Families Are Antidote to Sexual Exploitation, John Paul II Says

Addresses Thai Bishops on “Ad Limina” Visit

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II proposed that the best antidote to sexual exploitation in Thailand is to support families.

The Pontiff articulated his proposal when he met with Thailand´s bishops at the end of their once-every-five-year “ad limina” visit to the Vatican.

Thailand is one of the principal Asian locales of so-called sexual tourism. Along with Burma and Cambodia, it has the largest proportion of AIDS patients in Southeast Asia, according to a recent U.N. report.

“Since the family is the foundation of society and the place where people first learn the values that will guide them through life, it has to have a special place in your pastoral program,” the Pope told the bishops.

The Holy Father proposed that in “every diocese an active family apostolate should aim at ensuring that parents and children are helped to live their vocation according to the mind of Christ, and that couples in interreligious marriages receive the help they need to avoid any weakening of faith.”

Lastly, the Pontiff appealed for commitment on the part of the Thai Catholic laity and the national and local authorities to support the family.

The family, he said, “is under threat from various forms of materialism and from widespread offenses against human dignity, such as the scourge of abortion and the sexual exploitation of women and children.”

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