Thai Catholics against “national threat” of corruption

» 09/29/2011 14:20

by Weena Kowitwanij
Youth and Laity launch a campaign against brothels that “undermines the ethical values of society.” According to research, for 62% of young people there “minimum” of corruption is acceptable. Archbishop of Bangkok: moral conscience and responsibility in the economy and finance.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Corruption is a threat to national security. It affects society, economy, politics and – simultaneously – undermines the ethical values that underpin the whole of humanity. For this reason several groups of the Thai Catholic Church – the youth movement, businessmen, managers, professors and educators, together with the Commission for Justice and Peace – on September 27 last organized a conference, attended by 200 people, including religious leaders and citizens. The meeting focused on the theme “If a ‘negligible’ corruption becomes acceptable … how can the Thai nation survive?”, born from a recent survey conducted by the Catholic University of the Assumption.

According to data released by researchers, for 62% of young Thai a “minimum” of corruption is acceptable, while only 38% of all respondents deem it “unacceptable”. The Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Transparency International, indicates that Thailand is at 78th place in the world, with an index of 3.5 points out of a possible 10. The nation with the lowest rate of perceived corruption is Singapore, with a score of 9.3. In addition, 75% of respondents – in survey by the University of Thailand Chamber of Commerce – say they do not want to “interfere” in case they become involved in a case of corruption, preferring to “do nothing”. About 56% consider corruption a “serious problem”, 32% think that “everyone” should do something to combat it and 20% point the finger at the government, which “has no serious intentions” to fight it.

Presiding over the inaugural ceremony of the conference, attended by over 200 delegates, Mgr. Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, recalled the attention Benedict XVI gave to the global economic crisis in his papal encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, “The marketplace – said the archbishop – should not be a place where the strongest crushes the weakest. Economics and finance, as tools, can be badly used. ” For this, says the archbishop of Bangkok, “we should not focus are attention to these tools,” but rather the “individuals” who use them and their “moral conscience” and the absolute need for greater social responsibility in terms of market ” .

Banjon Sowmanee, president of the Islamic Mission Foundation, adds that “the teachings of faith and morals alone should be the basis” on which we try to solve this social scourge. “People in a social setting – added the Muslim leader – should not forget the importance of the teachings, on the contrary, they must be put into practice.” Kobkan Wattanawarakul, a collaborator of the former president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (tcc) Dusit Nontanakorn, who died Sept. 6 due to illness last year, agreed. She recalls the task of the Chamber of Commerce in promoting a “sustainable economy” and calls on all citizens to “battle with determination in the fight against corruption”.

A member of the National Anti-corruption Commission underlines the importance of “preventive” investigation, alongside the work of institutions. Finally, Professor Virachai Techavijit – a Catholic who teaches at the Regent School – calls for an “educational reform” that is centered on the values of integrity, honesty, morality He also calls for a full “press freedom” and a media that is capable ho can be stronger than a widespread corruption.