The Apostolic Nuncio in Thailand urged Catholic bishops to actively engage in interfaith dialogue to foster understanding and cooperation among different religions.
In his address to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand’s plenary session on September 12, Archbishop Peter Wells said, “We cannot afford to live in isolation or to see our differences as barriers.”
The prelate said the Catholic Church must “recognize the value of open conversations,” which he said “allow us to learn from one another, appreciate different religious traditions, and seek common ground for collaboration”
The Catholic Church remains a minority in Thailand with 388,468 members – a figure that represents about 0.58 percent of the Thai population of 69 million.
Archbishop Wells said as representatives of the Catholic Church, “ it is crucial” for the bishops “to foster harmonious relationships with followers of other religions in order to build bridges of understanding and create a more peaceful and inclusive society”.
The prelate said Interfaith dialogue should focus on finding shared goals like justice, compassion, and peace, to address social issues collaboratively.
He also encouraged the bishops to advocate for human rights, address social and economic inequalities, and challenge the status quo to effect positive change in Thailand.
“As leaders of the Catholic Church in Thailand, we bear a moral obligation to speak out against these injustices and work tirelessly towards a more just and equitable society,” he said.
The nuncio said followers of Christ must be “willing to take risks” and “boldly stand up for what is right, even when it seems difficult or unpopular”.
He implored the bishops “to use your influential voice and position to effect positive change” in the lives of the Thai people.