In the main act of his third day in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo with more than 90 million inhabitants, Pope Francis met 65,000 enthusiastic young people who cheered him at the Martyrs’ Stadium and at the called to fight against the misery, corruption and violence of war to “achieve a peaceful and honest future”.
Continuous thunderous applause, singing and dancing alternated with Francisco’s speech a young people who make up 70% of the inhabitantswith a presence in the country of 45 million Catholics, half of the population.
Enthralled by the boisterous youth climate, the Pope urged them to do so hold hands in a community gesture. “See? This is being in communion and being in a Church. Your well-being depends on the other.”
The Argentine pontiff, who read his speech full of improvisations sitting down, invited young Congolese to “beware of the temptation to point the finger at someone, to exclude another because of a different origin from yours”.
he meant ethnic discrimination which have also been a source of centuries-old violence in African countries.
The Pope invited them to do so distance “from tribalismof regionalism, which seem to strengthen you in your group but which represent the negation of the community”.
“We already know how it happens. First we believe in prejudice against others and then we justify hatred, then comes violence and finally we are at war.
Violence in the East
In a vast country of more than two million square kilometers and with numerous ethnic groups that inhabit it, ethnic prejudices have fueled divisions that still continue today, especially in eastern Congolese where wars and guerrilla wars are flourishing caused by about 120 armed groups. largely funded by neighboring countries.
In the last days of January, the violence in eastern Congolese was concentrated in the city of Goma, forcing the Argentine Pope to cancel a visit scheduled for this Thursday, recorded an outbreak which has caused new movements of the poorest people. It is estimated that 150,000 people had to flee war zones.
According to the United Nations, there are currently more than six million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo displaced by violence in the east of the country and millions suffer from extreme food insecurity.
The Pope told the young people gathered in the stadium in the capital Kinshasa, “do not let yourself be overwhelmed by evil”. “Don’t let yourself be manipulated by individuals or groups who are trying to use you to keep this country mired in violence and instability so that you can continue to control it without answering to anyone.”
In a speech that thrilled the Congolese population, the Pope launched a cry on Monday against the “economic colonization” that plunges people into poverty and misery.not one of the richest natural resource countries in the world. “Hands off Africa! (…) Don’t suffocate her!” Bergoglio implored.
The country also suffers from a level very high unemployment especially juvenile. It is one of the immediate causes of instability and insecurity. They take advantage of armed groups, who find it easy to incorporate young people into their ranks.
But corruption is also widespread, to which the political class itself is in part no stranger. The Pope said in his speech that young people should say “yes” to honesty and “no” to corruption.
Without waiting for the translator who was next to him, the pontiff said in French, the most widely spoken official language in the country: “Let’s all say no to corruption together”, to which the crowd responded.
The Pope also invited young people to forgive. “To create a new future we need to give and receive forgiveness. So does the Christian: he doesn’t just love those who love him, but he knows how to stop the spiral of personal and tribal revenge with forgiveness.
Francis said goodbye by asking the young people that “thanks to them the country will once again become a fraternal garden, the heart of peace and freedom in Africa”.
In the afternoon, the Pope met with Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukondo at the Embassy of the Holy See. He then went to the cathedral of Notre-Dame do Congo, built in 1947, where he planned to meet and speak with bishops, priests and religious.
The official day ended, as in all trips, with a private meeting with priests who are members of the Society of Jesus resident in the country. Jorge Bergoglio is the first Jesuit pope in history.
On Friday, Francis will fly northeast for the first visit of a pontiff to South Sudan, the last independent country in Africa. On Sunday he will return to Rome.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.