Christians and Jains: Promoting a Culture of Care

Message for the Feast of Mahavir Janma Kalyanak Diwas 2018

Dear Jain Friends,

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue most cordially extends its festal greetings to all of you on the Birth Anniversary of Tirthankar Shri Vardhaman Mahavir which is celebrated this year on 29 March. May this commemorative occasion, besides advancing peace and enhancing happiness among you and around you, bring about a strengthening of caring relationships within your families and communities!
Caring relationships – witnessed and nurtured by humans across the globe – make us happy and hopeful, so also edified and encouraged. But there are also worrisome trends and tendencies people display in many parts of the world today that testify to a growing egocentric and narcissistic culture. This culture of insensitivity, indifference and inurement impels us to share with you, on this occasion, a few reflections on how both Christians and Jains can promote a culture of care.

Caring for fellow beings is one of the noblest things humans can show as acme of creation endowed with heart and mind, feeling and reasoning. Caring for one another strengthens our human interdependence and cosmic connectedness. It fosters a culture of solidarity and counters that of indifference which renders the humans callous towards and unconcerned about the cries of others for help, justice and equality.
Promotion of Culture of Care, therefore, requires urgent attention and consideration to help build genuine relationships and trust among individuals and groups. It is our shared responsibility arising from our being human and being inter-human, knit as we are in a web of relationship along with nature and every other creature.

Our respective religious traditions lay great emphasis on caring for one another and the earth. Tirthankar Mahavira said, “One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated” (Sutrakritanga 1:11:33). Jesus taught, “Do to others as you would have others do unto you” (Mathew 7:12) and his life was an example for it. This example inspires us Christians, as Pope Francis said, “to enter fully into the fabric of society, sharing the lives of all, listening to their concerns, helping them materially and spiritually in their needs, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping
with those who weep; arm in arm with others, we are committed to building a new world (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation, 24 November, 2013, n.269).

As believers rooted in our own religious convictions and as persons with shared values and responsibility towards people and towards the Mother earth, may we, joining hands with other believers and people of good will, promote a culture of care, starting from our own families and making it an essential element of our religious instructions and encouraging educational institutions and social media to do likewise, to make caring for others and the earth, a way of life.

Wish you all a happy feast of Mahavir Janma Kalyanak!

                                                    Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran

                                                                      Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ