“Chrétiens et jaïnistes ensemble” au service des personnes âgées

Le cardinal Tauran appelle à la gratitude, l’affection et la responsabilité envers parents, grands-parents et les autres personnes âgées, dans un message adressé à la communauté jaïniste à l’occasion de la fête de ‘Mahavir Jayanti’ célébrée le 2 avril. Le cardinal français a souligné que le Jaïnisme met l’accent sur le respect de la vie et le respect de la dignité de chaque personne humaine. Il a appelé les chrétiens et les jaïnistes à promouvoir une culture où les personnes âgées sont aimées, respectées et soignées.

Message du cardinal Tauran à la communauté jaïniste



Le cardinal Tauran appelle à la gratitude, l’affection et la responsabilité envers parents, grands-parents et les autres personnes âgées, dans un message adressé à la communauté jaïniste à l’occasion de la fête de “Mahavir Jayanti” célébrée le 2 avril.


Le jaïnisme est une religion qui prône la non-violence, la chasteté et l’honnêteté et qui compte près de cinq millions d’adeptes dans le monde, majoritairement en Inde. La fête Mahavir Jayanti marque la naissance de Vardhaman Mahavir, vénéré comme le dernier réformateur du Jaïnisme.


Dans son message, intitulé « Chrétiens et jaïnistes ensemble pour promouvoir les soins pour les personnes âgées », et publié en anglais par Radio Vatican, le cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, président du Conseil pontifical pour le dialogue interreligieux, dénonce la situation de « nombreuses sociétés à travers le monde » où « les gens ont tendance à rejeter les personnes âgées ». Il s’agit surtout de personnes «malades » et  « seules », qui « sont abandonnées par leurs familles et leurs proches parce qu’ils sentent qu’ils sont une gêne, un fardeau. »


Le cardinal a rappelé que « toutes les religions imposent les obligations morales sur les enfants envers leurs parents et les aînés ». Il a noté avec joie qu’il y a « un grand nombre de familles à travers le monde qui, fidèles à leurs traditions, valeurs et convictions, donnent des soins exemplaires à leurs aînés… Les enfants de ces familles et même des parents et des amis font souvent de grands sacrifices … pour servir les personnes âgées. »


Le cardinal français a souligné que « le Jaïnisme met l’accent sur le respect de la vie » et le respect de « la dignité de chaque personne humaine. » Il a appelé les chrétiens et les jaïnistes à « promouvoir une culture où les personnes âgées sont aimées, respectées et soignées. »



* * *

Mahavir Jayanti 2015 Message


Christians and Jains :

Together to promote care for the elderly



Dear Jain Friends,


The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue most happily extends its greetings to you on the Birth Anniversary of Tirthankar (Path-Finder) Vardhaman Mahavir celebrated worldwide on 2 April this year. May the celebrations marking the feast reinforce and rejuvenate friendship and fellowship among individuals and families, as well as, strengthen your commitment to promote the care of all beings, especially the elderly in the families and communities, for enhanced peace, harmony and happiness in the world.


Carrying forward our cherished tradition, this year we reflect on how we, both Christians and Jains, can together promote the care of the elderly. In many societies across the world people tend to reject the elderly. Also worrisome and deplorable is the fact that many elderly people, especially the sick and lonely, are abandoned by their families and relatives because they feel they are a bother, burden and waste, or these are treated as the neo-outcaste of the contemporary world served with a modicum of contact and care. This trend is growing and causing concern for our society. Pope Francis rightly points out that every society “where the elderly are discarded carries within it the virus of death”(To Participants in the Plenary of the Pontifical Academy for Life, 5 March 2015) and a people “who don’t protect their elderly…is a people without a future, a people without hope”(Address to the Sant’Egidio Community, 15 June 2014). The task of guaranteeing the care due to the elderly, therefore, becomes a noble priority for all, as well as, an ethical imperative binding on all governments and political communities.


The elderly are the primary pillars of our multi-generational families. They live with us as our treasure and blessing because they transmit to us not only their rich life and faith experiences but also the history of our families and communities. These ‘treasures’ are to be fondly protected and gratefully cared for so that they continue to inspire and guide people with their wisdom of a lifetime. There is no denying the fact that there are still a large number of families around the world that, true to their traditions, values and convictions, give exemplary care to their aged;  Children in these families and even relatives and friends often make great sacrifices and go an extra mile to serve the elderly. This is praiseworthy because they are doing what is right and just in respect of their parents, grandparents and relatives who are old and in need of care, attention and assistance. While looking after the elderly is a sacred and moral duty binding on individuals and society, the professional and medical assistances offered by competent and charitable healthcare workers are best seen as steps the society takes towards ensuring care for the elderly.


All religions expound the moral obligations the children have towards their parents and elders, especially caring for them, with respect and love, till the end of their earthly life. The Holy Bible says, “Honour your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). But it also says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Jainism lays so much emphasis on respect for life; in regard to humans this respect means upholding the dignity of every human person and all that it entails.


The growing neglect of the elderly by the young and tendency to abdicate filial responsibility towards the parents and grandparents, therefore invites us all, believers and others, to re-awaken in us, both at a personal and collective level, a sense of gratitude, affection and responsibility towards our parents, grandparents and other elderly people. Making them feel that they are a living part of our families, communities and society and that we are ever indebted to them is a sure way of challenging the ‘throw away’ culture. This is possible only “with the superabundant joy of a new embrace between the young and the elderly” (Pope Francis, General Audience, 11 March 2015). May we Christians and Jains, as persons grounded in our own respective religious traditions and conscious of our shared responsibility towards the society, joining hands with others, promote a culture where the elderly are loved, respected and cared for.


Wish you all A Happy Mahavir Jayanti!



Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran



Father Miguel Ángel  Ayuso  Guixot, MCCJ





© Source : Zenit. 31 mars 2015 – Message en anglais sur Radio Vatican. 31 mars 2015

Crédit photo : Women from the Jain community, attend a prayer meeting for world peace in 2014. – REUTERS