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John Paul II

Pope's visit important for tiny Asia Catholic populations

Pope Francis on Monday begins a six-day trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh. While attention will focus on how Francis addresses the Rohingya Muslim refugee crisis, the trip also holds huge significance for the tiny Catholic communities in each country.

Those Catholics face obstacles that include discrimination, an inability to land leadership roles and threats of violence. Many Christians hope the pope's visit will highlight the plight of the poor and of minority religious groups, including their own.



There are 660,000 Catholics in Myanmar, just over 1 percent of the population of 53 million. In total, Christians make up just over 6 percent of...