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Thailand: where the Church is mostly run by lay people

After working with the World Health Organization and the United Nation office of drugs and crime his whole life, Dr. Sandro Calvani came to the Vatican to speak on the situation in Thailand. He touched on issues such as refugee affairs, human trafficking, counter fitting, drugs, and corruption affect.

DR. SANDRO CALVANI
International Relations, Webster University (Thailand)

“The Golden Triangle, in the past has been a sort of capital of wrongdoing, in particular human trafficking. In particular, every family was able to sell at least one girl due to poverty. And they preferred to sell one girl to have the rest of the family to survive. The same with elicit drugs caused a lot of harmed militia and dealing with drugs, not only national drugs like opium and heroin, but also amphetamine, chemically produced drugs and gangs, any kind of wrongdoing.”

According to the professor, the intense atmosphere is slowly changing, due also to different missionary groups present, such as Mae Fah Luang Foundation. Despite this help, the number of Catholics has not seen growth in the country. Dr. Calvani says the Church is mostly run by lay people, who make up only 0.2 percent of the total population. 

He says that while non-Christian Thai people might not understand the title of being called “Catholic,” they can point out who the Catholics are in their country. 

DR. SANDRO CALVANI
International Relations, Webster University (Thailand)

“What does it mean, this guy is looking for the Catholics? Then, when they translate they understand, 'Oh you're looking for the mercy people.' So the Catholics are called the mercy people, the people who put mercy at the center of their life. That's how they live and that's how they are recognized.”

As such, non-Christians throughout Thailand have come to believe that the God of Catholics is the God of mercy. Dr. Calvani says that while the population is small, it is not the quantity that matters, but the quality of the people, and the Thai Catholic community is especially on fire.