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Real power comes from service, says Myanmar's Cardinal Bo

Every government that does not get its legitimacy from service to the people has not drawn its legitimacy from God, he says

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: August 22, 2021 05:44 AM GMT

Updated: August 22, 2021 07:33 AM GMT

Real power comes from service, says Myanmar's Cardinal Bo

Cardinal Charles Bo says the government is not above the people in any just country. (Photo: AFP)

Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon has highlighted service to the people, real power and legitimacy as Myanmar is ravaged by political turmoil following the military coup on Feb. 1.

He said every government that does not get its legitimacy from service to the people has not drawn its legitimacy from God.

“Real power, as Pope Francis often cited, comes from service. Not imposing power on the innocents,” Cardinal Bo said in a homily on Aug. 22.

“For any government, in any just country, the government is not above the people. The government is one eye, the people the other eye. Two eyes and one vision.

“A nation built on justice. Anything else is idolatry. Israel fell into darkness because of idolatry.”

The cardinal lamented his nation, which was born with the great dream of peace and prosperity for all.

We have seen the selfish interests of a few, seeking the bread that perishes, have robbed millions of their bread of peace, their bread of life, their bread of prosperity

“Yet powerful people diluted this ideal. Created their own idols: power, possessions, extreme wealth at any cost, economic injustice, environmental injustice,” he said.

He stressed that idolatry has overtaken the great ideals of Metta and Karuna. “For the last seven decades, these idol worshippers have robbed the ideal of a nation built on peace and prosperity for all. A dream became a nightmare.”

Cardinal Bo decried the human agony following many deaths in the coup-hit country in the last six months.

“We have seen the selfish interests of a few, seeking the bread that perishes, have robbed millions of their bread of peace, their bread of life, their bread of prosperity,” he said.

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Myanmar’s security forces have killed more than 1,000 civilians since the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government six months ago.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in political, economic and social turmoil with daily protests against military rule.

The worsening Covid-19 crisis has also ravaged a country where the health service has virtually collapsed following thousands of doctors and nurses joining the mass civil disobedience movement.

The junta-controlled health ministry is recording an average of 4,000 new infections daily across the country but the real figures are likely much higher due to lack of testing and little information coming from the junta.

Our pilgrimage to human dignity is a long march and that could be only sustained through the words of eternal life

Cardinal Bo, 72, lauded the service of frontline workers and volunteers in care centers as “the greatest humanitarian witness” while he mourned over 13,000 people who have succumbed to Covid-19.

“Once again Myanmar people have proved themselves to be the greatest witness to their generous giving, with so many people reaching out to affected people,” he said.

The prelate urged people not to lose humanity but to affirm their understanding through all the tests to discern what is ideal and what is an idol.

“Our pilgrimage to human dignity is a long march and that could be only sustained through the words of eternal life — the bread that came from heaven,” he said.

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