CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 September 2017

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The mercy people of Thailand

VATICAN (SE): “Oh you’re looking for the mercy people,” was the response an Italian doctor, Sandro Calvani, got when he asked his associates in Thailand where he could meet Catholic people. 
 
Calvani, a lifetime worker with the World Health Organisation, told a gathering at the Vatican that Catholics in Thailand are often known as the mercy people, as local people see them as putting mercy at the centre of their lives. “That’s how they have come to be recognised,” he explained.
 
He added that although the Church is a tiny entity in Thailand, he said that it is not quantity that matters, but quality. He described the Church in the nation as being on fire.
 
But addressing the issue he had been asked to speak about, refugees, human trafficking, drugs and corruption, he said that Thailand sits right in the middle of the golden Triangle, which he described as a sort of capital of wrongdoing, particularly in the human trafficking racket.
 
“In particular, every family is able to sell at least one girl due to poverty and they prefer to do this as it enables the rest of the family to survive,” he explained.
 
Calvani went on to say that the same applies to drugs, as it is a way to make ends meet and the local militia, which is heavily into the racket, is happy to use ordinary, poor people as couriers.
 
He added that today, it is not just the local variety for which Thailand is famous—heroin and opium—but also amphetamines and all sorts of manufactured drugs as well.
 
But Calvani explained that within this destitute reality, the Church shines like a star as it is mostly run by lay people and is viewed as being right at the grassroots of society.
 
“While non-Christian Thai people may not understand the title of being called a Catholic, they can point out who the Catholics are in their country,” he concluded.

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