- Inés San Martín
- Dec 17, 2017
After leaving Myanmar and arriving in Bangladesh, Pope Francis acknowledged the crisis surrounding the Rohingya, but still without using the word. Instead, he referred to “refugees from Rakhine State.”
Father Walter William Rozario has been missing since the evening of Nov. 27. He disappeared while taking care of last minute details for the upcoming visit by Pope Francis.
As Pope Francis began his tour to Myanmar and Bangladesh, Catholics in neighboring India regret missing a chance to meet him in their homeland, nostalgically recalling past papal visits.
Many of the refugees who have been flooding into Bangladesh to escape the Myanmar military say they’re hopeful that a visit to the region by Pope Francis will help bring peace.
Popes generally try to be voice of conscience when they travel, but not in ways that antagonize their hosts. In Myanmar and Bangladesh this week, that may be difficult for Pope Francis to pull off — he’s repeatedly expressed his sympathy for Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, but the government doesn’t even recognize the Rohingya as citizens and may resent any pressure from the pope.
When a Vatican spokesman recently said that Pope Francis’s Nov. 26-Dec. 2 trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh will be “very interesting diplomatically,” he wasn’t kidding. The pope will walk a tightrope in both nations, down to his choice of words — whether or not he actually uses the word “Rohingya” to refer to Myanmar’s oppressed Muslim minority, for instance, could have massive political and diplomatic implications.