11/23/2005, 00.00
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Thai Church: "Forgiveness and reconciliation, a true path to peace"

by Weena Kowitwanij

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Thai Bishops' Conference marked the Day for Peace and Human Rights, underscoring the importance "of reciprocal comprehension and social justice".

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Our society will be "just and peaceful" only when there is "forgiveness an understanding" and a genuine effort by each one to search within himself for "freedom and justice". This was the gist of a debate which unfolded at a meeting entitled "Forgiveness and Reconciliation: A path to authentic peace". The meeting, held in the Centenary Hall of St Gabriel Foundation on 19 November, was organized by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailand to mark the 60th anniversary of the Day of Peace and Human Rights in Thailand.

Organisers said the main aim of the discussion was to "stimulate a path to authentic peace and solidarity among humankind regardless of race, religion, belief or culture" as well as "to make the faithful well aware of the virtue and dignity equally created in all mankind".

Mgr Michael Bunluen Mansap, Prefect of Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, said that "only when people move towards forgiveness and reconciliation, will there be true peace in society."

Prof. Sanay Jamarik, member of the national committee for the defence of human rights, raised the question about how believers of all religions can protect human rights.

He said: "Apart from strictly practicing the teaching of their religion in daily living, we must have a 'culture of re-learning' to open our heart to mutual understanding. Religious teachings, which differ at times, are only another demonstration of the beauty and variety of life… Each and every one of us has inherent rights and freedom. Applied justice automatically makes for a peaceful society."

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