22 November 2017
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  • » 10/19/2017, 16.42

    MYANMAR

    Yangon, interreligious dialogue is the key to reconciliation



    Fr Mark Tinwin, who teaches at a Yangon seminary, speaks about the matter. For him, when the people of Myanmar will live in peace and harmony, the nation will be able to work on economic development and social progress by focusing on education, health, employment, social security and infrastructure. The Catholic Church is committed to national unity, and the promotion of dialogue in families and villages.

    Yangon (AsiaNews) – For Fr Mark Tinwin, professor of inter-religious dialogue at St Joseph National Seminary, “religions can contribute to peace, harmony, and reconciliation in the country”. In fact, “over the past five years, interreligious dialogue has been in full swing,” he told AsiaNews.

    "For decades, the country has experienced upheavals, tensions, discord and struggles between various religious and ethnic groups,” he said. At present, “Government officials, religious leaders, social workers, universities and ordinary people are increasingly interested in promoting dialogue in society.”

    "People from different religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds must live together and accept each other, showing respect and acknowledging differences in order to find common ground for reconciliation. For the country, the time has come."

    For the clergyman, when the people of Myanmar will live in peace and harmony, the nation will be able to work on economic development and social progress by focusing on education, health, employment, social security and infrastructure.

    From 1958 onwards, a highly militarised system has ruled Myanmar, a largely Buddhist country, oppressing all ethnic groups indiscriminately, be they Burmese, Shan, Mon, Karen, Kachin, Chin, Palaung, Kokang, and Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims.

    Some of the 135 ethnic groups that make up Myanmar have their own army, and armed clashes with government forces are frequent. Since she came to power last year, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been involved in the difficult process of national pacification.

    "The country’s religious and cultural diversity makes it imperative to promote inter-religious dialogue, both in urban and rural areas,” Fr Tinwin explained. “As the Catholic Church, we are trying to reach out to everyone – religious, ethnic and cultural groups – to work together, cooperate and contribute to the common good of society".

    Finally, "We need to train people from different religions and cultures who can lead the movement for interreligious dialogue in families and villages. The Church has an even more important role to play towards them in terms of leadership, resource mobilisation, and staff training. We are coping with this path hopeful that the country will find the much needed and desired love and reconciliation".

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