Pope needs prayer for delicate trip » Manila Bulletin News

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By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

 

Pope Francis has embarked on a sensitive trip which certain officials in the Vatican say should have been shelved.

The Holy Father who has been denouncing injustices especially committed against refugees aims in his visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar on November 27-December 2, to help resolve the festering plight of the Muslim refugees called Rohingya.

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The Myanmar government headed by the political Cinderella Aung San Suu Kyi and most of the Buddhist majority who do not recognize the Rohingyas as an ethnic group. They insist that they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in their country which has denied citizenship though they have lived in Myanmar a.k.a. Burma for generations.

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The apprehension is that if the Pope goes too far in defending the Rohingya refugees, it might ruffle the relationship between the government and himself together with the tiny flock of over 659,000 Catholics in that predominantly Buddhist country of 51 million people.

Fr. Thomas Reese, an American Jesuit commentator, said, “If he is prophetic, he puts Christians at risk. If he is silent about the persecution of the  Rohingya, he loses moral credibility.”

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Pope Francis had already been urged by the Catholic Church in Myanmar and his hand-picked cardinal, Charles Bo, to refrain from even using the term “Rohingya” which is rejected by the majority in Myanmar.

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The cardinal defended Suu Kyi as Myanmar’s only hope for democracy, saying criticism against her was “unfair” and that she was working to implement recommendations by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to improve opportunities for all religious minorities, including Christians.

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Pope Francis is expected to uplift the spirit of Suu Kyi whose international stature has declined as a result of the crisis even though “she is limited constitutionally in what she can say or do against the military.”

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The Holy Father needs our prayers. May he succeed in providing a lasting solution that would be acceptable to the military government, the Buddhist majority, as well as the Muslim Rohingyare fugees suffering for decades under the ongoing “ethnic cleansing.”

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TELECOM SERVICE. A Filipino missionary priest assigned in Myanmar related that a “small” country where he works has better and much faster Internet and telecom services. “Clearly, we are lagging behind our neighboring Asian neighbors,” he said. “We have the most inefficient service and the most expensive.”

The plan to invite a third player in the country in an attempt to break the duopoly established by the two big companies is most welcome.

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BENEFIT MOVIE FOR SEMINARIANS. The SVD Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. is sponsoring a movie – “Star Wars: Last of the Jedi” – which will be shown on December 15, 2017, at the SM Centerpoint Cinema, Sta. Mesa, Manila. The proceeds will go to the educational fund of seminarians supported by the Adopt-a-Seminarian scholarship program.

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May we appeal to everybody to help our project by buying or selling tickets or be a corporate sponsor. For inquiry, call Brian Deguito at tel. 723-3343 or 726-5002 or e-mail me at belsvd@gmail.com.

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BY THE WAY…we sent out solicitation letters to prospective sponsors, buyers, and sellers. May we hear from you?

If we want to have priests, missionaries, and bishops, let’s support our seminarians first. Without seminarians, we cannot have priests, bishops, and popes.

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St. JUDE NOVENA SUSPENDED. Due to the Advent recollection scheduled today at the Divine Word Shrine in Christ the King Seminary, E. Rodriguez Boulevard, Quezon City, the novena to St. Jude is suspended.

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