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Myanmar Cardinal: ‘Starvation for peace, turn to peace’

Cardinal Charles Bo, SDB, the President of the FABC

Myanmar Church Leader reiterated the starvation for peace and urged to turn to peace in his new year message on December 31.

"Our people are so hungry for peace. Turn to peace," the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar (CBCM), Cardinal Charles Bo, insisted.

The cardinal noted they faced many challenges to "leave the old behind and ring the bell for a new dawn" in regions mired with conflicts and meaningless wars.

Myanmar Church leader quoted Pope Francis' words, "starvation for peace," which the Pope described many regions on the brink of World War III.

"The Pope's heart, full of compassion, is hurt by the tears of innocent people who suffer. He often asks to include Myanmar in every plea for peace," Cardinal Bo said.

He said that a decade of peace had evaporated overnight.

"Do the citizens of our country, who are full of charms and blessings, deserve the fate that has befallen them?" the cardinal questioned.

He explained that the message of Christmas is not the Christmas trees, coloured lights, pictures of Santa Claus, and commercial sales. The Christmas of the Bible is different.

According to the cardinal, "Christmas is about a poor family being bullied. It is about the powerlessness of honest people. During Christmas week, an enraged Herod massacred innocent children."

Cardinal Bo stated that schools were attacked and destroyed. Wars were taking the lives of children and young people. There were fears and hatred for peace all over the world today.

"The starvation of peace is the reality. All expectations are being crushed," he highlighted.

The cardinal figured out the brokenness of the first Christmas that the wealthy and politically powerful people who possess dangerous power could easily destroy families that do not obey their will.

Cardinal Bo continued that it was a time when the nation of Israel was under the oppression of not only the generals of the Roman Empire but also the oppression of leaders of their own people, who were fed by the Romans, who were drunk with power, and who drank the blood of their own helpless people.

CBCM President stressed that God destroyed the madness of power with 'love without limit' to which power can't compete, which power fears the most. Christmas was conceived in the womb of love by the father of justice.

He recalled that when Pope Francis visited Myanmar with the desire to bring peace, the Pope entrusted the Myanmar Catholic Church with the mission to "build peace - heal the world."

With this responsibility in mind, Myanmar Catholic Church Leader earnestly requested, "Our people are so hungry for peace. Let them turn to peace."

Quoting Pope Francis' words about the starvation for peace that is spreading in the world, the cardinal invited, "All of us who live in Myanmar, let's fight for only one thing, which is peace."

Cardinal Bo emphasized that the ongoing eight decades of battles in Myanmar were not due to the invasion of foreign countries but because brothers were fighting each other, and only the sad tears of sisters and mothers were shed.

CBCM President insisted, "The poor children, existing armies, NGOs, and individuals had to involve in the conflicts, billions of money spent on military weapons, hundreds of deaths in the battles, and millions fleeing domestically and abroad indicate that conflicts cannot be defeated with weapons."

 "No one can have complete victory or control. Without any cross-border warfare, war and human suffering have stuck like a chronic disease on the pages of recent history," the cardinal added.

Myanmar Church Leader earnestly appealed to State Administration Council (SAC), National Unity Government (NUG), and the People's Defense Forces (PDF) the following;

1. To designate January as the month of the ceasefire by mutual agreement. To continue to find ways to extend the ceasefire period. Let the weapons of war be silent. To believe that we can find a peaceful solution by discussing the problems.

2. To provide and respect humanitarian corridors in areas of extreme humanitarian crisis and allow local and foreign organizations to operate freely.

3. To implement the Panglong peace plans throughout the country and allow religious leaders and regional and international groups to participate more articulately.

4. To fight against global epidemics, climate change, and economic turmoil. To fight other wars like the illegal economy. To help alleviate the suffering of the millions of victims who have been forced to flee their homes and seek humane accommodation due to "starvation for peace".

The cardinal urged to consider the tears of grief of the children and young mothers experiencing all kinds of suffering in the jungles.

"Peace is possible. Peace is the only way out," Cardinal Bo stressed.


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