Address to the Bishops of Myanmar


November 29, 2017

...I would like to group my own thoughts around three words: healing, accompaniment and prophecy.

First, healing. The Gospel we preach is above all a message of healing, reconciliation and peace. Through the blood of Christ’s cross, God has reconciled the world to himself, and has sent us to be messengers of that healing grace. Here in Myanmar, that message has a particular resonance, as this country works to overcome deeply-rooted divisions and to build national unity. For you, whose flocks bear the scars of this conflict and have borne valiant witness to their faith and their ancient traditions, the preaching of the Gospel must not only be a source of consolation and strength, but also a summons to foster unity, charity and healing in the life of this nation. For the unity we share and celebrate is born of diversity. Never forget this – it is born of diversity! It values people’s differences as a source of mutual enrichment and growth. It invites people to come together in a culture of encounter and solidarity...

In your episcopal ministry, may you constantly experience the Lord’s guidance and help in your efforts to foster healing and communion at every level of the Church’s life, so that by their example of forgiveness and reconciling love, God’s holy people, your flock, can be salt and light for hearts longing for that peace the world cannot give. The Catholic community in Myanmar can be proud of its prophetic witness to love of God and neighbour, as expressed in its outreach to the poor, the disenfranchised, and above all in these days, to the many displaced persons who lie wounded, as it were, by the roadside. I ask you to offer my thanks to all who, like the Good Samaritan, work so generously to bring the balm of healing to these, their neighbours in need, without regard for religion or ethnicity. 

Your ministry of healing finds particular expression in your commitment to ecumenical dialogue and interreligious cooperation. I pray that your continuing efforts to build bridges of dialogue and to join with the followers of other religions in weaving peaceful relations will bear rich fruit for reconciliation in the life of the nation. The interfaith peace conference held in Yangon last spring was a powerful testimony before the world of the determination of the religions to live in peace and to reject every act of violence and hatred perpetrated in the name of religion...


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