Cardinal Tauran\'s Visit to Bangladesh

Date Published: 1 May, 2011

His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue arrived in Bangladesh on Easter Monday April 25, 2011 for a five day (April 25 - 29) visit. His gracious presence was an occasion to bring greater unity and harmony between the Muslims and Christian Communities in Bangladesh. During his visit he had a hectice schedule with lot of activities. Herewith please find his five day schedule:



April 25, Monday, 2011



08:30 A.M.    Arrival at the Airport, VIP lounge and then to the Nunciature


03:30 P.M.     Visit to the Holy Spirit Major Seminary and address to the students and professors

05:00 P.M.     Consecration of the Chapel of the Nunciature, Mass with the Archbishops and Bishops followed by dinner



April 26, Tuesday, 2011


9:00 A.M.     Visit to Baitul Mukkaram Mosque


12:30 P.M.     Meeting with the selected number of Editors and lunch at the Nunciature


04:30 P.M.     International Dialogue Seminar at Dhaka University, Senate Bhavan attended by the Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University, Professors and Students.


07:30 P.M.     Dinner with the Ambassadors of Muslim Countries at the Nunciature

April 27, Wednesday, 2011



09:00 A.M.    Main Event: Conference on Inter-religious dialogue at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, Agargaon, Dhaka.



(A Conference was held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, Dhaka with the theme Inter-religious Dialogue and Harmony. Honorable State Minister for Religious Affairs, State Minister for Cultural Affairs, Chief Information Commissioner, Diplomats, Archbishops, Bishops, Religious Leaders from different Religions gave their presentations on this timely topic. A large cross-section of people also attended the conference. The Conference began with recitation from the Holy Quran, the Holy Gita, the Holy Tripitok, the Holy Bible. A short film on the activities of inter-religious ministry in Bangladesh was shown on the big screen. Speakers from different Religions were: Swami Niranjjan Moharaj of Ramkrishna Mission, His Holiness Suddhananda Mahathero, Shamim Mohammed Afzal of Islamic Foundation, Most Rev. Theotonius Gomes CSC, Auxiliary Bishop of Dhaka. Guests of Honor were: Ambassador (Rtd) Muhammad Zamir, Chief Information Commissioner of the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Advocate Promode Mankhin MP, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Advocate Md. Shahjahan Mian MP, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Archbishop Joseph Marino, Apostolic Nuncio to Bangladesh, Archbishop Paulinus Costa of Dhaka Archdiocese, Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze OMI of Khulna Diocese and Chairman of Episcopal Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue and Vote of thanks by Bishop Moses Costa CSC of Dijnapur Diocese. Words of welcome were given by Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario CSC, Coadjutor Archbishop of Dhaka and keynote address by His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.



Cardinal Tauran shared his reflections about inter-religious dialogue, the source of harmony, unity and the good of society. Cardinal began his speech saying that “Bangladesh must be considered as an example of how it is possible for people of different religions to live together, cooperate together and simply be together.” Moreover religion is not used as an excuse for hatred, discrimination, violence or conflict. The founding fathers of this nation envisioned a pluralistic society, with a spirit of openness, based on the fundamental right of religious freedom. Therefore inter-religious dialogue should be understood as an essential ingredient in preserving a pluralistic society by allowing religion, or other religions, to be present and active in the very soul of the nation. Inter-religious dialogue appears to be an element of harmonious relationship of different religions and spiritualities, because inter-religious dialogue takes as its starting point not a relationship between institutions of religions, but people who believe differently. The starting point is not necessarily theological, doctrinal or institutional, and its goal is certainly not the conversion of the other to my religion. Cardinal Tauran said that inter-religious dialogue in Asia, and in particular Bangladesh, should have a special place, not necessarily due to problems or terrible conflicts, although in some places that may be the case, but because there exists a true “primacy of God” in the very heart of the society.  


05:00 P.M.     Meeting with the Honorable Former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia

06:30 P.M.     Pope’s Day celebration at the Nunciature 


April 28, Thursday, 2011

08:30 A.M.    Meeting with the Bishops, Major Superiors, Executive Secretary of Episcopal Commissions, Members of Dialogue Commission at CBCB Centre

10:30 A.M.    Meeting with the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

(“People of all religions enjoying equal rights in Bangladesh” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue during the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said communal harmony is prevailing in the country as people of all religions living here are enjoying equal rights.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the special envoy of the Pope Benedict XVI that apart from ensuring religious fraternity among the people, the government is working relentlessly also to ensure people’s access to quality education and health services. Hasina recalled her meeting with Pope Benedict XVI last year in the Vatican City. The special envoy lauded the prime minister for her visionary leadership in upholding religious harmony and in other socio-economic sectors. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran termed Bangladesh an ideal country of religious harmony and peace. Ambassador at Large M. Ziauddin, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Abul Kalam Azad, Most. Rev. Joseph Marino, Most Rev. Paulinus Costa, Most Rev. Patrick D’Rozario, Most Rev. Bejoy D’Cruze OMI, Major General (Retd) John Gomes were present among others in the meeting.

12:30 P.M.     Meeting with the Honorable President Zillur Rahman

04:00 P.M.     Holy Eucharistic Celebration at Tejgaon followed by a reception

07:30 P.M.     Dinner at the Archbishop’s House, Ramna  


April 29, Friday, 2011

07:30 A.M.    Departure from the Nunciature for Rome.