that is related to the occult.

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