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VATICAN-BUDDHISTS Apr-3-2012 (320 words) With photo. xxxi

Youths' hopes spur dialogue among adults, cardinal tells Buddhists

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If the openness, questioning and hopes of young people are encouraged and guided, they become a stimulus for the adults around them to take seriously the challenges of building a better world marked by dialogue and acceptance, a Vatican official told Buddhists around the world.

"Young people are an asset for all societies," said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, in a message marking the upcoming Buddhist celebration of Vesakh, a feast commemorating the key events in the life of the Buddha.

In the message released April 3, Cardinal Tauran said that as students around the world increasingly have classmates with different beliefs from their own, schools have a responsibility to guide the young in reflecting on their own beliefs, learning about the beliefs and religious practices of others and growing in respect for others.

Education worthy of the name helps young people "advance together as responsible human beings and to be ready to join hands with those of other religions to resolve conflicts and to promote friendship, justice, peace and authentic human development," the cardinal said.

But young people aren't simply a hope for humanity's future, their reflections and their energy help adults grow in virtue as well, he said.

"They encourage us to find an answer to the most fundamental questions about life and death, justice and peace, the meaning of suffering and the reasons for hope," he said.

"By their dynamism, as builders of the future, they put pressure on us to destroy all the walls which, unfortunately, still separate us," the cardinal wrote.

Adults have a responsibility, he said, to "guide young people by our example and teaching to become instruments of justice and peace."

Vesakh is celebrated in different countries on different days in the spring. The celebrations begin April 8 in Japan and go through the June 4 celebration in Thailand.


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