09/05/2019, 15.00
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Pope in Mozambique: building peace, a "fragile flower" that requires hard work

The first appointments of Francis in Mozambique are with civil authorities and youth. "The world is destroyed by enmity. And the greatest enmity is war. Nowadays we see that the world is being destroyed by war. Because they are unable to sit and talk ”.

Maputo (AsiaNews) - Building peace through reconciliation, "reaching out" to the other: This is the message that Pope Francis addressed today to Mozambique, a country that, less than a month ago, on August 6, reached a peace agreement that ended 40 years of armed conflict that cost at least one million deaths.

Arriving yesterday in Maputo, the Pope dedicated the first appointments of his 31st pastoral journey to authorities and young people.

First of all, the courtesy visit to the President of the Republic, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, at the Ponta Vermelha palace, in the Indias Hall, after which Francis met the political and civil authorities, including the leaders of the opposition parties and the diplomatic corps.

"You - his words - have experienced suffering, sorrow and affliction, but you have refused to let human relationships be governed by vengeance or repression, or to allow hatred and violence to have the final word" .

"In the course of these years, you have come to realize how the pursuit of lasting peace – a mission incumbent upon all – calls for strenuous, constant and unremitting effort, for peace is “like a delicate flower, struggling to blossom on the stony ground of violence” (Message for the 2019 World Day of Peace). As a result, it demands that we continue, with determination but without fanaticism, with courage but without exaltation, with tenacity but in an intelligent way, to promote peace and reconciliation, not the violence that brings only destruction “.

"Many of you - he underlined in the subsequent interreligious meeting with the young - were born under the sign of peace, a troubled peace that has gone through different moments: some more serene and others of trial. Peace is a process that you too are called to carry on, always spreading your hands above all to those who pass through difficult moments. Great is the power of the outstretched hand and of friendship translated into concrete gestures! I think of the suffering of those young people full of dreams who came to look for work in the city, and today they find themselves homeless, without a family and without a helping hand. How important it is to learn to be a helping hand! Try to grow in friendship even with those who think differently, so that solidarity grows among you and becomes the best weapon to transform history".

And again, answering the question: "what to do for the future of the country?" He said: "Just like you are doing now, remaining united, beyond anything that can differentiate you, always looking for the opportunity to realize the dreams of a better country, but ... together. How important it is not to forget that "social enmity destroys. And a family is destroyed by enmity. A country is destroyed by enmity. The world is destroyed by enmity. And the greatest enmity is war. Nowadays we see that the world is being destroyed by war. Because they are unable to sit and talk. Be able to create social friendship. It is not easy, we must always give up something, we must negotiate, but if we do it thinking of the good of all we will be able to realize the magnificent experience of putting aside the differences to fight together for a common purpose. If we can find points of coincidence in the midst of so many differences, in this hard and sometimes tiring commitment to build bridges, to build a peace that is good for everyone, this is the miracle of the culture of encounter."

To politicians, first, he recalled that " As we know, peace is not merely absence of war but a tireless commitment – especially on the part of those of us charged with greater responsibility – to recognize, protect and concretely restore the dignity, so often overlooked or ignored, of our brothers and sisters, so that they can see themselves as the principal protagonists of the destiny of their nation. Nor can we neglect the fact that “without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility" .

But peace, Francis warned, needs to be built thanks to the unity of culture and the defense of the "common home". " or this reason the path to be taken must be one that favours and is fully imbued with a culture of encounter: acknowledging others, creating bonds and building bridges. In this regard, it is essential to cherish memory as a path opening up towards the future, as a journey leading to the attainment of common goals, shared values and ideas that can help to overcome narrow corporative or partisan interests. In this way, the true wealth of your nation can be found in the service of others, especially the poor".

"Peace invites us also to look to the earth, our common home. From this standpoint, Mozambique is a nation greatly blessed, and you have a special responsibility to care for this blessing. The protection of the land is also the protection of life, which demands particular attention whenever we see a tendency towards pillaging and exfoliation driven by a greed generally not cultivated even by the inhabitants of these lands, nor motivated by the common good of your people. A culture of peace implies a productive, sustainable and inclusive development, where all Mozambicans can feel that this land is theirs, where they can establish relations of fraternity and equity with their neighbours and all their surroundings".

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