In a Feb. 3 statement, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon asked the military to release "the voice of our people" Aung San Suu Kyi, and called the coup "shocking."
Cardinal Bo is a longtime supporter of democratic rule in Burma. In his statement, he urged the country's military to avoid the use of violence against civilians.
"Sadly, the elected representatives of our people belonging to NLD are under arrest. So are many writers, activists and youth," he said. The NLD is Burma's political party National League for Democracy, which outperformed the military-backed party in November's elections.
"I urge you, respect their rights and release them at the earliest," Cardinal Bo urged the military. "They are not prisoners of war; they are prisoners of a democratic process. You promise democracy; start with releasing them."
The Holy See's permanent observer to the UN Human Rights Council, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, said on Friday that the Vatican was praying for the people of Burma.
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He asked those in power to serve "the common good of fundamental human and civil rights, of promoting social justice and national stability, for a harmonious, democratic and peaceful coexistence."
In his Nov., 2017 visit to Burma, Pope Francis stressed the importance of the country's religions in bringing about reconciliation and unity. He praised the work of those building "a just, reconciled and inclusive social order" in Burma, in a speech to Aung San Suu Kyi, civil authorities and the diplomatic corps.