What did the Catholic Church think of Ghandi?

Catholics liked him…a lot. And rightfully so since, even though he was a Hindu and not a Christian, he embodied much about what the Church stands for in her moral teaching. As the Second Vatican Council said in Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions:

“The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.”

Ghandi’s use of non-violent civic disobedience was especially revered. Ghandi himself had a lot of respect for the teachings of Christ, but he had a hard time finding Christians who actually followed those teachings. One of my favorite quotations from Ghandi are his “Seven Deadly Sins,” those traits which he considered to be the most spiritually perilous to humanity. They are:

Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Science without Humanity
Knowledge without Character
Politics without Principle
Commerce without Morality
Worship without Sacrifice

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

The Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D., formerly the Interreligious Affairs specialist at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is now pastor of St. Benedict's Parish in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo Credit: Bob Roller, Catholic News Service (CNS).


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