04/07/2020, 14.31
MYANMAR
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Card Bo: the coronavirus is humanity's way of the Cross, a challenge to the faith

In his Easter message, the cardinal stresses the "dark days" in which hope "is strangled" by "despair". COVID-19 is an "angel of death" and "nothing will be the same again." For the Church, it is time to accompany the world to the resurrection with “justice and human solidarity".

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The world is going through "dark days" in which "a huge, suffocating cloud of fear and anxiety engulfs the whole of humanity.” Like Saint John of the Cross’s dark night of the soul, humanity’s hope “is strangled by the darkness of despair that comes in the name of COVID,” writes Card Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, in his Easter message to the faithful sent to AsiaNews.

For the prelate, the time "of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” seems to be upon us. The novel coronavirus "is the Way of the Cross of humanity” whereby “Thousands have been crucified to a cruel death by a viral organism that cannot be seen by eyes.”

In Myanmar, the authorities are on high alert for a possible rise in the number of people affected by the novel coronavirus. Officially, the country has 22 confirmed cases and one death.

According to experts, should the virus turn into a pandemic, it would be a health disaster for the country. For the archbishop of Yangon, China’s regime is morally “culpable” for the pandemic whilst the people of China are the first victim.

Despite the extremely difficult situation, Myanmar Catholics are preparing to celebrate Holy Week, whilst praying for the end of the pandemic.

“COVID-19 challenges our faith. The Catholic Church is about communion,” writes Card Bo. “Our mission is to build communion and yet in this time of crisis we seem to surrender ourselves to isolation.”

“Paradoxical as it may seem, keeping distance from one another means we truly care for each other, because we want to stop the transmission of the deadly virus.”

In Myanmar, like in many other parts of the world, churches are closed. In the past, the Pope said that churches should be "field hospitals" to heal humanity's wounds thanks to Mother Church. Today, the cardinal notes, "the places where we sought God," where "we shed our silent tears" are "closed" and this "is painful".

“This is a long ‘Holy Saturday’” in which the Church “abstains from the celebration of the Eucharist" but waits for the resurrection. “We, Catholics and all humanity, wait with hope that this Holy Saturday will end with a victorious Easter.”

However, “COVID-19 will leave nothing unchanged” because "This angel of death" carries a "shattering message" whereby "nothing will be the same again. The way we worship, the way we relate with one another, the way we work, will all change.”

We are a family "in a fragile world", but the distance imposed by the containment of the pandemic must not become "paranoia", but rather an opportunity to "lead to new forms of solidarity.”

The coronavirus, the archbishop of Yangon points out, has already provided some “existential lessons: the richest and more powerful nations that have arrogantly stockpiled nuclear arms and weapons are brought to [their] knees by a virus.” World powers “that arrogantly negate all transcendent powers learn with humility that life is fragile and that we all need one another.”

Humanity "is on the way to the Cross.” Let us hope that it may “lead all nations to consign enmity and war to fire and, rather, see resurrection in human solidarity.”

Citing Pope Francis’s Easter message, the cardinal ends his message saying that “Now is the time for the Church to accompany the world in this resurrection to justice and human solidarity.”

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