Canadian Catholic – Hindu dialogue discusses atheism

Wednesday, September 02 2015

Hindu Dialogue-2015-webThe national Catholic – Hindu dialogue met on Saturday, August 29, 2015 at the Scarboro Mission, in Toronto. The topic for discussion was “The new atheism and the spiritual but not religious phenomena — responses from the Hindu and Catholic communities”. The Hindu Co-Chair of the dialogue, Dr. Tinu Ruparell from the Department of Classics and Religion of the University of Calgary, and Keshava Sharma, Communications Director for ISKON Toronto, presented reflections from the Hindu perspective. Father Mark Gatto, a Roman Catholic priest and Pastor of St. Matthew’s Parish in Oakville, Ontario, along with Ms. Nisheeta Menon, an educator with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, presented reflections from the Catholic perspective. After each presentation, the entire dialogue group was invited to provide a response.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in partnership with the Hindu Federation of Canada, the International Society of Krishna Consciousness and other members of the Hindu community in Canada, established this formal dialogue in June 2012. The aims of the dialogue include: to engage in dialogue, seeking mutual understanding, respect and enrichment; to identify issues of common concern, including but not limited to questions of multiculturalism, accommodation, and the transmission of our traditions to younger generations, and to witness to our convictions and to learn from one another about the unity and diversity within and between our respective traditions.

The CCCB has eight appointees on this national dialogue, with The Most Reverend Daniel Miehm, Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton, serving as the Catholic Co-Chair. The Conference, through its Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue, sponsors 10 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. The Catholic – Hindu dialogue meets twice a year, and is scheduled to meet again in February, 2016.