Myanmar archbishops: death, starvation and places of worship burned without mercy

Appeal by Card. Bo and the bishops of Mandalay and Taunggyi to all parties to the conflict in Myanmar after the attack on the historic Chan Thar Church: "We have suffered enough, let the guns be silent."

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The past week in Myanmar has again been heavily marked by violence that has even engulfed a symbolic site of the local Catholic community, the historic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in the village of Chan Thar, which was burned and razed to the ground by the army.

A new wound in the abyss of war into which the country has been dragged since the coup two years ago, which saw the military depose and imprison Aung San Suu Kyi once again.

In this context, the country's three Catholic archbishops - Card. Charles Bo of Yangon, Archbishop of Mandalay Msgr. Marco Tin Win and Archbishop of Taunggyi Msgr. Basil Athai - have issued on behalf of all religious leaders a new heartfelt appeal entitled "Peace is a pilgrimage, let us walk it together," which we republish below.

Dear People of Myanmar, State and Non-State stakeholders.

Peace be with you all. 

As leaders of major religions/faiths in Myanmar, we make this passionate appeal for peace, urging that all of us need to undertake the pilgrimage of peace. 

The recent months have seen great threats to the sacredness of human life, the lives lost, the lives displaced, and the lives under starvation. In a country blessed with so many great resources, the destruction of lives is a heart-wrenching tragedy. 

Increasingly the places of worship and monasteries, where communities. sought peace and reconciliation are themselves under attack and carnage.  International instruments like the Hague Convention call for the protection of places of worship, places of learning, and places of healing. With pain and anguish, we ask why these sacred places are attacked and destroyed.

As a nation, we need to heal.  Healing comes through our deep sense of interrelatedness.  Places of worship promote this interdependence, leading to peace.  When they are burnt mercilessly returning to normalcy becomes a great challenge. 

As leaders of the various faith traditions,  our passionate plea to all stakeholders in Myanmar, is we have suffered enough as a people,  let all guns fall silent, let us reach out to all, as brothers and sisters and start the sacred pilgrimage of peace - united as a nation and as a people. 

Peace is possible, peace is the only way. 

With prayers for peace and reconciliation, 

On behalf of religious leaders. 

Cardinal Charles Bo

Archbishop of Yangon and 

President of CBCM

Archbishop Marco Tin Win

Archbishop of Mandalay

Archbishop Basilio Athai

Archbishop of Taunggyi