Cardinal Bo: Myanmar – an ‘extended Way of the Cross’

Robaird O’Cearbhaill 
Hong Kong Correspondent 

The Myanmar military’s so-called government, which violently forced itself on a partly democratically elected country a year ago, has demolished most of the long, hard fought for precious freedoms. Internationally or at home, the rulers are not accepted as legitimate except for the armed forces’ beneficiaries. 

Fifteen thousand of the widespread protest leaders outraged with the coup d’etat have been arrested. The less fortunate were shot dead on the streets. Shockingly too, the worldwide-known Prime Minister, Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San San Suu Kyi, and President Win Myint, have been jailed too, the former for two years, the latter for four years. 

Since February 2021, the former Burma is run by generals, whose incompetence is badly crashing the economy, leading to food inflation and shortages, the exit of the majority of foreign investments, and major currency value falls. 

Major foreign direct investment (FDI) losses were counterbalanced by more China investing. “Post-coup, Myanmar has lost most of its foreign investments; however, Beijing has taken this opportunity to ratchet up its investments instead,” stated researchers from the international public policy think tank, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in their “Growing Chinese investments in Myanmar post-coup” report. 

In The Diplomat magazine, Myanmar-focused journalists, Dominic Oo and John Liu, also revealed that the nation is on the way to economic ruin. 

“The precipitous collapse of the Myanmar kyat, which has lost more than 60 percent of its value in recent weeks, is the latest sign of the plight facing the country’s economy, which has already been pushed to the verge of total collapse.” 

Myanmar’s first cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, who was elevated by Pope Francis in 2015 from Yangon archbishop, was highly critical of the national crisis on the coup’s anniversary . He said the people were suffering an “extended Way of the Cross, spiraling chaos, confusion,conflict, and human agony.” 

Since the military takeover, increasingly organized, armed resistance in several major parts of the country have also drained government resources. Bo added in a Vatican news report recently that while he knew how hard lives were, he also stressed that violence was not the right approach, but peace is. 

“As Myanmar marks the first anniversary of the military coup on 1 February, the country’s Catholic Bishops are reiterating their closeness to the suffering people, urging the Church and Christians to be ‘the wounded healer’ and ‘an instrument of peace.’”

“We feel your pain, your suffering, your starvation; we understand your disappointment; we understand your resistance,” the Cardinal underlined. “But to some who believe only in violent resistance, we say ‘there are other means.’” 

Bo is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM).