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Pope in Myanmar: to religious leaders, “build peace”

“How beautiful it is to see the brothers united”: “United does not mean being the same. Unity is not uniformity, even within the same confession. Everyone has their own values, their own riches as well as their own shortcomings”. Pope Francis made these off-the-cuff remarks in Spanish this morning as he met with the 17 religious leaders of Myanmar – Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Catholics, and Christians of other Confessions. The meeting, which took place at the Archbishopric of Yangon, lasted about forty minutes. After several religious leaders had spoken, Vatican Radio reports, the Pope explained that “we are all different and each confession has its own riches, its traditions, its riches to give, to share. And this can only happen if we live in peace. And peace is built in a chorus of differences. It is diversity that makes unity possible”. Peace, he added, is “harmony”. At this time, we experience “a worldwide trend towards uniformity, towards making everything the same. This is killing humanity. This is cultural colonization. And we need to understand the richness of our differences (ethnic, religious, popular), and that dialogue builds on these differences. We learn from these differences and from one another, as brothers and sisters”. As brothers and sisters, the Pope’s exhortation, we can help “to build this country which, even geographically, is so rich and diverse”. Nature in Myanmar is very rich in diversity. We are not afraid of differences! One is our father. We are all brothers. Let us remain brothers. And if we are argue among ourselves, then we have to immediately reconcile with one another as brothers. Brothers always go back to being brothers. I think that only in this way can peace be built”. This is the final appeal: “Build Peace. Do not let cultural colonisation uniform you. True divine harmony is built through differences. Differences are a richness for peace”.

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