“As John Paul II indicated, dialogue between believers of different faiths is for peace among peoples. Christians and Buddhists are on the street not with weapons, but with the rosary and the Buddhist pa-deé [prayer beads]. They are a wonderful example for the Church in the world,” he said.
According to data from the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, almost 5,000 demonstrators have been arrested since the beginning of the protests against the coup and 870 people have been killed.
“Many young Burmese are willing to die rather than live without freedom. Christians do not seek martyrdom, nor do they search for it, but they accept it to remain faithful to Jesus,” Criveller said.
The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution last week to “prevent the influx of arms into Myanmar.” One hundred and nineteen countries voted in favor of the resolution with the only vote against by Belarus; 36 countries, including China and Russia abstained.
Pope Francis has repeatedly appealed for people in Burma, most recently during his Angelus address on June 20, when the pope decried the fact that people are suffering hunger and displacement in the wake of the government’s violent crackdown.
“I join my voice to that of the bishops of Myanmar, who last week launched an appeal calling to the attention of the whole world the harrowing experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and are dying of hunger,” the pope said.
The country’s Catholic bishops issued a statement on June 11 appealing for peace, a humanitarian corridor in the conflict zones, and respect for the sanctity of places of worship.
The bishops also asked the Catholic dioceses of Burma “to launch into a period of intense prayer, seeking compassion in the hearts of all and peace to this nation” with daily Mass, adoration, and the rosary.
“May the Heart of Christ touch the hearts of all bringing peace to Myanmar,” Pope Francis said.