Yangon ViewView of Yangon
Views from Yangon
Pope Francis lit the 32 degrees Celsius sunshine on his aircraft from Rome to Yangon - formerly known as Rangoon - which would welcome him to Myanmar. While the Pope has frequently mentioned the dreadful predicament of the Rohingya - he called them his "persecuted brethren and sisters" - he was urged by the Archbishop of Yangon, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, and the locals not to use the "R-word" during his visit.
That could be described as the "Pius XII dilemma" of Francis. He should have been more courageous in speaking out against the Nazi genocide of Jews than behind the scene when he relied on his attempts to rescue as many of them as possible from the massacre, the shadowy clouds that will always be hanging over Pope Pius.
Recently the Holy See has entered into official relations with Myanmar, where Catholics make up only 1.3 percent of the people. The Pope's Tuesday address to the Myanmar government in the capitol was expeditious. A papal call is often less of what is actually said than of gesture and physical expression and mere attendance.
Numerous palm trees, a constant flow of Buddhist friars in chestnut brown garments, and a constant flow of prayers. In Myanmar there are 500,000 Myanmar friars - and 75,000 monastics - some of whom remain in the monastery while others take over the garment only for a while.
Several Buddhist friars are charged with inciting hate against Muslims. The Pope Francis will choose his words with care this time.
We were almost the first to be inside after 5:00 pm with a single tap - the bouncer at the front downstairs had to go and see if he would let us in! However, it was filling very quickly, so if you want a place to sit with an outside view, start early!
There is a great view - although the huge crowd of Shangri La really does block the view of the sunset! One can even see down the Yangon to the sea.