✣ Archbishop: I’d go to jail over confessional seal
In a long-expected announcement, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Burma and Bangladesh this autumn. Francis will arrive in Burma (the first pope to do so) on November 27, then go to Bangladesh from November 30 to December 2. The visit has immediately become politicised, especially around the issue of
the Rohingya, a 1.1 million-strong Muslim minority group. On Sunday the Pope denounced “the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters”.
What Australian media are saying
The New York Times noted that “hard-line Buddhist nationalists” have already begun claiming that the Pope is misinformed. The paper quoted Ashin Wirathu, an ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk, as saying: “There is no Rohingya ethnic group in our country, but the Pope believes they are originally from here. That’s false.” According to Wirathu and others, the Rohingya are from Bangladesh – though, as the Times said, “Rohingya families have lived in the country for generations.”
The Guardian observed that the Rohingya question had “emerged as the biggest challenge for national leader Aung San Suu Kyi”. Suu Kyi, a former winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has “been accused by some Western critics of not speaking out” for the “long-persecuted” minority.
What Catholics are saying
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