Meeting at the seat of the Apostolic Nunciature of Kinshasa a group of people from eastern Congo, where clashes and violence take place every day, Pope francesco it directly addresses the victims of abuse and abuse: “Faced with the inhuman violence that you have seen with your own eyes and experienced on your own skin, you are shocked. And there are no words. There is only to cry, remaining silent” says the Pontiff, visibly moved.
“My heart is in the east of the country, your pain is mine”
Citing the places of the Kivu“Bunia, Beni-Butembo, Goma, Masisi, Rutshuru, Bukavu, Uvira” (“places that the international media almost never mention”, the Pope points out that “here and elsewhere, many of our brothers and sisters, children of humanity itself, are taken hostage by the arbitrariness of the strongest”.
Peace in Congo cannot be achieved without stability and an end to violence, even in the east of the country: “Today my heart is in the east of this immense country; – He says, expressing his closeness to the wounded populations – a country that will not have peace until it is reached in its eastern part ”.
“Your tears – continued the Pontiff – are my tears, your pain is my pain. To every family bereaved or displaced by burnt villages and other war crimesto the survivors of sexual assaultsto every injured child and adult, I say: I’m with youI would like to bring you the caress of God”.
Then, the most solemn appeal: in the name of God “I condemn the armed violence, massacres, rapes, destruction and occupation of villages, looting of fields and livestock that continue to be perpetrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I appeal to the Father who is in heaven” and ” I humbly lower my head and, with pain in my heart, I ask him forgiveness for the violence of man on man. Father, have mercy on us. Console the victims and those who suffer. Convert the hearts of those who commit cruel atrocities, which bring shame upon all humanity!”.
Pope Francis at Mass in the Zairean rite
Any violence against a woman and a mother is violence against God
During his speech, the Pope referred to the respect for womenoften the weakest in conflicts, killed or raped. “I bless every child, adult, elderly person, every person injured by violence, especially every woman and every mother. And I pray that women, every woman, will be respected, protected and valued: to commit violence against a woman and a mother is to do it to God himselfwho took the human condition from a woman, from a mother”.
The Pope therefore asks to “di disarm the heart. This does not mean stop being indignant in the face of evil and not denounce it, this is our duty! Nor does it mean impunity and condoning of atrocities. What is asked of us, in the name of peace, is remove poison, reject hatred, defuse greed, erase resentment; saying ‘no’ to everything seems to make us weak, but in reality it sets us free, because it gives us peace. Yes, peace is born of hearts, of hearts free from rancor”.
Bergoglio forcefully reiterates “never again! No more violence, no more rancor, no more resignation!”.
Pope Francis at Mass in the Zairean rite
“Enough of getting rich on the skin of the weakest!”. And remember Ambassador Attanasio
The Pope made “a heartfelt appeal to all the people, to all entities, internal and external, who pull the strings of the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, plundering, flogging and destabilizing it. You enrich yourselves through illegal exploitation of the goods of this country and the bloody sacrifice of innocent victims. Listen to the cry of their blood, lend an ear to the voice of God who calls you to conversion, and to that of your conscience: silence the weapons, put an end to the war. That’s enough! Stop getting rich on the skin of the weakeststop getting rich with resources and bloodstained money!”.
A passage of his speech was also dedicated to the memory of “all the sowers of peace who work in the country”, such as the ambassador Luke Attanasiothe policeman Victor Iacovacci and the driver Mustapha Milambomurdered two years ago in the east of the country remembered today by the Pope: “They were sowers of hope and their sacrifice will not be lost”.