Pope Francis' eight messages in Thailand
Pope Francis left an unforgettable memory in Thailand during his nearly three-day visit. He also left important messages for the whole world.
During his first meeting with authorities and prime minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha, he expressed gratitude for the country's efforts to eliminate sexual tourism and child prostitution.
“I think of all those women and children of our time, especially those who are wounded, violated and exposed to every form of exploitation, enslavement, violence and abuse. I express my appreciation for the Thai government’s efforts to extirpate this scourge.”
Pope Francis also gave a special message, in the form of a gift, to the Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhists. This was the document on human fraternity that he signed in Abu Dhabi with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. In this way, he includes Buddhists in this project for interreligious dialogue.
In the country's most important Catholic hospital, the pope asked doctors and nurses not to be satisfied with merely doing their job.
“You must be ready to embrace whatever each new day sets before us. It is about welcoming and embracing human life as it arrives at the hospital’s emergency room, needing to be treated with the merciful care born of love and respect for the dignity of each human person.”
During the most well-attended Mass of his visit, the pope reminded Catholics of their obligation to treat the marginalized as if they were members of their own family.
“Here I think of children and women who are victims of prostitution and human trafficking, humiliated in their essential human dignity. I think of young people enslaved by drug addiction and a lack of meaning that makes them depressed and destroys their dreams. I think of migrants, deprived of their homes and families, and so many others, who like them can feel forgotten, orphaned or abandoned.”
The pope also offered words of encouragement to religious men and women working in Thailand, a country where Catholics make up almost 0.6 percent of the population.
“I ask you, please, not to give in to the temptation of thinking that you are few in number. Instead, think of yourselves as little tools in the Lord’s creative hands. He will be writing with your lives the finest pages of the history of salvation in these lands.”
He asked bishops to stay close to the people and to care for their priests, religious and laity.
“I like to observe that the mission, even prior to things to be done or projects to be implemented, demands the cultivation of a gaze and a sense of smell. The mission calls for a paternal and maternal concern, because the sheep is only lost once the shepherd gives it up for lost, and never before.”
Since interreligious dialogue was one of the main objectives of the trip, Pope Francis visited a university to greet leaders from other religions. He reminded them there is a lot they can do to help people overcome their differences.
“Now is the time to be bold and envision the logic of encounter and mutual dialogue as the path, common cooperation as the code of conduct, and reciprocal knowledge as a method and standard. In this way, we can provide a new paradigm for resolving conflicts and help foster greater understanding and the protection of creation.”
The final ceremony with the pope in Thailand was the Mass for the youth. Pope Francis told them the Church is counting on them.
“The Lord knows that through you, young people, the future is coming into this land and the world, and He is counting on you to carry out your mission today. Just as God had a plan for the Chosen People, so He has a plan for each of you.”
The people of Thailand were the other protagonists of the trip. The pope brought out their constant smiles, shown in the most elegant and delicate manner.