The Church in Myanmar has urged the country’s military rulers to protect places of worship following a series of attacks by the army in Christian-majority areas of the civil war-torn southeast Asian nation. Source: UCA News.
In the latest attack on Christian places of worship, the army, which toppled the civilian government in February 2021, torched the 129-year-old Assumption Church in Chan Thar in the Mandalay Archdiocese on January 15.
“Increasingly, places of worship and monasteries, where communities seek peace and reconciliation, are themselves under attack,” the Church said in an open letter, signed by Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, and Archbishops Marco Tin Win of Mandalay and Basilio Athai of Taunggyi.
“Why are these sacred places attacked and destroyed?” they asked in the letter, released on Friday.
The senior prelates cited international pacts, such as the Hague Convention, which call for the protection of places of worship, places of learning, and places of healing.
“As a nation, we need to heal. Healing comes through our deep sense of interrelatedness. Places of worship promote this interdependence, leading to peace,” they said.
In the January 15 attack, a century-old convent of the Franciscan Sisters was also set on fire by the military.
Five out of 16 dioceses in the country — Loikaw, Pekhon, Hakha, Kalay and Mandalay — are affected by the ongoing conflicts between the army and ethnic rebel groups, some of whose members belong to various Christian denominations.
Pope Francis has repeatedly called for peace and reconciliation in Myanmar, and on Sunday he decried the destruction of the Assumption church.