Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Cardinal Bo endorses UCAN religious freedom report

'On the Edge' shows how the Catholic Church is deeply concerned about the erosion of this fundamental right

Cardinal Bo endorses UCAN religious freedom report

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, left, speaks during the launch of On the Edge book in Yangon Oct. 14 as Father Michael Kelly, listens. ( photo) reporter, Yangon

October 17, 2016

The On the Edge book published by UCA News holds a mirror to religious based hatred and is a fitting warning to not compromise on freedom of conscience, said Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon.

"This document to me is the 'magna carta' of religious freedom in Asia," said Cardinal Bo during the On the Edge book launch in Yangon Oct. 14. This book will shed great light on the need for religious freedom, he said.

On the Edge is the first of a series of annual reports about the state of religious persecution among religions in the region by governments and by each other. It is edited by Father Michael Kelly, S.J., UCAN Executive Director.

"On the Edge articulates the agony of Asia — the mother of great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and Judaism and the freedom to believe and follow one's own conscience in determining faith is an inherent right but violated by crooks and governments in theocratic societies as well as democracies," he said.

The first report focuses on Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.   

"It is timely, well researched, narrating the poignant stories of survivors of religious intolerance," the Yangon archbishop said.

In documenting the poverty stricken Christian settlements of Pakistan, the narratives of anti-Christian riots in India, the plight of Chinese underground Christians, the sad and moving stories of Rohingyas in Myanmar, the emergence of religious intolerance in Bangladesh, the role of extremist monks in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, the poison of hatred in tolerant Indonesia, "the documentation tells a story of tears, brokenness and resilience of the persecuted religious minorities," he said.

"Dark clouds of hatred are gathering in Asia. Merchants of death have rolled down narratives of hatred. This book's great contribution is to hold a mirror to that hatred," he said.

"Genocides occur where religious freedom is restricted. Genocides occur where this is substituted by procrastination. This is not the time to compromise our conscience," the cardinal said.

"So the book On the Edge is a fitting warning."

Religious freedom is the right to hold any belief and the book addresses some of these issues such as the right to worship, observance, practice, expression and teaching, he said.

"Hence, On the Edge is an armor for peace and justice. I wish all Christians will read this book, to understand how the Catholic Church is deeply concerned about the erosion of this fundamental right," Cardinal Bo said.

You can see more of the book and order a copy here.

Want more stories like this?
Sign up to UCAN Daily or Weekly newsletter.
  • Daily
  • Asia
    Outside Asia