Archbishop of Yangon Defends Pope
Said Violence and Islam Cannot Co-exist
YANGON, Myanmar, SEPT. 17, 2006 ( Zenit.org).- Religion cannot justify violence
is the message Benedict XVI communicated in his comments on Islam during
his trip to Bavaria, says the archbishop of Yangon.
Archbishop Charles Bo of Yangon said in comments to ZENIT that he is "sad
to hear the misunderstandings of our brother Muslims" regarding the statements
the Holy Father made Tuesday at the University of Regensburg.
The archbishop continued: "Benedict XVI was making a very clear statement,
that violence is not compatible with the nature of God. Violence and killing
is contrary to the nature of God.
"He was very clear that God is love and love ensures and brings forth life.
God is life-giving. That is the fundamental reason why such a respected and
highly-acclaimed theologian like the Pope gave such a clear message in his
first encyclical 'Deus Caritas Est.'"
"The Pope was speaking in a university, where he chose to repeat that the
religious dimension is necessary for all men, and that faith is fundamental
to experience fullness of life," Archbishop Bo said.
"The coldness of rationality often yields to a desacralized life -- this
is what he was trying to say," he said.
"In this the Pope has fully expressed the sentiment and desire of millions
of Muslims who in one way or another, say: 'Violence and Islam cannot be
related,'" he added.
The archbishop said that Benedict XVI "said that many Muslims say: 'We are
Muslims and we want to be Muslim believers in today's world and against those
who use religion to strike at others with violence. Religion cannot be the
foundation of a conflict, a war, or any other kind of violence.'"
Some 4% of the population of Myanmar, a country of 47 million inhabitants,
is Muslim, the majority being Buddhist.