Writing to the political, military and religious leaders of Myanmar, 14 March, Cardinal Charles Bo called on all parties to seek peace and help bring an end to the killing, violence, atrocities and imprisonment of innocent people.
“The blood spilled is not the blood of an enemy. It is the blood of our own sisters and brothers – our own citizens. We are a nation of dreams. Our young have been living in hope.
“Let us not become a nation of senseless disappointment. Stop all killing. Cease from violence. Abandon the path of atrocities. Let all the innocent be released. They are our own people.”
He also quoted from a recent letter sent by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, stressing Pope Francis’ concern and love for the people of Myanmar.
In his letter, Cardinal Parolin recalled the Pope’s visit to Myanmar in 2017, when he met all the key figures. Making it clear that “peace is the only way”, he encouraged Myanmar’s church leaders to meet with the political and military leaders, and those taking part in the civil protests, to “join together in finding the greater good for all.”
Cardinal Bo concluded with a strong committment:
“We, the Catholic Church, commit ourselves, together with all people of good will, to the task of seeing this nation rise up again in mutual understanding and peace.”
Yangon, 14 March 2021
Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
His Excellency President U Win Myint
His Excellency Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
Venerable Religious Leaders of Myanmar
Civil Society Leaders of Myanmar
Youth of Myanmar
Dear Brothers and Sisters of Myanmar.
As the leaders of the Myanmar Catholic Church we wish you all peace. We urge all parties in Myanmar to seek peace. Over the last weeks we have undergone great challenges as a nation. This crisis will not be resolved by bloodshed. Seek peace!
The killings must stop at once. So many have perished. The blood spilled is not the blood of an enemy. It is the blood of our own sisters and brothers – our own citizens. We are a nation of dreams. Our young have been living in hope. Let us not become a nation of senseless disappointment. Stop all killing. Cease from violence. Abandon the path of atrocities. Let all the innocent be released. They are our own people.
Recently the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who is one of the highest Vatican City officials and close to Pope Francis, wrote to re-emphasise the messages of the Pope for Myanmar. He specifically encouraged the Church to involve herself in peace making.
These are the major points of encouragement sent by Cardinal Petro Parolin:
He repeated the Pope’s fraternal solidarity with all the people of Myanmar. In his own name he spoke of his feelings of solidarity with the people of Myanmar, and asks me to share that with you.
He again reminded us of Pope Francis’ recent messages. The first, his public address at midday on Sunday 7 February, and the second was the following day speaking with the diplomats accredited to the Vatican, on 8 February.
At the Angelus on 7 February, he said:
“Serve the common good, promoting social justice and national stability for a harmonious democratic co-existence.”
After this letter was sent, Pope Francis spoke even more urgently on 3 March:
“Ensure that the aspirations of the people of Myanmar are not stifled by violence.”
In his letter, Cardinal Parolin reminded us that during his Myanmar visit in 2017, the Pope met all stakeholders. He holds this country in great affection.
Keeping the Pope’s sentiments in mind, the Cardinal encourages the Myanmar church leaders to meet:
• His Excellency Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
• Her Excellency Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
• Other civil society and religious leaders
• Those who are in the civil protests
The Cardinal asked that the Myanmar Church conveys the Pope’s concern and love for this nation. The Secretary of State also requests that this message be passed on to all the above mentioned stakeholders and urges that we join together in finding the greater good for all, especially in meeting the hopes and ensuring dignity of our younger generation.
Peace is possible; peace is the only way. The Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, requests that the “whole Catholic community in Myanmar will spare no efforts in this direction.”
Fortified by the mandate and encouragement of the Vatican, we the Catholic Church commit ourselves, together with all people of good will, to the task of seeing this nation rise up again in mutual understanding and peace.
Cardinal Charles Bo
Archbishop of Yangon
President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar
President of Asian Catholic Bishops’ Conferences
Patron of Religions for Peace Myanmar and Co-President International