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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Bangladesh, Myanmar youths are a sign of hope for Asia, pope says

Young people in Myanmar and Bangladesh are a source of hope for a peaceful future in their countries after years of war and suffering, Pope Francis said.

As is customary, at his general audience on Wednesday 6th December, the first after his Monday 27th November to Saturday 2nd December trip to Asia, Pope Francis reviewed his visit.

“In the faces of those young people, full of joy, I saw the future of Asia: A future that doesn’t belong to those who build weapons, but to those who sow brotherhood,” the pope said.

As temperatures in Rome hovered just above 40 degrees, the audience was held in the Paul VI audience hall to avoid the chilly weather.

The pope entered the hall, stretching his hands to each side of the aisle to greet people who reached out to touch him.

After telling the estimated 8,000 pilgrims that he wanted to speak about his recent visit, four Bangladeshi priests cheered loudly and held up a banner that read, “Thank you, Papa.” The pope smiled and waved at the small group.

Noting that it was “the first time a successor of Peter visited Myanmar,” the pope said he hoped to express “the closeness of Christ and the Church to a people who have suffered due to conflict and repression and that now is slowly moving toward a new condition of freedom and peace.”

The Catholic Church in Myanmar is “alive and fervent,” he said, adding that he had “the joy of confirming them in the faith and in communion.”

Picture: Pope Francis arrives for his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Wednesday 6th December. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).