Church Burned Down by Army in Myanmar

The Myanmar army has burned down yet another parish church. The pastor and the faithful have been living in the forest for months to protect themselves from possible attacks.

Newsroom (17/06/2022 15:00, Gaudium Press) St. Matthew’s church in Myanmar was set on fire by the army on Wednesday at 3:30 pm local time

Located in Phruso township in Kayah state, St. Matthew’s Church in Dognekhu is a small parish church and was set on fire by the Myanmar military on Wednesday, the chancellor of Loikaw diocese, Fr. Francis Soe Naing, told SIR news agency.

The priest stated that the entire village was attacked and set on fire, and so far it is not known if there are victims. Furthermore, the chancellor explained that “the parishioners and the pastor of that parish have been living in the jungle for months, because it is not safe to live in the village.”

The Catholic Church is a main target in the conflict

The territory of the Dognekhu parish covers six villages, totaling 512 Catholic families. Two priests, six catechists and about 2560 faithful live in the area.

The general assembly of Myanmar’s bishops, which met from June 7-10, published a document denouncing the political instability and the dangers of the situation for the people.

The bishops call for human dignity and the right to life to be respected at all times, and also ask for: “respect for life and for the sacredness of places of worship, hospitals and schools.”

Armed conflict

The Asian country has been suffering from internal conflict since the coup d’état on February 1, 2021. According to reports, more than 1929 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, another 11,000 have been arrested, and about 800,000 people have had to leave their homes.

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It should be noted that churches and religious institutions are especially targeted by the military. In recent months dozens of churches have suffered air raids or have been burned down.

In a recent interview with La Civiltà Cattolica, Pope Francis recalled that along with the war in Ukraine other conflicts around the world, including the one in Myanmar, make the Pontiff think that the world is living the “third world war”.

Compiled by Camille Mittermeier

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