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Tuesday, October 14, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 14, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual message sent by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue to Hindus on the occasion of Diwali, the festival of lights. This movable feast celebrates the renewal of the Hindu belief of the victory of divine power over evil in the world.

The message, entitled "Hindus and Christians: In Promotion of Human Dignity," is signed by Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, president of the dicastery.

"The occasion of the festival of Diwali provides us with ample food for thought when the Hindu tradition informs us of how light overcomes darkness, how the victory of good is achieved over evil and how hatred gives way to love through forgiveness."

"What can we, Christians and Hindus, do together to promote and protect the dignity of every human person? Does not an offense against even one person, when done in the name of religion, mean that an entire religious tradition is abused? Neither the Hindu dharma nor the Christian faith teaches hate, contempt or disrespect for others. Hatred or disrespect on the part of religious believers only brings discredit on religion and its role in society. But the more we commit ourselves to promote the dignity of every human person the more our religious traditions will become credible in the eyes of others."

After encouraging Hindus to make suggestions to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in order to carry out this challenge, promoting human dignity, the president of the dicastery concludes: "Let us come together and share our common concerns, making an effort to listen to one another attentively. Let us speak honestly, aware of our own responsibility with regard to the choices that have to be made to resolve current problems in the world today."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 14, 2003 (VIS) - Encyclical comes from a Greek term used to indicate letters that princes and magistrates sent to the widest possible number of people in order to make known laws, rules, regulations. etc. The corresponding Latin term was "circularis," which referred to a letter or message intended for extensive circulation. Encyclical today has come to be associated solely with the Church.

Encyclical Letters, the most solemn documents of the ordinary and universal pontifical magisterium, are usually addressed to all the bishops and faithful of the Catholic Church, but frequently are also addressed to include "all people of good will." Encyclical Epistles are addressed to a specific group of bishops - for example those of a specific country or region - and touch upon less important matters.

Encyclicals may deal with doctrinal matters, exhort or call the faithful to public prayer for a specific reason, or be commemorative of an important Church anniversary. They are always signed by the pope, usually in Latin, and are published in the "Acta Apostolicae Sedis" and in individual books in diverse languages.

The official Latin text is prepared by the Secretariat of State and normally five copies of the Latin-language document are signed by the Holy Father. The text, in various languages, is sent to episcopal conferences worldwide through the pontifical representatives.

For many centuries, the office which prepared these documents was called the Chancery of Apostolic Letters. Dating back to the 4th century, the chancery was suppressed by Pope Paul VI with the Motu proprio "Quo aptius" of February 27, 1973.

Pope John Paul has written 14 encyclicals, 13 of which are Encyclical Letters and 1 - "Slavorum Apostoli" - is an Encyclical Epistle.

1. "Redemptor Hominis" (Jesus Christ, Redeemer of Man), March 4, 1979.

2 "Dives in Misericordia" (God the Father, Rich in Mercy), November 30, 1980.

3. "Laborem Exercens" (On human work and social problems), September 14, 1981.

4. "Slavorum Apostoli" (Saints Cyril and Methodius, patrons of the Slavs), June 2, 1985.

5. "Dominum et Vivificantem" (Holy Spirit, Lord and Vivifier), May 18, 1986.
6. "Redemptoris Mater" (Mary, Mother of the Redeemer), March 25, 1987.

7. "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis" (True development of man and society), December 30, 1987.

8. "Redemptoris Missio" (The mission), December 7, 1990.

9. "Centesimus Annus" (The social question, one hundred years after "Rerum Novarum"), May 1, 1991.

10. "Veritatis Splendor" (Foundations of Catholic morality), August 6, 1993.

11. "Evangelium Vitae" (The value and inviolability of human life), March 25, 1995.

12. "Ut Unum Sint" (The commitment to ecumenism), May 25, 1995.

13. "Fides et Ratio," (On Reason and Faith), September 14, 1998.

14. "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" (On the Eucharist and Its Relation to the Church), April 17, 2003.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 14, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on their "ad limina" visit:

- Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops James Joseph O'Brien and Bernard Longley.

- Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood.

- Bishop Michael Charles Evans of East Anglia.

- Bishop Kevin John Patrick McDonald of Northhampton.

- Bishop Malcolm Patrick McMahon, O.P., of Nottingham.

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