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Pope Embarking on Dangerous Trip to Myanmar, Bangladesh

Pope Embarking on Dangerous Trip to Myanmar, Bangladesh

A poster of Pope Francis in front of St Anthony's Parish in  Yangon, Myanmar. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 24 November 2017 07:34 AM

Pope Francis is embarking on one of the most delicate and perhaps dangerous trips of his papacy as he visits Myanmar and Bangladesh this weekend during the crisis surrounding the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority.

The Daily Beast reported there is widespread concern the trip may play out in the same way as Pope Benedict XVI’s comments in 2006, which sparked outrage among the Muslim community and resulted in violence and destruction.

The Guardian reported that Pope Francis will visit Myanmar Nov. 27 and 30, then go to Bangladesh until Dec. 2.

ABC News reported that Pope Francis would meet in private with the Myanmar's military chief as well as with Rohingya Muslims during an interreligious meeting.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s condemned the government of Myanmar.

“These abuses by some among the Burmese military, security forces, and local vigilantes have caused tremendous suffering,” Tillerson said, per The Daily Beast. “After a careful and thorough analysis of available facts, it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine state constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.”

More than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims reportedly have fled Myanmar and are living in deplorable refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The Vatican has indicated it considers the persecutions of Rohingya Muslims as a military operation and Pope Francis has been cautioned to refrain from using the term "Rohingya," which has political connotations.

“We have asked him at least to refrain from using the word ’Rohingya’ because this word is very much contested and not acceptable by the military, nor the government, nor the people in Myanmar,” said Myanmar Cardinal Charles Bo, according to The Vatican Insider.

Many Catholic commentators feel that the trip should not happen.

Jesuit journalist Thomas Reese said via The Catholic Register this week that Pope Francis “risks either compromising his moral authority or putting in danger the Christians of that country,” adding that “I have great admiration for the Pope and his abilities, but someone should have talked him out of making this trip.”

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Pope Francis is embarking on one of the most delicate and perhaps dangerous trips of his papacy as he visits Myanmar and Bangladesh this weekend during the crisis surrounding the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority.
pope, dangerous, trip, myanmar, bangladesh
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2017-34-24
Friday, 24 November 2017 07:34 AM
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