BANGKOK (AP) — Pope Francis arrives in Thailand on Wednesday for the primary go to right here by the top of the Roman Catholic Church since St. John Paul II in 1984. Some issues to know concerning the go to and the historical past of the church in Thailand:
IT’S A MORALE BOOSTER
Francis is for certain to deal with among the main social considerations he usually highlights, however his go to is essentially a morale-boosting train for the Catholic neighborhood. His video message forward of his journey says he’ll meet Thai Catholics “to encourage them of their religion and within the contribution they make to the entire of society. They’re Thais and should work for his or her homeland.” He additionally stated he needs to spotlight the significance of interreligious dialogue and cooperation, particularly within the service of the poor and peace.
CATHOLICISM HAS HISTORY IN THAILAND
Portuguese-sponsored Dominican missionaries got here to Thailand — then known as Siam — in 1567, and the church established a proper evangelizing mission in 1669 underneath the French-led Missions Étrangères de Paris, which might be the primary Catholic presence in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years. Catholicism was affected by Thailand’s inside energy struggles and colonialism within the area, notably in World Warfare II, when a nationalistic authorities sought to transform all Thais to Buddhists. Harmonious relations have been the rule since late King Bhumibol Adulyadej took the throne in 1946.
The predominantly Buddhist nation has about 388,000 Catholics, zero.58% of its 69 million folks. Primarily there are two Catholic communities in Thailand: urbanized residents of the capital whose kids attend prestigious non-public colleges and schools run by the church, and fewer prosperous members of ethnic minorities within the northeast and north. Lots of the rural Catholic communities embody descendants of refugees who fled persecution in Vietnam.
THE POPE’S FOCUS
Francis usually tailors his messages to the venues the place he speaks. He’ll communicate publicly at two Lots, certainly one of them at a stadium earlier than a projected crowd of 50,000 the place he’ll discuss human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of ladies and kids, each of that are longstanding points within the area. Refugees are one other related concern he might sort out.
The Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor-in-chief of the evangelical information service Asia Information, stated the pope might also categorical considerations about materialism, certainly one of his frequent subjects, and focus on along with his Buddhist counterparts the associated difficulty of secularization.
Francis will meet King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who was crown prince when he greeted St. John Paul II on the one earlier papal go to to Thailand in 1984. He may also meet Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and the top of Thailand’s Buddhist neighborhood, Supreme Patriarch Somdet Phra Maha Muneewong Ariyavongsagatayana.
His non-public conferences embody an viewers with 40 sick and disabled folks at Bangkok’s St. Louis Hospital, in addition to a gathering with Jesuits working in Thailand. Pope Francis is the primary pope from the Jesuit order and makes a degree of such conferences throughout his travels.
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