Pope Stresses Unity in Myanmar
Pope Francis stressed the importance of unity in diversity while meeting with leaders of several faiths as part of his visit to the majority-Buddhist Myanmar.
The Pope however made no mention of the Muslim Rohingya who have fled en masse to Bangladesh after a military crackdown.
While speaking to the leaders of the Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish and Christian faiths in Yangon on Tuesday, Francis said, “Unity is always a product of diversity. Everyone has their values, their riches as well as their differences, as each religion has its riches, its traditions, its riches to share.”
According to the Pontiff, “This can only happen if we live in peace, and peace is constructed in a chorus of differences.”
Aye Lwin, a prominent Muslim leader who was at the meeting, told Reuters he had asked the pope to appeal to Myanmar’s political leaders ”to rescue the religion that we cherish, which could be hijacked by a hidden agenda.”
Only about 700,000 of Myanmar’s 51 million people are Roman Catholic.
Thousands of them have traveled from far and wide to see him and more than 150,000 people have registered for a mass that Francis will say in Yangon on Wednesday.