VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The notion of family is being undermined, and family life is often harmed by conflict and poverty, said the leaders of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

That is why Christians and Hindus must work together to help families be “a workshop of hope,” where children can learn essential values and grow with a sense of hope, they said in a written message.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, respectively the president and secretary of the council, extended their best wishes to the world’s 1.1 billion Hindus for the feast of Diwali, a three-day religious festival, which was to begin Oct. 30 in most parts of the world. The festival focuses on the victory of truth over lies, light over darkness, life over death and good over evil.


The message to Hindus was released Oct. 25 by the Vatican.

“The health of society depends on our familial bonds, and yet we know that today the very notion of family is being undermined by a climate that relativizes its essential significance and value,” it said.

“Family life is often disrupted by harsh realities such as conflicts, poverty and migration, which have become all too commonplace throughout the world,” it said.

However, there are many who persevere with hope and support the importance of marriage and family for the well-being of individuals and all of society, the message said.

“Christians and Hindus together can promote hope in families, thus making our society ever more humane,” it said.

Parents, together with the wider community, need to “instill in their children a sense of hope by guiding them toward a better future and the pursuit of the good, even in the face of adversity,” it said.

Formation and education are key to helping young people feel a sense of purpose, and when taught the value of hope, children are encouraged to “reach out, in charity and service, to others in need, and so become a light for those in darkness.”

“If humanity is to prosper and live in peace, then families must embrace this work of nurturing hope and encouraging their children to be heralds of hope to the world,” it said.