Pope Francis said each human being is created in God’s image and likeness at the end of an interreligious gathering in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dec. 1 when he met with Rohingya refugees.
Pope Francis flew halfway around the world to let all the people of Myanmar and Bangladesh know that he sees them as children of God. But he went especially to let the Rohingya know.
The plight of the ethnic Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state was front and center in speeches by Pope Francis and Aung San Suu Kyi, but neither publicly used the word Rohingya.
The Rohingya refugee influx is also causing an environmental crisis for Bangladesh, in part because the massive numbers of refugees quickly raced ahead of government efforts to channel them into organized settlements.
The Asian church news agency ucanews.com reported the country’s Catholic bishops told the papal nuncio in June that they would prefer Pope Francis avoid mentioning the Rohingya by name.