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Pope in Myanmar: meeting with Buddhist Monks, “never grow resigned” to “wounds of conflict, poverty and oppression”

“Our meeting is an important occasion to renew and strengthen the bonds of friendship and respect between Buddhists and Catholics”. Pope Francis said this as he met the Supreme “Sangha” Council of Buddhist Monks at the Kaba Aye Center in Yangon, one of the most revered Buddhist temples in South East Asia. “It is also an opportunity for us to affirm a commitment to peace, respect for human dignity and justice for every man and woman”, Pope Francis went on to say: “Not only in Myanmar, but also throughout the world, people need this common witness by religious leaders. For when we speak with one voice in affirming the timeless values of justice, peace and the fundamental dignity of each human person, we offer a word of hope. We help Buddhists, Catholics and all people to strive for greater harmony in their communities”. “In every age – the Pope explained -, humanity experiences injustices, moments of conflict and inequality among peoples. In our own day these difficulties seem to be especially pronounced. Even though society has made great progress technologically, and people throughout the world are increasingly aware of their common humanity and destiny, the wounds of conflict, poverty and oppression persist, and create new divisions”. “In the face of these challenges, we must never grow resigned” – his appeal to the Buddhist Monks: “On the basis of our respective spiritual traditions, we know that there is a way forward, a way that leads to healing, mutual understanding and respect. A way based on compassion and loving kindness”. Upon his arrival, the Pope was welcomed by the Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture, Thura U Aung Ko. This preceded his meeting with the Supreme “Sangha” Council of Buddhist Monks in which he delivered his address after the opening remarks of the chairman of the State “Sangha” Committee, Bhaddanta Kumarabhivamsa.

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