Hindus and Catholics in Canada are reiterating their commitment to receive strangers and welcome refugees. Following its last meeting in Toronto in February, the Hindu-Catholic Dialogue of Canada released a joint statement to reaffirm the importance of hospitality. “Hospitality is among the most sacred values in many religious traditions, including Hinduism and Christianity,” stated the members of the dialogue commission.
The statement concluded with an appeal to all peoples in Canada “to offer our prayers to those reeling in response to war, terror, and hate…” and urging “all Canadians to respond with openness, care and generosity to those refugees who find their ways to our shores, and indeed to all strangers in our midst. Dialogue and encounter are among our most important resources for meeting the demands of the present refugee crisis.”
The theme of the last meeting of the Hindu-Catholic Dialogue was on the Theology of Incarnation in both Catholic and Hindu traditions. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has eight appointees on this national dialogue board, with the Most Reverend Daniel Miehm, Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton, serving as the Catholic Co-Chair. Dr. Tinu Ruparell, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, is the Hindu Co-Chair.
The Catholic-Hindu Dialogue meets twice annually, and is scheduled to meet again in August 2016. The CCCB, through its Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue, sponsors ten national dialogues and co-sponsors one North American dialogue. Eight of these are ecumenical and involve other Christian Churches and ecclesial communities; three are interreligious dialogues.