Do not give in to evil and division, Pope tells Myanmar community
ROME, May 16: The people of Myanmar must not despair in the face of evil or allow themselves to be divided, Pope Francis said on Sunday at a special Mass for the Myanmar community in Italy.
Pope Francis repeated his calls for an end to violence in the country roiled by months of bloodshed following a military coup.
The mass inside the Vatican's Saint Peter's Basilica came after several appeals for peace in recent months by Francis, who visited Myanmar in November 2017, the first papal visit to a Buddhist-majority nation.
A Myanmar nun recited the first reading in Burmese before a congregation of about 200 nuns, priests and seminarians during the mass intended for the country's Catholics in Rome and beyond.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a February 1 coup, triggering a massive civilian uprising that authorities have sought to quell with lethal force.
Street protests have continued despite the junta's bloody crackdown, with security forces having killed an estimated 790 people to date, according to a local monitoring group.
In his homily, Francis skirted an overt denunciation of the military regime, instead appealing to the faithful to be "steadfast in the truth" and urging them not to lose hope. -AFP