Historical Pilgrimage to Africa: Giving Life for Peace: What Francis Demands

A signal, a beacon, historical and touching: the Pope’s pilgrimage for peace in Congo and South Sudan. This is where Francis comes to himself.

The trip is a signal for the entire continent; is a beacon that Africa should not be forgotten in all the turmoil of war elsewhere. Historically, too, because Francis received ecumenical support. And it was touching for everyone how the victims of the violence reported on their tortures.

No wonder the pope then asked more of his church than wringing his hands in prayer. Now, after the death of Benedict XVI, the strict guardian of the faith, he sets his signs of the times. And how!

A touch of Ernesto Cardinal, the liberation theologian

There is a whiff of Ernesto Cardenal, the Latin American Jesuit and liberation theologian, wafting about Francis, the South American Jesuit. He warns bishops and church workers in South Sudan to stand up for fundamental rights and even makes it an obligation: Because of the suffering, the church cannot remain neutral.

Injustice, abuse of power, oppression, violence, exploitation, greed. The Pope denounced everything without hesitation. And calls for the Catholics to fight against it, risking their lives: it requires “courageous and generous souls who can suffer and die for Africa”.

As if he had a synodal path in mind, he also called for ministers to work together with lay people. This was matched by the ecumenical sign that Francis came together with the Anglican Primate Justin Welby and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

Stephan Andreas Casdorff is the publisher of the Tagesspiegel. For him church is more than a word.

In Congo, as in South Sudan, the churches, especially the Catholic one, still have influence. The Catholic forms a counterweight to power in the Congo. South Sudan will not forget how the Pope kissed the feet of the President and his rival in the Vatican in 2019 to persuade them to continue the peace process.

Finally, with the visit, there is really new movement. What is urgently needed: The hunger crisis in South Sudan is one of the worst in the world, two million people are internally displaced there, 2.3 million have fled to neighboring countries.

Francis put this topic on the agenda with his trip: “economic colonialism”, which, among other things, plunders the Congo. “Leave your hands off Africa! Stop oppressing the continent.” May the Pope’s journey become his mission. .

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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