BANGKOK: Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand’s famed gilded temples Thursday to fulfill the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the primary full day of his Asian tour aimed toward selling non secular concord.
The 82-year-previous pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, the place he’ll spend 4 days earlier than setting off to Japan.
His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok features a assembly with the king and the prime minister earlier than main a night mass anticipated to attract tens of hundreds of individuals from throughout Thailand, the place simply over 0.5 % of the inhabitants is Catholic.
He additionally has an appointment with the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch on the glittering gold Ratchabophit temple in Thailand’s historic previous quarter, constructed 150 years in the past by Thailand’s former king mixing conventional and gothic types.
It’s a extremely symbolic visit for the top of the world’s 1.three billion Catholics, who carries a message of peace, non secular tolerance and nuclear disarmament on his sweep by way of Asia.
“Pope Francis always respects other religions, always treats his counterparts with respect… that’s why he would like to pay respect to the leader” of the Buddhist religion in Thailand, mentioned Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, who helped with some of the visit planning.
Earlier than arriving, Francis praised the Southeast Asian nation as a “multi-ethnic nation”, and hoped his journey would strengthen the Catholic group’s bonds of friendship with “many Buddhist brothers and sisters”.
Earlier Thursday the Pope was met by Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Cha-O-Cha at authorities home for a purple carpet welcome with dozens of prime officers.
He was accompanied by his cousin Sister Ana Rosa, who has lived in Thailand for many years and will probably be accompanying the pontiff as a translator.
In a speech to civil society, officers and diplomats, he mentioned the visit with the patriarch was “a sign of the importance and urgency of promoting friendship and interreligious dialogue”.
The Pope’s journey to Thailand is the primary papal journey to the nation since pope John Paul II visited in 1984.
It coincides with the 350th anniversary of the primary Catholic missionaries who established the “Mission de Siam” within the late 17th century.
Pope Francis arrived Wednesday within the Thai capital the place he was greeted by cheering worshippers who lined the streets hoping for a glimpse of the Catholic chief in his motorcade.
He heads to Japan on Saturday, the place he’ll visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities devastated when the US dropped atomic bombs on the finish of World Battle II in 1945.
The pope, who years in the past had hoped to be a missionary in Japan, has made robust requires the ban of the “immoral” use of nuclear weapons.
Since Francis’ election six years in the past, he has made two journeys to Asia, visiting the Philippines and Sri Lanka in 2014, adopted by Myanmar and Bangladesh in 2017.


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