The Catholic Church of Thailand has offered to cooperate with Buddhists and believers of other religions to "build peace and stability in the nation" through "dialogue, as brothers and sisters”.
In a message to
the new Supreme Patriarch of Theravada Buddhism on the occasion of his
investiture on 12 Feb., Card Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovidhavanij,
Archbishop of Bangkok and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of Thailand (CBCT) noted that the ultimate goal is "peaceful
coexistence" so that Thailand can be "a model for other nations."
God grant” Taan Chao Khun Somdej "abundant wisdom and good health,” so
as to "lead Buddhism to continued growth in Thailand," Card Kovidhavanij
Leading a group of bishops representing the CBCT, the cardinal
paid a visit on Tuesday to Supreme Patriarch Umporn Umparow at the
Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram royal temple, felicitating him and
handing him the message.
It was the same site where St. John Paul II
met the then Buddhist patriarch on 10 May 1984 during his apostolic trip
On 7 February, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha made official
the appointment of the new Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhism by King
Led by King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangku, the
investiture ceremony was held on Sundayat the Phra Sri Rattana
Sas-sadaram temple, the country’s “sacred place", home to the Emerald
Card Kovidhavanij conveyed "the joy of all Catholics" for the choice
of the new patriarch, who is "admired" for his "irreproachable"
behaviour, and for his "humble" and "respectful" attitude, which is
appreciated "even by the believers of other religions".
Thanks to the
wise and loving leadership of various Thai Kings, "Christians have
enjoyed for five centuries a happy life with their Buddhist brothers and
sisters," the prelate noted.
Buddhism is Thailand’s main religion, about 93.6 per cent of the
population, primarily centred on the Theravada school.
About 4.6 per
cent is Muslim, mostly in the country’s southern provinces on the border
Christians are just over 1 per cent.