Pope Francis Advised to Avoid One Word in Myanmar

Cardinal recommends he not say 'Rohingya'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2017 6:39 AM CST

(Newser) – Pope Francis has spoken out about cigarettes, whiners, and a dying baby—and on Monday, some Catholics are watching to see if he avoids one subject entirely. The pope has touched down in Yangon, Myanmar, in what is the first visit any pope has ever made to the country. The Catholic population is quite small—about 650,000—but it's another minority population that's in focus: Rohingya Muslims, who have allegedly suffered brutal treatment in the Buddhist-majority country. CNN reports Francis has previously come to the defense of the Rohingya, referring to them his persecuted "brothers and sisters." But Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, described by the Guardian as Myanmar's "most prominent Catholic," has recommended he not even directly use the word "Rohingya." More:

  • Alternative: The Guardian explains "Bengali" is generally what's used locally, which carries with it the implication that the group consists of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh; one suggested workaround is that Francis use language along the lines of "the people who identify themselves as Rohingyas."

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