In his Easter message, he urged Burma’s population to take heart from the Resurrection.
“The way of the cross of Myanmar will never go in vain,” he said. “It will end in the resurrection of freedom, democracy, and peace, and prosperity to all.”
Burma’s military leaders seized power in the early hours of Feb. 1, alleging fraud during last November’s elections, won by the National League for Democracy. They detained Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s elected civilian leader, along with Burma’s President Win Myint.
Bo said: “Let us resurrect the situation before the Feb. 1 coup. Let democracy be resurrected. End the coup as soon as possible. The world did not admit it. No amount of oppression can make our people accept it.”
The 72-year-old cardinal urged soldiers to stop attacking the country’s citizens and return to their barracks.
He also appealed to Burmese young people, at the forefront of the protests, not to turn to violence.
“More non-violent struggles succeeded in the 20th century than violent ones,” he said. “They attract a large section of the population. It wins the admiration of the world. The message of the cross is: even your enemy needs liberation from his hatred, as much as you seek your own liberation from his brutal oppression. People must affirm that enduring message of the cross.”
He concluded: “Do not die unnecessarily. If you live long, democracy is strengthened, the evil is weakened. The enemy knows only one language: ruthless violence. Silence that language.”
“He wants you to draw you into his violent turf, where he is powerful. Deny him that turf advantage. Defeat him with love, defeat him with humanity. That was the message of the cross. That is the destiny of this nation. Let a new Myanmar of peace and prosperity rise from the grave of hatred and darkness.”