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In front of a million Congolese, Pope Francis called for breaking the cycle of violence in a country torn apart by war


"Lay down your weapons, embrace mercy," he said and asked for peace in a field mass. On Tuesday he denounced economic colonialism in Africa.

Before a crowd overflowing with religion, with African songs and dances, which the authorities estimated at a million people gathered at an airport in the capital Kinshasa,

the Congolese people celebrated

the presence of Pope Francis

who asked them to "break the cycle of violence" and achieve peace in a country that has

been at war for more than three decades.

In one of the most crowded masses of his decade-long pontificate, the 86-year-old Argentine pope told them to follow "three sources" to achieve peace, "which are

forgiveness, community and mission

. "

"How much good it does to cleanse our hearts from anger, remorse, and all resentment and envy!" added Jorge Bergoglio, on his second day in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country of more than 90 million people. inhabitants and the one with the most Catholics on the continent, with 45 million faithful.

The Pope presides over mass in his wheelchair, in Kinshasa.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi / AFP

“Dear friends, may today be the moment of grace to welcome and experience the forgiveness of Jesus!

May it be the right time for you, who carry a heavy burden on your heart and need it removed to be able to breathe again.

During the homily to the crowd, he stopped singing and dancing and dedicated himself to listening to the Pope and

applauding and shouting the pontiff.

The Congolese suffer from the resurgence of violence, especially in the east of the country, where more than a hundred armed groups operate.

The Pope made an appeal.

"Lay down your arms, embrace mercy

," he said.

During the homily, the crowd stopped singing and dancing and dedicated themselves to listening to the Pope and applauding and shouting the pontiff.

Photo: EFE

Addressing the members of the Church, he told them that they too run the risk of "being together but walking on their own, looking in society and also in the Church for power, career and ambitions."

In order not to fall into the false illusions of power and money, Francis affirmed that "the way

is to share with the poor


“Let's start again from the poor and we will discover that we all share the interior poverty.

With God's help, let us build

a Church empty of worldly spirit

and full of the Holy Spirit, free of wealth for itself, free of wealth for itself and full of brotherly love.

A crowd surrounds the popemobile in Kinshasa.

Photo: EFE

"Hands off Africa!"

On Tuesday, on the first day of his visit, in the 40th.

Francis' apostolic journey and the fifth in Africa, Jorge Bergoglio delivered one of the most resonant speeches of his papacy.

Speaking before President Felix Tshisekedi at the Government Palace, where he received an official welcome, Francis exclaimed “Hands off Africa!

Stop suffocating her!”, attacking what he called

“economic colonialism”

that extracts fabulous profits from the exploitation of the continent.

His call had a direct impact on the inhabitants of this country.

Of the 90 million inhabitants, a good part

lives with only two dollars a day


A country with an impressive territory of more than two million square kilometers has enormous wealth, but with such unfair exploitation that it does not exceed an annual production of

55 billion dollars.

In a train of comparisons, Argentina, with 47 million inhabitants and one of the worst economic crises in its history, has an annual wealth of

455 billion dollars.

Faithful get on an old plane to see the Pope.

Photo: Reuters

The Pope said Tuesday that “it is tragic that these places continue to suffer forms of exploitation.

After political colonialism, an equally enslaving economic colonialism has been unleashed.

Francis affirmed that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (there is another smaller country called the Republic of the Congo) is

"an abundantly depredated country"

that fails to "benefit sufficiently from its immense fruits."

This Wednesday's appeal gave a peaceful and merciful direction, oriented towards the poor, to the path of social vindication of the Congolese.

Pope Francis celebrates mass at the Ndolo airport in Kinshasa.

Photo: Reuters

In his homily at the

mass in Kinshasa

, the capital of 16 million inhabitants, the Pope continued with another call to "brothers and sisters" to be "missionaries of peace."

"This will give us peace."

"It is a decision, it is to make room for our hearts for everyone, it is to believe that ethnic, regional, social and religious differences come later and are not obstacles."

Francis invited Christians "to break the cycle of violence and dismantle the plots of hate."

The Pope

partially presided over the mass

, because he cannot fully celebrate the ceremony due to his right knee problems.

After the religious ceremony, which according to a bishop present "makes history in Congolese Catholicism due to the presence of the Pope and an impressive crowd", Francis returned to the headquarters of the Holy See embassy in Kinshasa.

In the afternoon, meetings with the victims and their relatives were scheduled in the martyred East of the country, victim of violence and wars caused by armed groups, received by the Pope who had to cancel his visit to the city of Goma, capital of the East Congolese, due to the

escalation of violence.

The Pope also planned to receive this Wednesday the solidarity and charitable organizations that give important help to the poor Congolese.

On Friday the Argentine pontiff will conclude his visit to the Republic of the Congo and

will travel to South Sudan


On Sunday he will return to Rome.

Vatican correspondent


look too

The Pope begins his postponed trip to Africa, bled dry by hunger and wars

The war between the Catholic cardinals

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-02-01

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