VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis' aim in visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh is to encourage their tiny Catholic communities and bring a message of friendship and peace to some of Asia's most peripheral and poor. The big question looming is whether he'll utter the word "Rohingya" while he's here.
The "will he or won't he?" issue has dominated debate before Francis' trip, which begins Monday when his Alitalia charter flight lands in Yangon and ends with a youth rally in Dhaka on Dec. 2.
Myanmar's local Catholic Church has publicly urged Francis to avoid using the term for Myanmar's Muslim minority, who have been subject to what the United Nations says is a campaign of "textbook ethnic cleansing" by the military in poverty-wracked Rakhine state.