Vatican City- While exhorting a sound catechesis that leads to a rich and personal encounter with Christ, Pope Benedict XVI on Monday (16 May 2011) also encouraged India’s bishops in inter-religious dialogue that will help safeguard their right to of freedom of religion and worship.
Pope Benedict’s exhortation came in an address to some 44 Indian bishops from the regions of north-east, Bengal and Bijhan that comprises Bihar, Jharkhand and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
While bishops from the north-east and Bengal regions have concluded their 5-yearly ‘ad limina’ visit to Rome, those of Bijhan have just begun theirs.
After underscoring the primacy of Christ’s missionary mandate of preaching the Gospel, Pope Benedict urged priests, religious and lay catechists to learn how to communicate with clarity and loving devotion the life-transforming beauty of Christian living and teaching, which, he said, will enable and enrich the encounter with Christ himself.
“This,” he added, “is especially true of the preparation of the faithful to meet our Lord in the sacraments.
In the delicate process of inculturation in India’s multicultural setting, the Pope said, priests, religious and lay catechists need sensitivity and creativity to present the Good News in a convincing manner in fidelity to the Church’s deposit of faith.
The Holy Father also encouraged the Indian prelates on the path of inter-religious dialogue, saying it “should be characterized by a constant regard for that which is true, in order to foster mutual respect while avoiding semblances of syncretism.”
“Moreover, as Indian Christians strive to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours of other beliefs,” the Pontiff said, “your prudent leadership will be crucial in the civil and moral task of working to safeguard the fundamental human rights of freedom of religion and freedom of worship.”
“I encourage you, therefore, to work patiently to establish the common ground necessary for the harmonious enjoyment of these basic rights in your communities,” the Pope added.