Pope Francis Pours on the Propaganda over Rohingya

In response to criticism of Pope Francis’ failure to publicly mention the Rohingya during his recent visit to Mynamar, the Church has revved up its propaganda machine. Pope Francis was given a new script. Not only were Catholic media given new talking points, but non-denominational religious media were also called up for this battle.

The CRUX headline proclaims, “Pope says of not mentioning Rohingya, ‘Everyone knew what I thought.’” But if this were true, Pope Francis would not have muzzled himself. He would have stayed on script, repeating his earlier condemnation of those persecuting the Rohingya. The righteous speak truth to power. Pope Francis willfully rejected this path of righteousness. Lacking courage is hardly the worst of sins (even if the situation in Myanmar posed little danger). But the repeated efforts of Pope Francis and the Vatican to shirk responsibility are shameful.

The headline in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR): “Francis: 'I did not negotiate with the truth' with Myanmar general.” Neither the pope nor the generals have discussed what went on behind closed doors, but NCR reports that “Francis said he was ‘very, very satisfied’ with the separate meetings he held with de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, President Htin Kyaw, and Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, whose forces have been accused by the U.S. and the U.N. of committing ‘ethnic cleansing’ against the Rohingya.” Pope Francis is very easily pleased, since the leaders of Myanmar did not even give him a token concession. He came away empty-handed from a major diplomatic meeting, yet declared it a success.

The non-denominational Religion News Service (RNS) had a column declaring, “Pope Francis, diplomatic prophet in Myanmar.” The opening sentence: “It is hard to be both a diplomat and a prophet, but Pope Francis pulls it off better than anyone else.” Such fawning praise is almost miraculous, like transforming urine into wine. The columnist claims “Pope Francis was faced with a terrible dilemma: Be prophetic and put at risk Christians in Myanmar, or be silent and compromise his moral authority.” That is, he claims that if Pope Francis repeated his prior claims - which the pope insisted “everyone knew” - the Catholics in Myanmar might have been persecuted just like the Muslims were. Neither Pope Francis nor the Vatican was brazen enough to suggest this.

While some of the mass media has criticized the pope's failure to confront those responsible for the pogrom against the Rohingya, the criticism was muted. But none of the mass media has criticized Pope Francis’ shameful excuses and coverups. The pope’s claim, “I did not negotiate with the truth” is reminiscent of Nixon’s claim, “I am not a crook.” But no one calls him on it.


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