02/01/2011, 00.00
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Bangkok, a Code for all Christians: "We affirm our faith"

by Weena Kowitwanij
Great success for the 3rd Meeting of Christians on the theme, "Christian witness in a multi-religious world, Recommendation for a Code of Conduct” which took place in Thailand. Archbishop Celata "All denominations together, for interfaith peace-building and unity among Christians."

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Religious freedom "is the origin of moral freedom and in this sense, also an achievement of a sound political and just culture. Religious freedom is achieved in relationship with others as freedom without relationships is not full freedom. Relationships form a decisive component in religious freedom, which impels the community of believers to practice solidarity for the common good", said Archbishop Pierluigi Celata, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious dialogue, during his speech at the 3rd Meeting of the Christian on the theme of "Christian witness in a multi-religious world, Recommendation for a Code of Conduct”.

The meeting was organized by the Pontifical Council, the World Council of Christian Churches, an organization that unites Protestant denominations with headquarters in Geneva, and World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting was held January 25 to 28 at the Aroma hotel in Bangkok. The two previous meetings were held in Lario, Italy, and Toulouse in France. Present at the opening of its deliberations the Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who expressed his approval for the event.

The importance of the meeting, said Msgr. Celata, "is that such moments make an important contribution to the promotion of mutual respect and understanding between members of different religions, as well as among those who have particular beliefs. We must strive, all of us, to ensure that we can live together peacefully and in freedom. "

For his part, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva opened the proceedings by saying: "I am pleased to be here to witness a direct collaboration between the Holy See, the Alliance and the Council of Christians. The Code of Conduct is an important step for the promotion of interfaith harmony, a source of ethical and moral guidance for the followers of religion".

The theme of this meeting was chosen in light of the Pope's Message for the 41st Day of Peace, which tackled the thorny issue of religious freedom. According to the prime minister, "Thai people have become familiar with and appreciated Christianity for many years, in particular through Christian missionaries. Though the majority of Thais are Buddhists, the Constitution provides for religious freedom the same point which it is very interesting to note that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has placed much importance of it as the path to peace - - the belief that also forms the foundation of our Constitution".

The Archbishop of Bangkok, Mgr. Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, welcomed with joy the participants from different parts of the world: "“I congratulate all of you for the outcome of the consultation. In the meantime it also witnesses our efforts to build true relationship among Christian denominations that all may one".

Msgr. Andrew V. Thanya-anan, a priest in Bangkok who is now under-secretary of the Pontifical Council, told AsiaNews: "The meeting is a successful one with the effort of all participants.  With the various forms of collaboration from the participants we have concluded with a Code of Conduct which will be released worldwide in the near future and will be a useful tool for all Christians, to witness our faith in this multi-religious world. "

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