Myanmar’s Cardinal Bo has said he hopes Pope Francis’ upcoming trip will “help heal the wounds of his country, especially for minorities under attack”.
Pope Francis, due to visit Myanmar from 27-30 November, will meet the country’s leader – in all but title – Aung San Suu Kyi.
Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, who is Myanmar’s first and only cardinal, told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that he hoped Pope Francis would “address the burning questions” of Rohingya persecution with Suu Kyi, and that his visit would also “shed light on other unresolved conflicts and displacements”.
He referred to the situations of the states of Karen, Kachin and Shan, adding that the “Rohingya situation is a great tragedy [but] the country needs healing on various fronts”.
During a visit to the UK parliament in 2016, Cardinal Bo said: “The majority of the Kachin, Chin… and a significant proportion of the Karen, are Christians – and over the decades of armed conflict, the military has turned religion into a tool of oppression.
“In Chin state, for example, crosses have been destroyed and Christians have been forced to construct Buddhist pagodas in their place. Last year, two Kachin Christian school teachers were raped and murdered. At least 66 churches in Kachin state have been destroyed since the conflict reignited in 2011.”