Card request. Bo and the Bishops of Mandalay and Taunggyi to all parties to the conflict in Burma after the attack on the historic Chan Thar church: “We have suffered enough, let’s silence the guns”.
Yangon () – Last week, Burma was again heavily marked by violence, which even directly affected a symbolic place of the local Catholic community, the historic church of Our Lady of the Assumption, in the village of Chan Thar , set on fire and razed to the ground by the army. A new wound in the abyss of war that the country has been dragged into since the coup d’état two years ago, when the military deposed and re-imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi. In this context, the country’s three Catholic archbishops – Card. Charles Bo of Yangon, Archbishop Marco Tin Win of Mandalay and Archbishop Basil Athai of Taunggyi – issued on behalf of all religious leaders a heartfelt new petition entitled “Peace is a pilgrimage, let’s walk it together”, which we reproduce below.
Dear people of Burma and parties to the conflict, state and non-state, peace be with you all.
As leaders of the major religions and denominations in Burma, we make this passionate plea for peace, urging everyone to undertake the pilgrimage of peace.
The last few months have witnessed great threats to the sacredness of human life, lives lost, lives displaced, lives starving. In a country blessed with so many great resources, the destruction of human life is a heartbreaking tragedy.
Increasingly, temples and monasteries, where communities sought peace and reconciliation, are themselves targets of attacks and massacres. International instruments such as the Hague Convention require the protection of places of worship, learning and medical care. With pain and anguish, we wonder why these sacred places are attacked and destroyed.
As a nation, we need to heal. And healing comes through a deep sense of mutual relationship. Places of worship foster this interdependence to build peace. When they are mercilessly burned, returning to normal becomes a great challenge.
As leaders of different religious traditions, our impassioned plea to all parties to the conflict in Burma is that we have suffered enough as a people: let us silence all weapons, let us all hold out our hands, as brothers and sisters let us begin the holy pilgrimage of peace, united as a nation and as a people.
Peace is possible, peace is the only way.
With prayers for peace and reconciliation, on behalf of the religious leaders.
Card. Charles Bo
Archbishop of Yangon and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Burma
Archbishop Marco Tin Win
Archbishop of Mandalay
Bishop Basil Athai
Archbishop of Taunggyi