2010-07-23 16:40:35

Cardinal Tauran Urges Thai Catholics to be a Minority that Counts

(22 Jul 10 – RV)  Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, Head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious dialogue has recently returned from Thailand, where he took part in a conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue at Baan Phu Waan Pastoral Center in Sampran, near the capital Bangkok. RealAudioMP3

According to the last census (2000) 94.7% of Thais are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at 4.6%

But Christianity also has a long history in Thailand. It was introduced by European missionaries as early as the 1550s. . Historically, it has played a significant role in the modernization of Thailand, notably in the social and educational institutions. To date Christians represent 0.8% of the national

Speaking to the conference participants Cardinal Tauran said that although the Catholic community is a minority, it must be a minority that counts. "Our specificity is this: God has a face. God is close to man”.

He went on to say that “the most visible action of Catholics live in the schools, but also in everyday reality where we see that God is present and is close to us”.

“These treasures should be shared - he added - to improve not only the general religious climate, but also the lives of ordinary men and women to show that we can live together in happiness”.

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Tauran concluded “the time has come to unite the efforts of believers with those of men and women of goodwill to achieve God's plan: create a family living in harmony under the gaze of God”.

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