ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2018

Pope recalls suffering faces from Myanmar, Bangladesh trip

05 December 2017, 02:42 | Melissa Porter

Pope Francis told journalists on his plane flying back to Rome that he and Rohingya refugees cried during their meeting in BangladeshMore

Pope Francis told journalists on his plane flying back to Rome that he and Rohingya refugees cried during their meeting in BangladeshMore

It would appear that the Pope initially followed the suggestions of his advisers who believed his use of the word would be too controversial to say in Myanmar, where the Rohingya minority is referred to as illegal "Bengalis".

He spent nearly an hour answering reporters' questions after his six-day trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, but insisted that most of the questions be about the trip.

"I was very, very satisfied with the meetings", the Pope said.

But Yangon-based analyst David Mathieson said the tour would "do nothing dramatically to alter the humanitarian disaster of Rakhine" in Myanmar, where the violence against the Rohingya has unfolded.

Pope Francis' meeting with Rohingya refugees during his trip to Bangladesh has sparked anger in Myanmar after referring to them as "Rohingya".

"When I saw the message was accepted, I dared to say everything I wanted to say", he said by using a Latin phrase meaning 'few words are enough for the one who understands'.

"In the name of all those who have persecuted you, who have harmed you, in the face of the world's indifference, I ask for your forgiveness".

"If I had used the word ['Rohingya'] during an official speech, I would have slammed the door", he said.

"The presence of God today is also called 'Rohingya, '" Francis said before a gathering that included Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian leaders.

Despite his apparent sympathy toward Suu Kyi's tenuous position in dealing with the Burmese military, Francis said he made sure his true feelings were known in private, especially during his meeting Monday with the general, who is responsible for what the army says are "clearance operations" against Rohingya militants in Rakhine. I still bleed, there is pain in the abdomen, my back hurts, I get headaches. When asked about the change in schedule and if he felt he was politically manipulated by the general to show who was the most superior in the country, the Pope replied: "I don't know the intentions but I was interested in dialogue".

Listening to them was emotional, he said, and "I couldn't let them leave without saying something" to them. Francis said they deserved to hear something from him directly, and so he asked for a microphone and spoke from the heart.

Pope Francis refused to give reporters details about his private meetings with government officials and military leaders in Burma, but insisted they were marked by "civilised dialogue" and he was able to make the points important to him.

Burma is at a "turning point" where it will be hard to move forward, he said, but it also would be hard to back away from change. I never close the door....

The Vatican also acknowledged that the meeting breached protocol as Myanmar's military chief met with Pope Francis before the pontiff met with the country's civilian leadership.

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