Pope Francis was in three African countries between September 4 and 10: Mozambique, Madagascar, and Mauritius. In a conversation with journalists last Wednesday (11), the Pope took stock of the trip. Among other issues, the Catholic leader spoke about the challenges encountered in these countries, the importance of environmental protection and hope for youth.
“Africa is a young continent, it has a young life compared to Europe,” the Pope said, referring to African youth. “You have the challenge of educating these young people and making laws for them. Education at the moment is a priority in your country ”, he added, referring to Mozambique when answering the question of a journalist from the country.
“The state must take care of the family, the youth. And it is the state’s duty to carry them forward. So, I repeat, for a family to have a child is a treasure. And you have this awareness, you have the awareness of the treasure, ”he said as he answered a question from a Madagascar journalist. “One thing about the children that impressed me in all three countries is that people hailed me. There were also young children who also saluted, were very happy, ”he added.
Globalization and Xenophobia
Francisco spoke about the challenges of globalization. “Today there are no geographical settlements – at least not so many. But there are ideological colonizations that want to enter the culture of peoples and transform that culture and homogenize humanity. ” He concluded: “We must respect the identity of the peoples, this is a premise that must always be defended. Thus we expel all colonizations. ”
The Holy Father also commented on xenophobia. “I read in the papers about this xenophobia, but it’s not just a problem in Africa. It is a human disease, like measles. It is a disease that enters a country, enters a continent, and we put up walls. But the walls leave alone those who build them. Yes, they leave out a lot of people. But those who remain within the walls will be left alone and at the end of history defeated by major invasions. ”He pointed to their risks and situation in Africa. “We have to fight this: whether it is xenophobia from one country to another, or internal xenophobia, which, in the case of some places in Africa and tribalism, leads to a tragedy like Rwanda.”
In speaking about sustainability, the Pope compared environmental exploitation with corruption.
“There is a motto in the collective unconscious: Africa must be explored. We never thought: Europe must be explored. We must free humanity from this collective unconscious. The strongest point of exploitation is in the environment, with deforestation, the destruction of biodiversity, “he argues…“There is a word I must say that underpins environmental exploitation. And the ugly word, ugly is corruption.
Francisco recalled that caring for the seas and oceans is in his prayer intentions for September. “Then there are the big lungs in the Central African Republic, across the Pan-Amazon region,” he said. “These are small lungs of the same kind. We need to defend ecology, biodiversity, which is our life, defend oxygen, which is our life, ”said the Pope.
Journeys from Mozambique, to Madagascar, and Mauritius
Pope Francis began his trip through Mozambique. He celebrated a mass at the Zimpeto National Stadium. “Today, Mozambique is identified with a long peace process that had its ups and downs, but in the end, they managed to conclude it with a historic hug. I hope this continues and I pray for it,” he praises.
In Madagascar, the Catholic leader criticized “certain practices that lead to the culture of privilege and exclusion” and celebrated a mass for over 1 million people.
The Holy Father ended his travels in Mauritius where he said a mass for 100,000 people. Francisco referred to an archipelago claimed by the United Kingdom and Mauritius as Chagos, rather than its British name. This has given hope to residents of Mauritius who want the return of the archipelago from the UK.