Pope Francis' "Fratelli Tutti": Bellary Religious Leaders Commit to Promote Human Fraternity

BELLARY, DEC 7, 2020: Bellary religious leaders commit themselves to promote universal human fraternity and solidarity with each other at an inter-religious leaders meet held at Bishop’s House, Bellary on Sunday, Dec. 6.

The meet was held in the context of Pope Francis’ recently published encyclical Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers and Sisters) published on Oct. 4. It was organized by Diocesan Inter-Religious Dialogue Commission, Catholic Association and United Christian Forum of Bellary.

In his presidential address, Bishop of Bellary - Henry D’Souza warmly welcomed the encyclical which presents “so powerfully the message of love that is at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” He announced that Pope Francis’ third encyclical is a call to solidarity of the entire humanity to live in fraternity and social amity.

Bishop D’Souza stated that “at their heart all religions proclaim tolerance, not hatred; universal brotherhood, not enmity; peace, and not violence.”

Quoting the Holy Bible Bishop recalled, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1: 27).

Referring to the Gospel of Matthew Bishop D’Souza said, “For one is your Teacher, you are all brothers” (Mt 23: 8). Jesus commanded, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you”, urging all human persons be treated with respect and dignity.

As urged by Fratelli Tutti and commanded by Jesus, all need to “love our enemies, and do good to those do harm to us”, insisted Bishop Henry D’Souza.

“So, we all need to recognize and proclaim universal Fatherhood of God, brotherhood of humanity, service to all, love and forgiveness even to our opponents and enemies”, affirmed Bishop.

Quoting an anonymous wise man, Bishop said, “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother-sister, I found all the three!”

Bishop reminded the religious leaders of their common responsibility to sensitize their congregations to shun mutual mistrust, dislike and violence. “We cannot be oppressors of our brothers and sisters in the name of caste, creed, language and religion”. “We need to cross these barriers and recognize in all human persons, our brothers and sisters, more specially in the poor, sick, physically challenged and the aged”, stated Bishop.

Also “we cannot be silent spectators to the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, especially the orphans, leprosy-AIDs infected, aged and poor. We need to respect the human rights of even our enemies”, Bishop affirmed.

Sri Shivakuamr Devaru of Kalyan Mutt appreciated the well organized inter-religious meet and said, “Hinduism proclaims universal family of humanity “vasudeva kutumbakam”.

“Like all rivers, even though having different names, they all join the ocean, so also all religions are leading people to God. They are equal. Therefore, we need to respect believers of all religions as brothers and sisters”, swami declared.

Speaking on the occasion, top Islamic leader of Bellary, Khazi Mohamit Mehmood Siddiq said, “The entire humanity is born to common parents – Adam and Eve. Hence they should cherish their common humanity and live in mutual respect and harmony”.

Another Muslim leader Mufti Mohammed Rafiq said, “Beyond religions there is common humanity – brotherhood and sisterhood of all people. It needs to be highlighted. All hatred and intolerance should be shed by all sections of people”.

Reputed Lingayat leader and writer Sri Siddhalingappa spoke on how the corona pandemic has broken the barriers of religions and castes. All have become vulnerable to the pandemic, requiring mutual assistance and support. Quoting Lord Basavanna, founder of he quoted, “Ask not who is this, who is this; rather state – he is our, he is ours!”

Pastor Dr. Prabhakar Rao of Good Samaritan Church said, “I was a soldier in the India Army safe guarding the frontiers of the country. Now I strongly feel citizens living within the country should grow in greater mutual respect, tolerance and social amity.”

The meet was attended by vicar general Fr. Anthonyraj, catholic priests, superiors of religious houses, pastors of Christian denomination, educationists and leaders from Hindu, Muslim and Lingayat communities.

Diocesan Pastoral Commissions’ coordinator, Fr Ivan Pinto welcomed and Catholic Association president Raju Balaraju proposed the vote of thanks.

Some leaders appreciated the warm and cordial atmosphere at the meeting. They also stated that such interactive meetings should be held more frequently.

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