A Catholic diocese in Myanmar has banned a priest from attending protest rallies and posting on social media against the country’s ruling military junta.
In a letter, the Kengtung Diocese in the country’s Shan State told Father Dominic Wun Kyaw Htwe that he is banned from “active participation in politics, from posting on social media against the power system in place and against Church leaders.”
The June 22 letter signed by Father Peter Anwe, diocesan administrator, noted that Father Dominic has “actively participated in politics” by joining protest rallies and through his social media posts.
The diocese said that the priest’s “active involvement in politics” and his social media posts “not only cause great perplexity but also public opinion” that result in divisions in the Christian community
Father Dominic, a 34-year-old priest from the Akha ethnic group, was serving the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua in the Diocese of Kengtung for five years until the military coup in 2021.
“Our dreams, our hopes, and our future have been taken away from us. Our lives were destroyed by terrorist and murderous soldiers,” the priest told an AsiaNews interview in April this year.
He said that when he joined the protest movement following the coup, he received warnings both from Church leaders and friends in the government.
The priest went into hiding for six months until he crossed to Thailand where he now serves in a parish in the Diocese of Chiang Rai.
While administering the sacraments and giving catechism lessons, Father Dominic collect donations for refugees who are living near the border with Thailand.
On his social media posts, the priest continues to report on human rights abuses allegedly committed by the military back home.
“We want to see at least the right to life as human beings recognized,” he said in the April 2022 interview with AsiaNews.
“Myanmar should not only be an internal problem, it should be an international issue because these are crimes against humanity,” said Father Dominic.