Bangkok, Nov 22 (IANS) The pope on Friday urged religious leaders to cooperate and foster mutual respect to face the complex challenges of today in a speech in a Thailand university.
On the second day of his visit to the Asian country, the pontiff visited the prestigious Bangkok university to meet Christian leaders and leaders of other religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism, reported Efe news.
Some 1,500 people attended the talk.
In a country where more than 90 per cent of the population is Buddhist, Catholics make up just 0.58 per cent and the Muslims are 4 per cent of the population.
Pope made a call for collaboration “to pursue the path of dialogue and mutual understanding.”
He said that cooperation was needed to combat the evils society faces: “In a spirit of fraternal solidarity that can help end the many present-day forms of slavery, especially the scourge of human trafficking.”
These circumstances, the pope continued, “remind us that no region or sector of the human family can look to itself or its future in isolation from or immune to others.”
“Now is the time to be bold and envision the logic of encounter and mutual dialogue as the path, common cooperation as the code of conduct, and reciprocal knowledge as a method and standard,” he added.
“Knowledge can help to open new paths for reducing human inequality, strengthening social justice, upholding human dignity, seeking means for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and preserving the life-giving resources of our earth,” the pontiff continued.
Francis also reserved some time to address the poorest in society.
“All of us are called not only to heed the voice of the poor in our midst: the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the indigenous peoples and religious minorities, but also to be unafraid to create opportunities,” he told the audience.
During the event, a youth choir performed and the pope urged the young people present to resist homogenising and to nurture and preserve the quirks that made each and every one of them different.
To conclude he said everyone was part of the human family and that as such he invited people to promote “unity, mutual respect and a harmonious coexistence.”