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Old 08-16-2011, 12:46 PM   #1
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Getting to Know People of Other Faiths No. 8 - "The Baha'i Faith" (Catholic Church)

I have here, for your own pleasure, an official publication by the Roman Catholic Church on the Baha'i Faith. The Committee for Relations with Other Religions was set up in response to the promulgation of the Holy See's Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Nostra Aetate proclaimed by Pope Paul VI on 28th October 1965. The Department of Dialogue and Unity is the main conduit for inter-religious dialogue within the Catholic Bishops' Conference. There are four committees within the Department that deal with different aspects of inter-religious dialogue, the authors of this publication being one of them. I will be posting the Catholic Church's publications on Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions as well. The Baha'i Faith has so many nice things to say about other faiths and Baha'is are so welcoming to other religions, that I thought I would return the favour. You are now going to get a chance to see how another religion views YOU! I know that some Bahais on here are already aware of this publication but for those who are not, I now offer it to you for reading - ENJOY! At the end the Committee provides a helpful reading list of books which it suggests Catholics should read to learn more about the Baha'i Faith. The leaflet was produced by the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and has since been distributed throughout the world.

[An official publication of the Roman Catholic Church:]

Getting to Know People of Other Faiths No. 8

WHAT IS THE BAHA'I FAITH?

Introduction

In the Vatican II 'Declaration on the relationship of the Church
with Non-Christians
' we find that the Church speaks with warmth
and openness and greets People of Faith as partners in a single
great enterprise. These religions contain much that is good and
holy and provide ways of salvation for millions of people all
over the world. Throughout the documents of Vatican II we find
encouragement to respect, accept and meet as friends, those who
profess faiths different from our own. The Baha'i Faith will be
introduced here in this spirit.

Who are the Baha'is?

The Baha'i founders sprang from Islamic roots, but are seen by
the Baha'is as founding a religion that fulfills all previous
religions. Today Baha'is are people who formerly had different
religious backgrounds. They have been Christians, Jews, Muslims,
Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians or else they had no
religion at all. They give equal homage to all the past
prophets, but believe that religion progressively evolves, and
the Baha'u'llah is God's spokesman for this age. Although
Baha'is are from different religious, racial, national, economic
and social classes, the Baha'i teachings have given them a higher
loyalty--the loyalty to humanity.

To a Baha'i there is no demarcation between religion and everyday
life. The most important prayer, Baha'is say, is a person's
daily life. Religion, in other words, is an attitude towards God
reflected in life.

Today there are between 5 and 6 million Baha'is in the world,
extending over more than three hundred and forty countries,
territories and island groups. In England there are 6,000
registered Baha'is (1989) with 180 local Assemblies, resident in
over 400 localities. At least 9 people are needed to form a
local assembly. The Scriptures of the Baha'i Faith consist of
the writings of the founders and are translated into over six
hundred languages. The rapid growth they have experienced puts
them in the category of a world religion, the youngest in the
line of the prophetic tradition.


Origins of the Baha'i Faith

The Forerunner of the Baha'i Faith was a young Persian merchant
known as the Bab (the Gate), who in 1844 proclaimed Himself to be
a Messenger of God and a herald of One greater than Himself--One
who would inaugurate a new era in religion and civilization.
Like earlier Messengers of God, the Bab was opposed and
denounced. After six years of persecution He was publicly
martyred at the age of 30 in Tabriz.

Its founder was Baha'u'llah (the Glory of God), a Persian
nobleman who in 1863 declared Himself to be the One whose coming
the Bab and all the previous Prophets had foretold. Like His
predecessor, He was bitterly opposed and persecuted. During
nearly forty years of exile and imprisonment He committed to
writing the teachings of His revelation, some of them in letters
to the most important kings and leaders of religion, as well and
teaching and training His followers. His fourth and last place
of banishment, reached in 1865, was the prison city of 'Akka
(Acre), Palestine, where He passed away in 1892 at the age of
seventy-four.

Its authorised interpreter and exemplar was 'Abdu'l-Baha (the
servant of the Glory), eldest son of Baha'u'llah, who was
appointed by his father as the Centre of His Covenant and the one
to whom all must turn for instruction and guidance. 'Abdu'l-Baha
was the close companion and constant helper of his father, whose
sufferings he shared. He remained a prisoner until 1908, when
the old regime in Turkey was overthrown and all religious and
political prisoners were liberated. Afterwards he travelled
widely in Egypt, Europe and America, explaining the principles of
the Faith and inspiring and directing the activities of its
followers throughout the world. He passed away in Haifa in 1921,
mourned by people of all faiths. His life was and continues to
be a shining example to all. In his will and testament,
'Abdu'l-Baha appointed his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, to be the
Guardian of the Faith, and the interpreter of its scripture.
Under his guiding hand, the faith spread rapidly. He passed away
in London in 1957. Since 1963, the Faith has been under the
guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

The Baha'i Faith

Proclaims: The Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religion and of
Mankind, and the equality of men and women. It encourages the
elimination of prejudice of all kinds, universal education,
elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty, the protection of
cultural diversity. It also advocates individual search after
truth, the harmony of science and religion, use of an auxiliary
universal language and world government.

The Baha'i House of Worship

A Baha'i house of worship is open to people of all nations,
races, classes and creeds. It is a place of prayer and
meditation for all, a gift from the Baha'is and a demonstration
of their faith in the oneness of God, the oneness of His Prophets
and the oneness of mankind.

There is one major Baha'i House of Worship in each continent.
For local regular gatherings the Baha'is hold meetings in their
homes or in hired halls. The community has neither a priesthood
nor rituals. The Baha'is see their teachings as a ringing call
to action. They see them as offering hope, courage and vision,
in a world beset with universal problems.

Baha'i Administration

Consultation is the keynote of all Baha'i administration.

There is no clergy and no ritual.

The Scripture is in written form, preserved and authentic.
Administrative bodies are called Spiritual Assemblies; they are
local, national, and international. All Assemblies meet in a
spirit of prayer.

These spiritual Assemblies are elected by the people, but their
responsibility is trust from God to whom alone they are
answerable.

There is no seeking for votes, no candidates, no platform
promises, no parties.

The Nineteen Day Feast is a community occasion, for the reading
of prayers, discussions of affairs with the Local Spiritual
Assembly, and material refreshment together.

The Universal House of Justice--an elected International body
constituted by Baha'u'llah as the supreme legislative and
governing body of the Faith--carries out its duties at the Baha'i
World Centre in Haifa Israel.

Only members of the Baha'i Faith may contribute to the Baha'i
Fund.

Questions for discussion

1. Baha'is clearly place great emphasis on social teaching and
the community of humankind. How do we as Christians respond
to the social teaching of the Church?

2. In what areas would cooperation with people of [the] Baha'i
Faith be most fruitful and possible?

Suggested further reading

'The Baha'i Faith' Leaflet published by the Baha'i publishing
Trust, 2 South Street, Oakham, Leicestershire.
'The Baha'i Faith' Booklet Ibid.
'Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah" by Baha'u'llah.
'Paris Talks' by 'Abdu'l-Baha.
'Guidelines for Today and Tomorrow' by Shoghi Effendi.
'Baha'u'llah and the New Era' by Dr. J. E. Esslemont. A complete
catalogue of Baha'i literature can be obtained by writing to :
The Baha'i Publishing Trust, 2 South Street, Oakham,
Leicerstershire LE15 6HY. [In the US, call the Baha'i
Distribution Service toll-free at 1-800-22-UNITE for free information.

This is part of the series of leaflets prepared for the Catholic
community by the Committee for Other Faiths. Understanding and
friendly relations with those who believe in God and live their
lives with religious principles and purpose contribute to the
harmony of society and the happiness of all. The series offers
useful information to those who want to overcome the obstacles of
ignorance and promote through dialogue, prayer and action the
Catholic Church's teaching of respect and love for all peoples.

The Committee is grateful to its member Sr. Elizabeth West rscj
for this contribution.

+Charles Henderson
Chairman

_Also available_:

"Neighbours and Neighbourhood--a Catholic introduction to living
with neighbours of other Faiths" "What is Islam?" "What is
Buddhism?" "Who was the Buddha?" "What is Hinduism?" "The
Mosque--the Muslim House of Prayer" "Our Sikh Neighbours."

Orders for this leaflet may be obtained from: C.F.O.F., 6a
Cresswell Park, London SE3 9RD. We regret because of inflation
and increased postage that for orders up to 25 leaflets charges
must be 10p per leaflet plus 50p post and packing. Orders in
bundles of 50 of the same leaflet 3.00 [pounds] post free. Please
make cheques payable to: N.C.F. (Other Faiths).

Further information and copies of these leaflets can be obtained
from: The Multi-Faith Centre, Harborne Hall, Old Church road,
Harborne, Birmingham B170BE and The Westminster Interfaith
Programme, 2 Church Avenue, Southall, Middlesex UB24DH.

-- Committee for Other Faiths --
Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Last edited by Yeshua; 08-16-2011 at 01:03 PM.
 
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:55 PM   #2
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Simply superb, Yeshua! I may print it off and use it teaching, do you think the Pope would mind? Also, I have a declaration card which the Holy Father can sign to declare his belief in Baha...can you bring it to him?

Seriously though, it speaks well not only of our faith, but of yours too. I never miss the opportunity to peruse a Christian bookstore to see what their booklets say about us. Let me just say they have never been as nice, fair, or accurate as this.

Thanks for sharing!
 
Old 08-16-2011, 01:00 PM   #3
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fadl View Post
Simply superb, Yeshua! I may print it off and use it teaching, do you think the Pope would mind? Also, I have a declaration card which the Holy Father can sign to declare his belief in Baha...can you bring it to him?

Seriously though, it speaks well not only of our faith, but of yours too. I never miss the opportunity to peruse a Christian bookstore to see what their booklets say about us. Let me just say they have never been as nice, fair, or accurate as this.

Thanks for sharing!
LOL thank you Brother Fadl!

Your reply is much appreciated! I'm going to pop up the Islam one next in a different thread, and then the rest in other threads! I hope you enjoy them just as much!

And no i'm sure the Pope wouldn't mind if you used it LOL
 
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