14 and 15 of March 2017 the board of directors of the Hindu Forum of Europe made an official visit to the Vatican in Rome, Italy. The delegation was composed by Srimati Lakshmi Vyas as the HFE president (coming from the United Kingdom), Krishna Kripa Dasa as vice-president (coming from Spain), Mahaprabhu Dasa as general secretary (coming from Belgium), Mandakini Dasi as treasurer (coming from Sweden) and Gianluca Troiano as board member (coming from Italy).
The meetings of the Catholic church and Hindu Forum of Europe are part of good will desire from both sides to a better understanding of their traditions, challenges, points in common and ways to cooperate beyond the interfaith dialogue.
The first meeting took place at the headquarters of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. HFE members met with His Eminence Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran. Also present was father Santiago Michael (from India) who is an expert in South Asian religions.
The meetings were very cordial and both parties share their opinions and concerns about different topics like conversion, abortion, same sex marriage etc.
The meeting ended with plans for future meetings and activities that will be coordinated by HFE and Catholic Church. Gifts were exchanged.
Then father Santiago guided the board of directors in a Vip tour to San Peter’s Cathedral.
Next day HFE board of directors attended the general audience of His Holiness Pope Francis I.
It is a first step in improving the dialogue between the European Hindu communities and the Catholic Church and we hope that it will be in the mutual benefit of both traditions and their followers.
The board also met Ugo Papi an Italian politician advisor to the Italian Parliament of Asian Affairs.