Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has welcomed 'Time' magazine for declaring His Holiness Pope Francis as Person of the Year, an honor well deserved. Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) noted that the Pope had touched hearts by reaching out to marginal groups; highlighting plight of migrants; pushing for peace; preferring actions to words; stressing on openness, inclusivity, mercifulness and change; efforts at reforms and with gestures of compassion. His references to ''healing wounds'' and ''warming hearts'' was a refreshing approach, Zed added.
Rajan Zed stated that he sided with Pope's view that the Roman Catholic Church should come out of ''small things,'' and added that it being the largest religious organization of the world with 1.2 billion adherents, should dedicate itself to the larger issues facing mankind such as peace, poverty, human improvement and ecological responsibility.
Zed further said that although Pope mentioned that ''feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions,'' but he had not clearly addressed the issue of women clergy. Church should reconsider favourably the ordination of women priests as women could disseminate God’s message as skillfully as men and deserved equal and full participation and access in religion.
Rajan Zed urged Pope to lead efforts at interfaith dialogues and creating harmony amongst world’s diverse religions. He hoped that Pope Francis would reinvent the Church to bring transparency, maturity, accountability and modernization to it; besides being more open to reforms. Zed also asked Pope to come up with a detailed worldwide White Paper on the global child abuse scandal engulfing the Church.
Pope should also seriously take-up the issue of apartheid faced by about 15-million Roma (Gypsies) of Europe, whose traces in Europe went as far back as ninth century CE, Rajan Zed pointed out.