By ZENIT Staff

This morning, before the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father Francis met with a delegation of Buddhists from Thailand in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

Here is a translation of the words of greeting that the Pope addressed to those present at the Audience:

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The Holy Father’s Words

I offer you a warm welcome and I thank you for the precious gift of your Sacred Book translated into today’s language by the monks of Wat Pho Temple. It is a tangible sign of your generosity and of the friendship that we have shared for so many years, a journey made of many small steps. I think in particular of the meeting in the Vatican between Blessed Pope Paul VI and the Venerable Somdej Phra Wanaratana, whose portrait can be seen in the entrance of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, which you have visited in these days.

It is my heartfelt wish that Buddhists and Catholics will grow increasingly closer, advance in knowledge of one another and in esteem for their respective spiritual traditions, and offer the world a witness to the values of justice, peace, and the defense of human dignity.

With renewed gratitude for this meeting, I invoke upon on all of you the divine blessings of joy and peace.

[Original text: Italian] [Vatican-provided translation]

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