In wake of the recent deaths surrounding the anti-coup protests in Myanmar, Catholic bishops have urged the country’s military to put an end to the violence and instead start a dialogue to resolve the crisis.
On February 21, the first Sunday of Lent, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) released an appeal to end the violence between the country’s military and protesters. (Read: Catholic Nuns, Priests Join Anti-Coup Protests in Myanmar)
It comes after a first casualty was recorded on February 9, when a 20-year-old woman was in the head while taking part in the street protests.
Return to Dialogue
“The heart-rending scenes of youth dying in the streets wound the conscience of a nation,” the bishops said. “Let not its sacred ground be soaked in fraternal blood. The sadness of parents burying their children has to stop. Mothers’ tears are never a blessing to any nation.”
The bishops noted that just a month ago, the nation was dreaming of enhanced peace and democracy. “Despite the onslaught of the global pandemic, the nation held an election,” they said. (Read: Catholic Group Urges New Voters to Register for the 2022 Elections)
“The world admires our capacity for managing our differences. [But] today, the world weeps with us, shattered by the fragmentation of this nation once again,” they added.
The Church leaders then urged everyone to return to dialogue and reconciliation. “Healing needs to start with the release of detained leaders,” they said.
An Appeal for Lent
Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, CBCM president, also urged the faithful to use the season of Lent to pray and fast for reconciliation. (Read: ‘Lent is a Time for Duterte, Filipinos to Change Their Ways’ – Bishop Pabillo)
In his homily for the first Sunday of Lent, the outspoken cardinal shed light on the importance of faith in times of crisis.
“This is a time for prayer. This is a time for fasting. This is a time for conversion for all of us in this country,” he said. “Let the dove of peace return to our nation.
Catholics Join Protests
Over the past few weeks, Myanmar has been seeing daily protests in its urban cities and even remote areas. Catholic men and women have also taken to the streets to pray for peace after the nation’s leaders were deposed by the military on February 1.
Nuns, priests, seminarians, and laypeople have all expressed their solidarity with the people of Myanmar by providing food to the protesters and organizing prayer meetings in their convents.