Christian leaders in Myanmar see in the appointment of Salesian Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon as cardinal an acknowledgement of the growth of the Catholic mission in the country. Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang of Kalay, the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of in Myanmar (CBCM), said Archbishop Bo’s appointment "is the culmination of the activities of the mission of the Church in Myanmar". Archbishop Bo is among 20 bishops and archbishops Pope Francis named on Jan. 4, who he will raise to the rank of cardinal in a consistory on February 14. "Cardinal Bo is bold enough to tell the truth, both on social and religious issues, political affairs, on matters affecting the Church," Bishop Thang said. The cardinal-delegate comes at a delicate moment for the history of the country, engaged in a democratic transition, after years of dictatorship, and on the eve of new elections which should take place in the autumn of 2015. In addition, the nation is struggling with problems of religious intolerance, in particular on behalf of some Buddhist groups towards Muslims of the ethnic Rohingya.
Benedict Rogers of the NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide described Archbishop Bo as "a man of great qualities: courage, wisdom, compassion, humility, humour, hospitality and generosity". "In particular, he was one of the most outspoken religious leaders in Burma on issues of human rights, religious freedom, democracy, and injustice," Rogers said. In Myanmar Catholics are about 1% of a total population of 51 million inhabitants, mostly Buddhists.