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Catholic cathedral complex bombed, bishop flees with refugees in worsening Myanmar civil war
Catholic News Agency ^ | November 29, 2023 | Peter Pinedo

Posted on 12/01/2023 7:30:14 PM PST by Morgana

The pastoral center of Christ the King Cathedral in Loikaw, Myanmar, was bombed on Nov. 26 and occupied by the Burmese military the next day, according to reporting by Agenzia Fides, the news arm of Pontifical Mission Societies.

Though no one was killed in the bombing, the pastoral center’s ceiling collapsed and Bishop Celso Ba Shwe and the 80 refugees taking shelter in the church were forced to flee, per the Hong Kong Catholic news service UCA News.

Shwe said in a statement published by Agenzia Fides that “the Burmese army tried to take the Christ the King Cathedral complex three times” before finally occupying it on Nov. 27.

“As a local bishop,” Shwe said, “I, together with the priests, tried to convince the military generals of the importance of the religious sites and asked them to leave the place to spare, where displaced people are also welcomed.”

The cathedral complex had been sheltering about 82 refugees from throughout Myanmar’s Kayah state, a region that has become a major battleground between the Burmese military junta and several rebel militias.

According to LiCAS news, an Asian Catholic news source, the bishop also reported that “50 soldiers came and occupied [the cathedral] to make use of it as a shield.”

Agenzia Fides reported Shwe saying that many elderly, disabled, sick, women, and children were among those taking refuge in the cathedral complex. Ten priests and 16 religious were also among those taking shelter in the cathedral. Now, the refugees and bishop have fled the cathedral to seek refuge in other churches or the nearby wilderness.

Myanmar, which is bordered by India to the west and China to the east, is a majority Buddhist country that has large Catholic and Protestant minorities in some states. The country has been caught in a bloody civil war since 2021 after local militias united to oppose the military junta that had seized control of the government earlier that year.

This is not the first time that Catholic churches and holy sites have been caught in the crossfire in the ongoing war. Catholic sites in Kayah state and in the Loikaw Diocese have been especially hard hit by military strikes.

On Aug. 12 Mary Mother of Mercy Church in the village of Htee Thaw Ku in the Loikaw Diocese was hit by air strikes that destroyed the church’s ceiling and windows, according to UCA News.

In March 2022, CNA reported that Myanmar military airstrikes hit Our Lady of Fatima Church in Saun Du La village and the Sisters of Reparation convent, a home for retired nuns in Kayah state.

In total, according to Agenzia Fides, 21 of the diocese’s 41 parishes have been affected. The Diocese of Loikaw has about 93,000 faithful.

Agenzia Fides reported Shwe saying that “due to the intensification of armed conflict in November, more than 80% of the urban and rural population in Kayah State have been displaced and the number of internally displaced people continues to rise.”

Shwe said that the cathedral had become a popular refuge site but that “unfortunately, we were not safe there either.”

A report published in March by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said the conflict has resulted in a “humanitarian and human rights crisis” in which over 1.3 million people have been displaced and more than 3,000 civilians killed.

According to the U.N. report, as the conflict has escalated the Myanmar military junta has in recent months “stepped up aerial attacks, bombing villages, schools, medical facilities, and encampments for internally displaced persons.”

Pope Francis renewed his previous calls for peace in Myanmar in a Nov. 19 Angelus statement in St. Peter’s Square. The pope’s statement was published by Vatican News.

“War always, always, always is a defeat,” Francis said.

“I renew my closeness to the dear people of Myanmar who unfortunately continue to suffer from violence and suppression,” the pope went on. “I pray that they will not be discouraged and always trust in the Lord’s help.”

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Eastern Religions
KEYWORDS: 202203; 202308; 20230812; 202311; 20231126; burma; catholic; donate; frankthehippiepope; jimknows; myanmar
From what I know of this it's not Muslims it's Buddhist doing the attack. In fact the Buddhist have been attacking Muslims over there too. Not sure why their knickers are in a wad.
1 posted on 12/01/2023 7:30:14 PM PST by Morgana
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To: Morgana

Perhaps rebellious muslims were sheltering in the church. No affiliation of the inhabitants is given, leading one to distrust.

2 posted on 12/01/2023 7:35:25 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (islam is a totalitarian death cult founded by a child rapist.)
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To: Morgana

It is the Burmese army. They are striking out at any group they feel they do not totally control. The generals are paranoid as hell and Burma has been perpetually at war with its major minorities who have their own quasi states. The Army periodically overruns them but then gets pushed out again.

3 posted on 12/01/2023 8:25:51 PM PST by ThanhPhero
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To: Morgana

Support troops from the Myanmar military that were sent to aid the besieged forces in Loikaw, however, have been unsuccessful in breaking through the KPDF’s line. The battle in Loikaw has become protracted urban warfare, with the KPDF attempting to contain Myanmar forces within their posts, relentlessly attacking with drones.
Related news
Myanmar’s Loikaw on verge of capture: Ethnic coalition intensifies attack | News by Thaiger
02 December 2023
Myanmar’s Loikaw on verge of capture: Ethnic coalition intensifies attack | News by Thaiger
The drones have also been used to attack Myanmar’s artillery bases on the outskirts of Loikaw, indicating that in a few days, the coalition forces may be able to seize the last Myanmar military base in Loikaw.

4 posted on 12/02/2023 4:15:47 AM PST by Bookshelf
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