THAILAND Thai prime minister to implement new rules on recognising parishes

Thailand’s government issued a decree on 2 June giving Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha the power to set up a commission with the authority to officially recognise Catholic parishes. The decree was made public recently.  At present, Thailand is home to less than 400,000 Catholics out of a population of 70 million. Very few Catholic parishes have been recognised by the authorities. Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, head of the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Thailand, spoke to AsiaNews about the issue. “For 112 years the Church in Thailand has grown and developed under an old law that recognised the Catholic Mission in Bangkok as a legal entity, granting it the use of land and schools. Since then, however, the Church has evolved without changes to its legal status, which is now necessary.” The words betray a certain pragmatism but also a certain optimism about the possibility that a new law might lead to greater certainty about the establishment of new parishes and the construction of new churches in the country. Thailand is currently undergoing a troubled social, political and economic transition, aggravated by the pandemic, which is making it harder to find solutions to issues that have been left unresolved for some time. The decree sets out a set of criteria for establishing new parishes. The latter must have a resident priest can to carry out his religious functions. He must live at this place, which must be at least 20 kilometres from other Catholic parishes. At least 200 Christians must live in the area and they must be able to support the parish.

THAILAND Thai prime minister to implement new rules on recognising parishes

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