11/18/2008, 00.00
THAILAND
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Thai Catholics, ambassadors of Christ to bring peace and harmony to the country

by Weena Kowitwanij
This is the invitation of the president of the justice and peace commission, on the occasion of the national day for human rights. Bishop Chaiyara urges citizens to respect differences of opinion, and to lower the level of political conflict. Hatred and prejudice lead to social conflict.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Overcoming prejudice and respecting differences, becoming ambassadors of Christ in order to bring peace and harmony to Thai society. This is the invitation addressed by Bishop Philip Banchong Chaiyara, president of the justice and peace commission, to the Catholics of the country on the occasion of the national day for human rights, celebrated Sunday, November 16.

"Practicing human rights by reducing prejudice and respecting differences among us" is the slogan chosen by the Thai bishops in order to commemorate the day; they wanted to center attention on the situation all across the country, the theater of conflict and deep divisions among the various political factions. The escalation of violence culminated in urban warfare last October 7, during which two people died and 443 were injured.

Bishop Chaiyara calls upon the faithful to reflect on the hatred and prejudice caused by the fighting between government and opposition parties, which have a strong impact "on social stability." "We cannot deny that the reason of the conflict is the failure to accept and respect one another's differences," the prelate says. "People concentrate on their own reasoning, emotions and feelings, while rejecting others’ opinions."

The president of the justice and peace commission recalls that "it is the mission of the Catholic Church to help heal society." Inviting the faithful to reflect on the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, he reiterates that "we are all part of the same body, and each one must respect the duties and responsibilities of all."

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