Vatican delegation leads Cambodian bishops on interreligious mission to spread world harmony
Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwaku, secretary of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, led a high-level Catholic delegation to pay a courtesy call on Samdech Preah Agga Maha Sangharajadhipati Tep Vong, the great supreme patriarch, in Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh.
The meeting was held on May 24, 2023, accompanied by the bishops of Cambodia and the inter-religious committee.
The meeting aims to build relationships between Catholic and Buddhist religions toward solidarity among religions to face the challenges of healing the wounds of humanity and the biodiversity of nature.
Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, the apostolic vicar of Phnom Penh, referred to the occasion as an occasion to give thanks to God for the longstanding interreligious dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics.
Catholic Cambodia has had diplomatic relations with the government of Cambodia since 1994.
"The Catholic Church is here today to bridge the gap between the Catholic community and Buddhism," he said.
The bishop recalled that the interfaith dialogue meeting began in 2008 and that Samdach Tep Vong participated in interfaith relationships in Europe on numerous occasions and met Pope John Paul II.
On this occasion, Msgr. Indunil Kodithuwaku told the highest monk that "interfaith has helped a lot of humanitarians bring peace to the world."
Kodithuwaku recalled the historical diplomatic relationship between Catholicism and Buddhism at the first meeting of Pope John Paul II and Maha Khosananda in 1988.
He continued, "The pope is concerned that nowadays society needs interfaith while the challenges of mankind and the environment have wounds."
Samdach Tep Vong said that this is an honored time when the two religions together, like brotherhood, help the people in society.
"The word of brotherhood is a major solidarity that cannot be broken because no solidarity is living. He added, "I want to unite the two religions as brothers."
The Catholic Church of Cambodia presented a letter from Pope Francis and gave a souvenir from the Holy See to Samdach Tep Vong, the great supreme patriarch of Cambodia.
The Catholic Church in Cambodia has made significant efforts to focus on interfaith dialogue by joining the Interfaith Commission in Cambodia and the Royal Government to ensure religious harmony and conduct various compassionate activities in the country, supporting those suffering from COVID-19.- Kagnha Keo
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