The pope’s final event on the second day of his pastoral visit to the Congo will be a meeting with representatives of several Catholic charities in the capital Kinshasa. In his speech, he thanked charity workers for their invaluable work on behalf of the most vulnerable.
(Vatican News Network)Pope Francis received representatives of some Catholic charities at the Holy See’s embassy in Congo on February 1, as the final event of his first day of pastoral visit to the country. The Pope particularly appreciated the work of Congolese charities, saying that their work is like a forest that silently grows and bears fruit amidst the “noise” of constant violence and injustice.
Referring to the work of these benevolent charities, the Pope pointed out that their witness is not simply a list of social problems or poverty statistics, “more importantly, they communicate with the poor in fraternity”, these poor people have names and Living faces, Christians “cannot turn away from them”.
“While too many today do not accept the poor, you embrace them; you encourage them when the world oppresses them. Encouragement is the opposite of oppression: it is a growing forest, even though it is cut down,” said the Pope. And being squandered! I want more people to know about the work you are doing to promote growth and hope in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and across the continent. I am here to give a voice to the voiceless.”
The pope said it was a pity that the media did not report much on the “significant role” and history of “true humanity and the great values of the Christian faith” in Congo and Africa. Through meetings with these charity workers, he will give a “voice” to the many suffering men and women in this country, those who suffer from violence, abuse, discrimination and marginalization.
“Poverty and rejection are an affront to human beings and deprive them of their dignity,” the Pope stressed. “Only by restoring our dignity can we restore our humanity.”
The Pope then encouraged those present, despite the difficulties, to be worthwhile for their hard work, which shows that “expressions of goodwill” and “not to be lulled by rejection or statistics, all”.
“Young people in particular need to see this”, the Pope emphasized: “They need to see faces that overcome indifference and hands that do not wave weapons or misuse money, but reach out to those who are lying on the ground , to restore their dignity, to restore the dignity of the children of God.”
The Pope further stated that while the responsibility for health care and education and for caring for the most vulnerable rests first and foremost with the state, “Christians must not neglect the witness of love and mercy” and must therefore “share what they have with those who lack the basic necessities of life.” We must keep in mind that “the cause of poverty is not the lack of goods and opportunities, but the uneven distribution”.
Quoting the Bible, the Pope said, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
Subsequently, the Pope called for charitable organizations to become more effective forms of witness to Jesus’ love for the poor, and must follow three criteria. The first is to “set a good example”, that is, to be credible and transparent in managing finances, and to show competence; the second criterion is to be “visionary”, not just to meet the immediate needs of the poor, but also to take a long-term view and promote development projects , so that they can be self-sufficient in the future, this is what the DRC and many other local churches around the world are doing through their relief services; the third criterion is that Catholic institutions connect, network and cooperate with each other , and work in partnership with Christian groups, other religious and humanitarian agencies.
Finally, the Pope blessed all the Catholic Charities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and once again thanked them for their valuable work.
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