Pope Francis merges 4 foundations into new Vatican host – Catholic World Report

Vatican City, Aug. 28, 2017 / 2:00 a.m. (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday, the Vatican confirmed rumors that had been circulating in recent weeks about a papal visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh, announcing that Pope Francis would visit to two Asian countries 27 Nov.-Dec. 2.

“Welcoming the invitation of the respective heads of state and bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an apostolic visit to Myanmar from November 27 to 30, 2017, visiting the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw,” said the Vatican spokesman on August 28. Greg Burke read.

The statement also notes that after Myanmar, the pope will travel to Bangladesh “from November 30 to December 2, 2017, visiting the city of Dhaka.” The trip logo has also been released, but the schedule is expected to be released shortly.

The pope has been talking about a visit to Asia for several months, however, so far nothing has been confirmed. Still, he managed to slip in the visit just before Christmas. He is also two months away from a second tour of South America, which will take him to Peru and Chile in January 2018.

The pope has been talking about a visit to Asia for several months, however, so far nothing has been confirmed. Still, he managed to slip in the visit just before Christmas. It also falls barely TWO MONTHS before a second tour of South America, which will take him to Peru and Chile in January 2018.

Although India was initially part of this year’s Asia trip plan, a visit to the country had to be cut short due to complications with the country’s government.

Despite hopes on all sides, it took longer than expected to work out some details with the government of Prime Minister Narhendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist seen by many as hostile to India’s Christian minority.

Francis’ decision to visit Bangladesh and Myanmar, however, is not only a shining example of his attention to the peripheries, but it is also testament to the great attention he has paid to Asia since his election.

His second trip as pope was a visit to South Korea in August 2014, partly to celebrate Asian Youth Day, and just five months later, in January 2015, he visited Sri Lanka. and in the Philippines.

The upcoming visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh will therefore mark his third tour of Asia so far during his four-year tenure.

According to the 2014 census of the Burmese government, at 88%, Buddhism is the main religion of Myanmar. In a global population of about 5.1 million, Christians make up only 6.2%, including about 700,000 Roman Catholics, while Muslims make up 4.3% and Hindus only 0.5%.

The Holy See and Myanmar officially established diplomatic relations in May, agreeing to send ambassadors to each other’s countries when the country’s de facto civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, visited the Vatican.

The decision to formally establish diplomatic ties comes just two months after Myanmar’s parliament voted in March to make the country the 183rd nation to maintain diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

Also Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi is a Burmese diplomat, politician and author who is currently the country’s State Counselor. Prior to coming to power, she spent much of her career under house arrest due to her advocacy of human rights and democracy, which contradicted the military rule of the time.

As far as the Catholic Church in Myanmar is concerned, the country has 16 Catholic dioceses and a total of 29 living, active and retired bishops. In 2015, Pope Francis appointed Myanmar’s first-ever cardinal, giving a red hat to Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon.

Last year, during the Nov. 19, 2016 consistory, the pope made a similar gesture to Bangladesh, appointing Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka as the Muslim-majority country’s first-ever cardinal.

Ranked among the ten most populous countries in the world, with around 163 million citizens, Bangladesh has a minority Catholic population of around 0.3%, while the majority of the population, around 90%, is Muslim.

In addition to Francis’ affinity for global fringes, another key element of the trip close to his heart is the plight of the persecuted Muslim Rohingya people, which he has often spoken about and which is probably one of the main reasons for his symbolic decision to travel to both Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The Rohingya

The Rohingya are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group largely originating from Burma’s Rakhine State in western Myanmar. Since clashes began in 2012 between the state’s Buddhist community and the long-suppressed Rohingya Muslim minority, some 125,000 Rohingya have been displaced, while more than 100,000 have fled Myanmar by sea.

In order to escape forced segregation from the rest of the population inside rural ghettos, many Rohingya – who are not recognized by the government as a legitimate ethnic group or as citizens of Myanmar – have made perilous journeys at sea in the hope of escaping persecution. .

In 2015, a number of Rohingya – estimated in the thousands – were stranded at sea for several months with dwindling supplies while southeastern countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia refused to release them. to welcome.

However, since last year, around 87,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh amid a military crackdown on insurgents in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, giving way to horrific stories of rape, murders and arson attacks by security forces. Dozens of new deaths have been reported in recent days amid fresh clashes between Rohingya and Myanmar’s military.

In Bangladesh, however, the Rohingya have had little relief, as they are not recognized as refugees in the country. Since last October, many of those who had fled to Bangladesh have been arrested and forced to return to neighboring Rakhine State.

Pope Francis and the Rohingyas

Pope Francis has spoken on behalf of the Rohingya on several occasions, first drawing attention to their plight during a 2015 audience with more than 1,500 members of the International Eucharistic Youth Movement.

“Let’s think of our Rohingya brothers,” he told attendees. “They were chased from one country and another and another. When they arrived at a port or at a beach, they gave them a little water or a little to eat and were chased there towards the sea.

This, he says, “is called killing. It’s true. If I have a conflict with you and kill you, it’s war.

He broached the subject again a month later in an interview with a Portuguese radio station, and he consistently spoke on behalf of the Rohingya in Angelus speeches, daily masses and general audiences.

During his February 8 general audience, Pope Francis asked pilgrims to pray with him “for our Rohingya brother and sister. They were kicked out of Myanmar, they go from place to place and no one wants them.

“They are good people, peaceful people; they are not Christians, but they are good. They are our brothers and sisters. And they suffered for years,” he said, noting that often members of the ethnic minority were “tortured and killed” simply for carrying on their traditions and their Muslim faith.

He then led the pilgrims to pray an “Our Father” for the Rohingyas, then asking Saint Josephine Bakhita, herself a former ointment and patron of the annual international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking, to intercede.

The Pope also used yesterday’s Angelus address to draw attention to a recent upsurge in violence that has caused nearly 100 new Rohingya deaths.

His visit will therefore likely be used as an opportunity to push for a peaceful resolution to the conflict that places respect for human dignity above ethnic disputes.

As for previous popes, St. John Paul II visited Bangladesh in 1986. However, Francis’ visit to Myanmar will mark the first time a pope has made an official visit to the country.

Other confirmed international trips for Pope Francis are his upcoming visit to Colombia from September 9-13, and his visit to Chile and Peru early next year, from January 15-21, 2018.

Hannah Brockhaus contributed to this report.


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