- Inés San Martín
- Dec 17, 2017
In three out of four of his overseas trips in 2017, Francis had to measure his words and deeds very carefully, knowing that saying too much — or too little — could have been dangerous.
Pope Francis told journalists on the papal plane he was following the advice of his people on the ground when he didn’t use the word Rohingya during his visit to Myanmar. He said they told him it would make the situation worse.
Father Wilbert Mireh is the first Jesuit priest from Myanmar. Mireh entered the Society of Jesus in 2000, and was ordained a priest in May 2013.
Because Pope Francis didn’t use the word “Rohingya” in Myanmar, some observers say he “blinked.” In fact, it’s too early to say, because history suggests sometimes public discretion from a pope can buy behind-the-scenes leverage.
On his last stop in Myanmar, Pope Francis urged local youth to be missionaries. The majority Buddhist nation discourages proselytism, and doesn’t allow foreign missionaries to present themselves as such.
The Vatican spokesman, veteran American journalist Greg Burke, told reporters in Myanmar the fact that Francis hasn’t used the word “Rohingya” on this trip doesn’t “take anything away” from the previous times he’s used it.