News & Politics

Pope Francis Fails to Mention Plight of 'Rohingya' While in Myanmar

(Photo by Giuseppe Ciccia / Pacific Press)

Apparently, Pope Francis isn’t exactly the most courageous man on earth. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church went to Myanmar, where he refused to utter the word “Rohingya.” The Rohingya are (mostly) Muslims living in Myanmar, where most of them have been born and raised. They’re treated like subhumans in that country and even live in fear for their lives because of Buddhist (yes, really) bigotry.

You’d think that the pope would have something to say about the need to protect them. Well, he did, but with one gigantic caveat:

Myanmar does not recognize Rohingya as an ethnic group and calls them “Bengalis.” Pope Francis had refrained from using the term “Rohingya” while in Myanmar earlier in the week.

There, the leader of the Catholic Church had called on Buddhist monks in Myanmar to conquer “prejudice and hatred” and urged “respect for each ethnic group and its identity.”

So he called on the Myanmar government to finally start respecting people of all faiths but didn’t actually refer to the Rohingya by name because his hosts wouldn’t like that.

But then, the pope went to Bangladesh. And guess what he did there?

Pope Francis was speaking to Rohingya refugees in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, grasping their hands and listening to their stories.

He apologized for the “indifference of the world” to their plight, telling the 12 men and four women that “the presence of God today is also called Rohingya.” It is the first time the pontiff has used the term in public on his current trip through Asia.

So he kept his mouth shut (more or less) while in Myanmar, and only found the courage to mention the persecuted Rohingya by name after he left Bangladesh.

Such bravery from the supposed moral authority of Christendom.