“I defend justice and truth”

The apostolic administrator sent a warning to Fr. Htwe and Fr. Ate, who openly turned against the generals. In a video testimony published by , they say that they have been forced to flee with the exiles to Thailand. “We will continue to stand by our people.” For his part, Cardinal Bo “begged” the junta not to execute the death sentences against opponents: “It would be a new abyss.”

Kengtung () – The warning from the Diocese of Kengtung has caused great controversy within the Catholic ecclesial community, prohibiting two priests “from active participation in politics and the publication of interventions on social networks against the system and the leaders currently in power. The letter – signed by the diocesan administrator Fr. Peter Anwe – is addressed to Fr. Dominic Wun Kyaw Htwe and Fr. Clement Angelo Ate, two priests who for a few months have been living in Thailand with the exile communities, on the other side of the border, precisely because they have openly opposed military junta.

The diocese of Kengtung is located in the Shan state, one of the most seriously affected by the civil war in Myanmar, fueled by the repression following the coup on February 1, 2021, when the generals overthrew the democratically elected government and President Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned. Precisely in these days the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners spread the news that the violence of the Burmese army has led to overcoming the tragic threshold of 2,000 dead. had already published this dramatic appeal to the international community by Father Dominic Htwe last April, in which he said: “Please do not limit yourself to words, concrete actions are worth more”.

In his letter the diocesan administrator, Fr. Anwe claims the two priests of the Kengtung diocese for having been repeatedly present since last year “in protest movements”. “The active participation in politics and the publications that you make on social networks – he adds – not only arouse great perplexity but also public opinion and your own Christian community are divided”. That is why the ban letter is qualified as a “last warning”, adding that the Kengtung diocese “will not assume any responsibility if from now on they do not feel obliged to respect this warning”.

The response of Fr. Dominic Htwe was quick: “I am neither surprised nor scared,” he wrote in a post on facebook-. He had foreseen this eventuality from the beginning of the revolution. They can kick me out right now. Let your conscience be safe. I am proud to be far from a society dominated by fear and that pursues economic wealth before justice and truth”.

“I feel a great love for my church -continues the priest-. But at a time when the distinction between good and evil is so clear, the chains are also becoming thin. This warning will strengthen my resolve to fight harder. If your conscience is blind, I pray that it be purified. Justice must prevail.”

Father Clement Angelo Ate – contacted by the Licas news agency – also confirmed that “I will continue fighting and next to our people who suffer, and I will do everything I can for them”.

For his part, Cardinal Charles Bo of Rangoon has spoken out against the death sentences that the military junta announced that it intends to carry out against some activists. “As the Cardinal of Myanmar,” he said at an international conference on June 20, “I beseech you from the bottom of my heart not to kill these people and I call on the world to act. If the regime continued down this path, it would be a new abyss for this already brutal, barbaric and inhumane criminal junta.”

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