myanmar

Pope: Defend the Rohingya, who are ‘images of the living God’

Pope Francis greeted a young Rohingya refugee from Myanmar at a Dec. 1 interreligious and ecumenical meeting for peace in the garden of the archbishop’s residence in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Each human being is created in the image and likeness of God, yet so often people desecrate that image with violence, as seen in the treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya, Pope Francis said.

"Today, the presence of God is also called 'Rohingya,'" the pope said Dec. 1 after meeting, clasping hands with and listening intently to 16 Rohingya who have found shelter in Bangladesh.

"They, too, are images of the living God," Pope Francis told a gathering of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu leaders gathered in Dhaka for an interreligious meeting for peace.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Bangladesh, Myanmar youths are a sign of hope for Asia

Pope Francis waved during his Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 3. Advent is a time to be watchful and alert to the ways one strays from God’s path, but also to signs of His presence in other people and in the beauty of the world, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY — Young people in Myanmar and Bangladesh are a source of hope for a peaceful future in their countries after years of war and suffering, Pope Francis said.

As is customary, at his general audience Dec. 6, the first after his Nov. 27-Dec. 2 trip to Asia, Pope Francis reviewed his visit.

"In the faces of those young people, full of joy, I saw the future of Asia: A future that doesn't belong to those who build weapons, but to those who sow brotherhood," the pope said.

Pope expresses satisfaction with meetings on Rohingya crisis

Pope Francis answered questions from journalists aboard his flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Rome Dec. 2

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BANGLADESH -- Well aware he was disappointing some people by not using the word "Rohingya" publicly in Myanmar, Pope Francis said his chief concern had been to get a point across, and he did."If I would have used the word, the door would have closed," he told reporters Dec. 2 on his flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Rome.

He spent almost an hour answering reporters' questions after his six-day trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, but insisted that most of the questions be about the trip.

Rohingya crisis shows danger of identity politics

A Rohingya family sat outside their tent Nov. 20 at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighboring Bangladesh from Myanmar. Myanmar considers the group undocumented Muslims from Rakhine state and has not granted them standing as a recognized ethnic group in the country.

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- The themes chosen by the local bishops for Pope Francis' visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh -- "Love and peace" and "Harmony and peace" -- sounded naive or just too "nicey-nice" to some people.

But when love, peace and harmony are missing, the situation is pretty much hell on earth. The Rohingya refugees from Myanmar now living in teeming camps in Bangladesh could testify to that.

Pope Francis, on the other hand, wanted to testify to the Gospel. And that meant emphasizing love, peace and harmony.

Defend God's image by defending the Rohingya, pope urges

Pope Francis touched the head of a young woman as he met Rohingya refugees from Myanmar during an interreligious and ecumenical meeting for peace in the garden of the archbishop's residence in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dec. 1.

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Each human being is created in the image and likeness of God, yet so often people desecrate that image with violence, as seen in the treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya minority, Pope Francis said.

"Today, the presence of God is also called 'Rohingya,'" the pope said Dec. 1 after meeting, clasping hands with and listening intently to 16 Rohingya who have found shelter in Bangladesh.

"They, too, are images of the living God," Pope Francis told a gathering of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu leaders gathered in Dhaka for an interreligious meeting for peace.

Pope, Myanmar's leaders discuss rights of ethnic minorities

Pope Francis met Aung San Suu Kyi, state counselor and foreign minister of Myanmar, at the presidential palace in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 28. At the meeting, the two talked about the rights of minorities, although neither mentioned the ethnic Muslim Rohingya group by name.

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — The plight of the ethnic Muslim minority in Myanmar's Rakhine state was front and center in speeches by Pope Francis and Aung San Suu Kyi, but neither publicly used the word Rohingya.

The next day, at a meeting with Buddhist leaders, the pope did use the word "Rohingya," whom the Myanmar government doesn't recognize as a separate ethnic group, but he insisted the meeting was an occasion "to affirm a commitment to peace, respect for human dignity and justice for every man and woman."

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