Catholic World News

Pope sends video message to Myanmar in advance of visit

November 17, 2017

“I cannot wait to be able to meet you,” Pope Francis said in a video message to the people of Myanmar, released in preparation for the papal visit to the Asian country, which will take place November 27-30.

In his message the Pope emphasized that his trip would be primarily a pastoral visit to the country’s Catholic community. But he said that he would offer a broader message to the country at large: “I come to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.”

In the brief message the Pontiff did not touch on the pressing human-rights issues—in particular, the treatment of the Rohingya minority—that have raised tensions about the trip. Many advisers have suggested that the Holy Father should not address those questions while in Myanmar, since any statement by a Catholic leader might exacerbate religious tensions. Others argue that the Pope should help to call worldwide attention to the plight of the Rohingya.

Pope Francis, in his video message, said only that “I wish to visit the nation with a spirit of respect and encouragement for every effort intended to build harmony and cooperation in the service of the common good.”

The Pontiff concluded his message by offering this thanks to those who are organizing the trip.

I know that many in Myanmar are working hard to prepare for my visit, and I thank them.

 
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