The Catholic Church in Myanmar has once again urged the nation to put an end to the violence and start a dialogue amid the ongoing political crisis in the country.
On Sunday, March 14, Myanmar saw one of its worst bloodbaths since the pro-democracy rallies started in February this year. More than 30 protesters were shot dead by security forces while others were left injured, prompting the Catholic Church to step in once again and condemn these brutal acts.
“As the leaders of the Myanmar Catholic Church,… we urge all parties in Myanmar to seek peace,” wrote Yangon’s Cardinal Charles Bo in an open letter to all the people of the nation, including its military and currently-jailed leaders. (Read: Bishops in Myanmar Urge Military to End Violence, Start Dialogue)
“This crisis will not be resolved by bloodshed. The killings must stop at once,” Bo said. “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.”
126 People Killed
As of writing, 126 people had been killed amid the violent crackdowns. On top of this, 2,156 protesters have been arrested, charged, or sentenced by Myanmar’s military.
These people have all been calling for the release of their elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently detained in unknown locations along with other leaders. (Read: Catholic Nuns, Priests Join Anti-Coup Protests in Myanmar)
In this regard, Cardinal Bo has urged the military to put an end to the violence and release the detained citizens at once. “Let all the innocent be released,” he said. “They are our own people… Let us not become a nation of senseless disappointment.”
Message From Pope Francis
On February 7, during his Sunday Angelus prayer, Pope Francis urged Myanmar’s authorities to serve the common good and promote social justice and national stability. (WATCH: Pope Francis Leaves Uplifting Message to Catholics in Iraq)
The following day, February 8, the Pope expressed his solidarity with the people of Myanmar, saying that the country’s path to democracy “was brusquely interrupted” by the coup. He hoped that the jailed leaders be released for the good of the country.
The Pope’s latest statement about the ongoing crisis in Myanmar was on March 3, wherein he once again called on the country’s military to stop the violence and start a dialogue with the protesters.