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Belgaum, Jan 29: "Humanity is true religion. Hence, every human being should go forward and help the fellow human in trouble, because, God exists in those who need us the most ", Bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai said.

He was addressing an intellectual gathering of mostly Hindus on Jan 22 at the Barrister Nath Pai Vyakhyanmala (public lectures series) organized by the Sarvajanik Vachanalaya (public library) in the city.

Speaking on the theme "Mala Bhavalele Tukaram" (an appreciation of Saint Tukaram), Bishop Dabre, enthralled the intellectuals by his wisdom and mastery on the subject in impeccable Marathi language. The prelate has earned a Ph D on the mystic saint-poet of the 17 th century.

"I am an ardent follower of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church appreciates the noble works of saints of different religions and traditions rendered to humanity", Bishop Dabre, 61, said, stressing a continual inter-faith dialogue to promote mutual understanding and communal harmony.

In his speech Bishop Dabare came down heavily on globalization, communalism and materialism. Expressing his deep concern over the spread of terrorism across the globe, including India, the prelate said that it is the responsibility of the spiritual leaders like him, to convey the true meaning of religion to their followers.

"The spiritual leaders of all the religions are supposed to convey the true meaning of religion to their followers. But unfortunately, we are witnessing increased violence, terrorism in the name of religion", he said.

"Why do we need the police protection around our places of worship," Bishop Dabre asked stating that communal violence and religion are not compatible.

"Bing a Catholic priest, I carry the holy Bible in one hand and the Abhangas (versus) of Saint Tukaram in other hand", he said, adding that the Abhangas of Sant Tukaram can really purify the heart, body and mind and bring about mental and spiritual bliss.

"Let us not get carried away by globalization," Bishop Dabre averred, adding, Indian culture is being battered due to globalization, which was promoting materialism rigorously at the cost of spiritualism.

"Globalization promotes the importance of outward, physical, personal appearance", he pointed out, but remarked that together with the beauty parlors and gyms, parlors to beautify the soul should also exist.

"One cannot deny globalization, but the time has come to strike a balance between materialism and spiritualism, he stressed.

Bishop Dabre also expressed his concern over the sharp rise in AIDS cases in India. "Indian culture teaches us to look upon women as mother, sister, daughter or sister-in-law.   It does not approve extra-marital or pre-marital relationships. But this is not so in the western culture", he pointed out, adding that the attitude towards women too was changing in the country due to globalization.

The prelate also explained to the audience of the Lord's Prayer: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil" which was much appreciated.

Bishop Dabre enthralled the gathering by reciting some popular versus of Sant Tukaram and observed that the leaders today should not only preach but also live accordingly.

Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum was present on the occasion.

  

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