Rome, Italy, Oct 3, 2017 / 23:03 pm
In November Pope Francis will visit Bangladesh and Burma, two developing countries in Asia, where he will bring a message of peace and coexistence amid persecution of minorities, a missionary priest said.
“The Pope's visit, in my opinion, will help to emphasize that coexistence helps the future of the country, not conflict,” Fr. Bernardo Cervellera told CNA.
In particular, Pope Francis will address the plight of the long-persecuted Rohingya people, in whose defense he has spoken out many times.
Rejected by Buddhist fundamentalist groups – Burma's religious majority – the Muslim ethnic group has been largely turned away from the Muslim country of Bangladesh as well, where they have sought refuge.
“So these people don't have a country, they are migrants in the full sense of the term, they have nowhere to lie their head,” Cervellera said.
“And so the Pope defends them, to let Christians and Muslims know that we need to help people not on the basis of their creed, or on the basis of their wealth, or their abilities, but simply because they are human beings.”
Cervellera, a priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and editor-in-chief of AsiaNews, has spent time in both Burma and Bangladesh. He spoke about Francis’ upcoming visit to Bangladesh and Burma, also known as Myanmar, Nov. 27-Dec. 2.
Something to note about the visit, he said, is that Catholic population in both countries is very small. In Bangladesh less than three percent of the population is Catholic and in Burma it’s less than one percent.