- Inés San Martín
- Dec 17, 2017
In an interview with Vatican-owned media, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the pope wants Christians in Myanmar and Bangladesh to be “a presence of peace, reconciliation, and solidarity within their society, and work for the common good, to not be considered foreign to the reality of their countries, and to help achieve the civil and peaceful growth of their countries.”
Bangladesh’s cardinal said Pope Francis will confirm the faith of the country’s small Catholic population. Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, the Archbishop of Dhaka, issued a statement in response to the video-message released on Tuesday by the pope to the people of Bangladesh ahead of his Nov. 30- Dec. 2 visit to the South Asian country.
Pope Francis has added in a private meeting with Myanmar’s military chief during his upcoming trip to the region in an indication that the Vatican views the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims as a military operation distinct from the will of the civilian government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Pope Francis said he would travel to Bangladesh to proclaim the Gospel message of “reconciliation, forgiveness and peace,” and he said he was especially looking forward to a meeting with the nation’s religious leaders.
Myanmar’s first-ever cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, is asking Pope Francis not to call the Rohingya minority by its name during his visit to the country. “If he doesn’t use it, the international community will say something,” he said. “If he does use it, then it could be very bad for the military, the government and the Buddhist community.”
Both Myanmar and Bangladesh have experienced tensions between religious communities and have mourned the loss of lives slaughtered in terrorist attacks. In both countries, the Catholic community has been a force for dialogue. Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Myanmar Nov. 27 and stay until the afternoon of Nov. 30 when he flies to Bangladesh. He returns to Rome late Dec. 2.