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Rome Reports

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Pope denounces persecution against Rohingya minority in Myanmar

During the Angelus, Pope Francis especially asked for prayers for two tragic situations in Southeast Asia. First, he remembered the victims of the floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh that have claimed the lives of about 800 people and affected millions of others.

"I express my closeness to those populations, and pray for the victims and for all who suffer because of this calamity."

Then Pope Francis recalled the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority. According to the UN, they are the world's most persecuted ethnic and religious minority.

"Sad news has reached us about the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters, a religious minority. I would like to express my full closeness to them – and let all of us ask the Lord to save them, and to raise up men and women of good will to help them, who shall give them their full rights."

Rohingyas are a Muslim minority in Myanmar where almost the entire population, about 51 million people, is Buddhist. They suffer persecution from the Burmese government, which considers them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Therefore they are not granted any rights, including access to health care, education, or decent work.

Before making these two pleas, Pope Francis spoke of the mission of every Christian within the Church. He said God wants everyone to contribute to building the Church on earth.

"Also with us today, Jesus wants to continue building His Church, this house with a solid foundation where cracks exist and need to be continually repaired. The Church always needs to be reformed, repaired."

Finally, the pope explained that every Christian becomes a "precious stone" in the hands of Jesus Christ. In this way, everyone can form the foundation of fraternity and communion that makes up the Church.