Home » Pope Francis to foreign powers: ‘Stop choking Africa!’

Pope Francis to foreign powers: ‘Stop choking Africa!’

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Pope Francis

Pope Francis is continuing his historic tour of Africa, having now made stops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Madagascar.

During his visit to DRC, he met with President Felix Tshisekedi and members of the Catholic community, where he spoke on the continuing conflict in the country and the role of the church in promoting peace and stability.

In a moving address at Kinshasa’s Notre-Dame Cathedral, Pope Francis stated: “The Democratic Republic of Congo has been bled dry by decades of conflict.”

He called for peace and reconciliation among the country’s ethnic groups and underscored the importance of respecting human rights, particularly the rights of women and children, who have often been victims of violence in the conflict.

Pope Francis also met with representatives from civil society, including women’s groups and youth organizations, to discuss their role in promoting peace and development. He encouraged them to be “prophets of peace” and to use their voices to advocate for the marginalized and oppressed.

The pope also demanded an end to the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources by foreign powers, calling it the “poison of their own greed.”

Upon his arrival to the the country, he received a raucous welcome from the grateful Congolese people, grateful that he was shining a light on their plight.

Pope Francis spoke out against centuries of exploitation of Africa by colonial powers, today’s multinational extraction industries, and neighboring countries that have interfered in DRC’s affairs, leading to a surge in fighting in the east.

“Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa!,” Pope Francis said during his opening speech to Congolese government authorities and the diplomatic corps in the garden of Kinshasa’s national palace.

He called DRC’s vast mineral and natural wealth a “diamond of creation” and demanded that foreign interests stop carving up the country for their own interests. He also acknowledged the role of foreign interests in the economic “enslavement” of the Congolese people and called for an end to it, stating: “Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered.”

Meanwhile, the pope’s visit to Madagascar shed light on the future of the Catholic Church on the African continent. He spoke on the importance of preserving traditional African cultural practices and incorporating them into the Church’s teachings and practices. The Pope emphasized that the Church must be inclusive and respect the cultural diversity of its African members.

Pope Francis’ African tour has received wide media coverage and is seen by many as a pivotal moment for the Catholic Church in Africa.

As the largest religious organization continues to grow on the continent, Pope Francis’ messages of peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness will likely play a significant role in shaping its future.

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