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Focus on academics and amity Cardinal stresses on inter-faith dialogue

Roman Catholic Church in India will continue to reach out to all religions to foster peace and amity, Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo said in Ranchi on Wednesday.

The four-day plenary — Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue — that ended in the Vatican on November 28 unanimously decided that dialogue with other faiths would continue unhindered.

Toppo was one of the three cardinals among the 44 delegates from around the world at the Vatican plenary that started on November 25.

“Roman Catholic Church in India will be at the forefront to initiate friendship and respect between people of different religions,” Toppo, who came back to the capital on November 30, said.

Toppo, who spoke to The Telegraph at Archbishop House in Ranchi, said the Vatican fixed no formula for peace.

“No fixed formula exists anywhere in the world. In this age of globalisation and greater mobility of people across countries, the world is becoming smaller. The Roman Catholic Church will continue to strive for full religious freedom and oppose use of religious and cultural differences for petty ends,” he said.

He added that India had many things to teach the world. “From Mughal emperor Akbar to Swami Vivekananda, India has a cherished history of promoting peace and amity among religions through dialogue,” the Cardinal stressed.

He added that everyone must “read the signs of the times”.

“Newer approaches will be needed to cope up with changing times,” he said, citing the successful experiment of the inter-faith Sadbhavna Manch, functional in Ranchi.

On the row regarding the statue of a dusky Mother Mary, clad in a red-bordered white sari and holding baby Jesus in a sling at a Roman Catholic Church in Dhurwa, the Cardinal said a “non-issue” was raked for petty political gains.

Non-Christian tribal outfits had branded the statue as a conspiracy to convert innocent tribals into Christianity and demanded its removal.