Soldiers enter Myanmar Catholic cathedral, detain archbishop

Myanmar Catholic cathedral

Soldiers from the Myanmar military forcibly took control of a Catholic cathedral in Mandalay and detained an archbishop along with dozens of worshippers.

Approximately 40 soldiers entered Sacred Heart Cathedral before a Lenten prayer service on Friday, April 8. They refused to allow worshipers to leave. The soldiers also occupied other buildings on the compound.

Archbishop Marco Tin Win and employees of the Archdiocese of Mandalay were herded into the building and forced to sit in the pews along with the worshipers.

The worshipers eventually were allowed to leave, and about 30 officers remained in the cathedral overnight.

“I was so afraid,” one elderly Sacred Heart Cathedral parishioner, who did not give her name for safety reasons, told CNA.

“The military was always crazy, but they never acted like this before. We ran home as soon as we were allowed out of the church.”

“The soldiers kept demanding to know where the gold and money and weapons were hidden,” explained her nephew, who also asked for anonymity. “I told them there was none. Any money collected is for the relief of poor families.”

Archbishop Win Tin, Vicar General Monsignor Domenic Kyo Du, their respective staff and approximately 20 diocesan priests are still under house arrest.

Four other local archdiocesan priests said they privately have solicited prayers amongst their parishioners for the archbishop and his staff. However, they are barred from even mentioning the crisis publicly during Mass.

“I don’t know what to do on a practical level,” explained one priest. “I’m praying. We’re all praying, but this is too far. We expected this considering the evils these people are committing in many provinces. They are slaughtering Christians everywhere in Myanmar.”

Since the coup, more than 12,000 people have been arrested. An estimated 1,600 have been killed in the conflict, including 50 children. According to media reports, the military junta has deliberately targeted churches, other institutions and civilians.


Catholic News Agency

Catholic World Report


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