South Asia

Christians welcome Papal visit but fear more persecution

Christians in Myanmar greeted the Pope’s historic visit to Myanmar this week with mixed feelings of anticipation, celebration and trepidation, according to reports.

More than 7,000 of the predominantly Christian Kachin people came down from their conflict-torn state in northern Myanmar to see Pope Francis on his visit to Yangon on 27 November.

No doubt, they hope he will address the appalling persecution and violence – both social and official – that Christians suffer in the majority-Buddhist nation.

People also expect the Pope to address the plight of the Muslim Rohingya people. Some Christians express fears that the Papal visit could potentially anger the Buddhist majority and lead to repercussions for minorities.

In October 2017, two pastors were jailed for two years for helping a journalist photograph a church bombed my Myanmar’s army.

Christian leaders report that the Burmese military has continued to oppress the country’s Christians. In majority-Christian Chin State, “crosses have been destroyed and Christians have been forced to construct Buddhist pagodas in their place.”

In Kachin State, “at least 66 churches have been destroyed” since 2011. The Karen people who also have a significant Christian minority have faced the same persecutions.

Global Christian News previously reported that not only do Myanmar’s Christians suffer from government persecution; they also face a new threat of jihadi violence.