Pope Francis made a rallying cry for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo as he celebrated Mass for more than one million people and strongly condemned those profiting from violence in the country. Source: The Tablet.
The 86-year-old pontiff began the second day of his Africa visit by travelling to N’dolo airport, on the outskirts of Kinshasa, where huge crowds had gathered to participate in the papal liturgy, the second biggest of the Francis pontificate.
Later in the day, he listened to heart-rending stories of those who had suffered atrocities during the conflict in the eastern part of the country, where fighting continues over Congo’s vast natural resources.
In the most moving scenes of the trip, the survivors said they had forgiven their perpetrators, and all knelt in front of Francis as he blessed them.
Throughout the day, the Pope had a consistent message: Christianity is incompatible with any kind of violence, and believers should devote themselves to becoming builders of peace.
There was a joyful and noisy atmosphere from start to finish at N’dolo, with people waving flags and singing as the Pope entered the airfield in his popemobile.
In his homily, the Pope emphasised that Christ’s message of peace is “for everyone” and that Christians must do everything they can to “break the cycle of violence”.
He said believers should become less focused on their own affairs and “rights” and become bearers of peace.
He then addressed those who “call themselves Christians” but engage in violence.
“The Lord is telling you: ‘Lay down your arms, embrace mercy’,” Francis said.
Today, Francis will have separate meetings with young people, catechists, clergy and bishops, and on Friday departs for South Sudan.
Christians must ‘break the cycle of violence’, Francis tells Congo (By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet)