- Oct 20, 2020
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said Pope Francis will likely “encourage good steps” during his upcoming visit to Myanmar, and said that “as a Church, we want to affirm the intensity of human suffering” experienced by the Rohingya because “this problem has been there for last 60 years, and most intensely since 1982, when an unjust citizenship law passed.”
Last month, the bishops of Bangladesh organized a meeting of “Well-wishers” to the Christian community as part of the preparation for Pope Francis’s Nov. 30-Dec. 2 visit to the country. The group was made up of around 45 leaders from other faith communities – including Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists – as well as other Christian denominations.
Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has come under attack in many quarters for denying the government of Myanmar authorized the destruction of Rohingya settlements following a series of attacks on police stations. Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, has defended her, saying, “Despite the piercing criticisms of the international community, Myanmar depends on her for many compassionate responses.”
Rohingya Muslims do not have high hopes that the visit by Pope Francis to Myanmar and Bangladesh scheduled for Nov. 27-Dec. 2 will make any difference in Myanmar’s ongoing persecution of the Rohingya. Syed Alam, the imam of a mosque at a refugee camp, said the military and Buddhist nationalists need to “change their mindset” about Muslims before change can happen.
Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, the Archbishop of Dhaka – Bangladesh’s capital – visited several Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on September 24-25. The cardinal said, “I wanted to be with them, to be together with them, to share in my own way, their pain; and importantly, to prepare a way for Caritas to go to serve them.”
Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, has appealed to the Trump administration on behalf of the Rohingya and the countries providing refuge to them.