Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - "It is important to continue the dialogue of life between Catholics and Buddhists in Thailand", says Mgr. Anthony Weradet Chaiseri, Archbishop of Thare and Nonseng, in the north-eastern region of Thailand, to Fides. The interreligious dialogue between Catholics and Buddhists is an integral part of the pastoral plan of the Catholic Church in Thailand, immersed in a nation and in a cultural and religious environment marked by Buddhism: starting from this observation in recent days, Archbishop Chaiseri met Sutham Suthammo, Buddhist abbot of the Forest Monastery in Kesetsrikhun in Nong Phai.
"The Church wants to promote and strengthen relations with the representatives of the local Buddhist community", said Mgr. Chaiseri to Fides. "A stronger collaboration with the Buddhist community can help us work together for the common good, peace, harmony and development", he added. "There is no friction or tension between the Catholic and Buddhist communities in the country because Thai society is open and tolerant, but we need to deepen the collaboration between the two communities of faith", underlined Mgr. Chairri. Suthammo, a Buddhist monk, said that "the Buddhist community wants to undertake some common development projects to help those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic", in collaboration with other faith communities. "We look forward to making further joint efforts for mutual understanding and carrying out joint projects that can help people in these difficult times", he added. Thailand is the second largest Buddhist country in the world after China.
The Catholic mission in Thailand began 350 years ago, in a country with a large Buddhist majority. Of the 69.5 million citizens, almost 95% are Buddhists. Catholics represent less than 1% of the population. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 22/6/2021)