Rome Newsroom, Feb 5, 2021 / 12:00 pm
Catholic bishops in Burma have announced that Feb. 7 will be a day of prayer and fasting for peace in their country following Monday’s military coup.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar, the country’s official name, released a statement on Feb. 4 asking clergy to offer Mass this Sunday for the intention of “peace in the country” and calling on all Catholics to participate in an hour of adoration, while praying and fasting.
The statement came a day after Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, president of the bishops’ conference, appealed to Burma’s military to free Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s elected civilian leader.
She was detained along with Burma’s President Win Myint and other members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party when the military seized power on Feb. 1, alleging fraud during last November’s elections, which the NLD won by a landslide.
“I urge you, respect their rights and release them at the earliest. They are not prisoners of war; they are prisoners of a democratic process. You promise democracy; start with releasing them,” Bo wrote on Feb. 3.
The United Nations Security Council has called for the immediate release of those detained and respect for human rights.
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Feb. 1: “The military’s seizure of power in Burma, the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian officials, and the declaration of a national state of emergency are a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law.”
The U.S. Department of State continues to refer to the country as Burma, explaining on its website: “The military government changed the country’s name to ‘Myanmar’ in 1989. The United States government continues to use the name ‘Burma.’”