- Dec 14, 2019
Speaking to some 60,000 members of Thailand’s tiny Catholic community, Pope Francis on Thursday called them to be missionary disciples, explaining that being a “mercenary of the faith” does not compel others to convert.
Pope Francis opened his Nov. 20-23 trip to Thailand by denouncing the exploitation of women and children, urging a welcoming stance to migrants, and promising that the Catholic Church is ready to help build a just and inclusive society.
Francis’s visit to Thailand, a nation that has a Catholic population of less than 400,000, has been described as a “morale booster” for this small community that represents 0.58 of the total population of 69 million.
On Aug. 12 2016, Pope Francis visited a house run by the John XXIII Community in northeast Rome that helps young women rebuild their lives after being rescued from prostitution. A priest who was present during the pope’s visit has written a book as part of an effort to help free women forced into sex work.
Prostitution is a horrendous crime that reduces vulnerable women to tortured slaves who are at the mercy of their clients, Pope Francis said.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said the news conference was meant to inform the public about human trafficking during the Kentucky Derby — a time when he said there is an increase in the buying and selling of individuals for sex and forced labor.