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Pope Francis meets Thai King during official trip in Asia

Pope Francis met with Thai King Maha Vajiralonkorn and Queen Suthida on Thursday (November 21) during his official visit to Thailand.

The pontiff met the royal couple alongside his translator and cousin, Sister Ana Rosa Sivori, who has worked in schools in Thailand for more than 50 years.

Thailand’s Catholics number around 380,000 in a country of more than 65 million, but the small minority has thrived and relations with Buddhists – the country’s biggest religion – are generally good.

In a gesture of inter-religious dialogue, Francis on Thursday morning visited the gilded Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple to pay his respects to Thailand’s Supreme Buddhist Patriarch, the 91-year-old Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong.

Later, tens of thousands of the faithful packed into Bangkok’s National Stadium to attend mass led by the Pope. 

In his homily he condemned the exploitation of women and children for prostitution in Thailand, which is notorious for its sex tourism.

(Production: Zaw Naing Oo, Juarawee Kittisilpa, Fintan McDonnell)

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