Pope Francis Apologizes to Rohingya
Pope Francis was widely criticized for failing to mention the Rohingya in his meetings with the leaders of Myanmar. Subsequent Vatican PR efforts only made matters worse. The pope finally met with some Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and tried to make amends: “We won’t close our hearts or look away. The presence of God today is also called Rohingya.” He also issued a strange apology.
According to the NY Times (here), Pope Francis, “in emotional and apparently unscripted remarks,” told about a dozen refugees: “In the name of everyone, of those who have persecuted you, of those who have done you harm, above all for the indifference of the world, I ask forgiveness.”
Are these “unscripted remarks,” or did Pope Francis simply misread his script? What does it mean? How can Pope Francis apologize “in the name … of those who persecuted you?” I’m pretty sure Pope Francis is not admitting his guilt in persecuting the Rohingya. What is he saying? Francis also apologized “for the indifference of the world.” Does Pope Francis hold himself responsible for the attitudes of all the world? What incredible hubris!
Pope Francis somehow forgot to apologize for his own behavior - his failure to speak up about the victimized Rohingya to the leaders of Myanmar – those responsible for the pogrom. As the Times reminds us, “He did not address his own recent silence.”
Where’s the Holy Spirit when you need it?