Pope Francis on Wednesday issued a fresh rebuke against Myanmar over its repression of the Rohingya minority group, just days after a United Nations report concluded that security forces had slaughtered and raped hundreds of men, women and children in a “campaign of terror.”
“They have been suffering, they are being tortured and killed, simply because they uphold their Muslim faith,” Francis said of the Rohingya in his weekly audience at the Vatican.
He asked those present to pray with him “for our Rohingya brothers and sisters who are being chased from Myanmar and are fleeing from one place to another because no one wants them.”
The pope urged Christians “to not raise walls but bridges, to not respond to evil with evil, to overcome evil with good,” and added: “A Christian can never say, ‘I’ll make you pay for that.’ Never! That is not a Christian gesture.”
The remarks were widely seen as a reference to President Trump’s vow to make Mexico pay for a wall along its border with the United States, though the pope did not mention Mr. Trump by name.
Francis also addressed the plight of the Rohingya in 2015, but his latest remarks were his strongest yet on the issue.