Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Burma and Bangladesh in November. During his visit to Burman, Pope Francis is expected to press for peace in Burma as ongoing violence continues to push Rohingyas out of Myanmar. The Pontiff will also emphasize on nurturing peaceful coexistence in both countries. Pope Francis will be visiting Bangladesh and Burma from November 27 till December 2.
In this regard, Father Bernardo Cervellera from Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) stated: “The Pope’s visit, in my opinion, will help to emphasize that coexistence helps the future of the country, not conflict.” It is expected that the Pontiff will also talk about issue of the sufferings of the Rohingyas.
The Rohingya Muslims have been rejected by Myanmar as well as by Bangladesh where they have sought refuge. “So these people don’t have a country, they are migrants in the full sense of the term, they have nowhere to lie their head,” Father Cervellera said.
“And so the Pope defends them, to let Christians and Muslims know that we need to help people not on the basis of their creed, or on the basis of their wealth, or their abilities, but simply because they are human beings.”
Adding that since both countries are developing countries where Catholics are nothing but a minority, Bangladesh and Burma are peripheries of the world. “The Pope continues to say: I should go to the peripheries, go out to the peripheries. I find that the Pope really goes to the peripheries to meet with these Catholics and to sustain their mission,” he continued.
In addition to violence against Rohingyas, the Pontiff will also discuss persecution of other religious minorities including Christians in both Bangladesh and Burma. “That is, the Catholic minority is formed from many ethnic minorities. So the Pope speaks of defending minorities because in this way he also defends Catholics,” he explained.
“But in the defense of Catholics, the defense of minorities, he wants to speak to the whole society because the way of peace is the most fruitful for everyone,” Father Cervellera emphasized.
Father Cervellera also explained that despite being a minority, Church in both countries are playing an effective role in the development of the societies. Because of the Church “there are hospitals, shelters, clinics for the poor, schools, professional schools, colleges, work cooperatives,” he said adding that “The Church is a help to the society, to evolve, to mature.”