03/23/2009, 00.00
VATICAN – AFRICA
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Solidarity among generations, nations and continents is the first challenge, says Pope

Upon his departure from Africa Benedict XVI calls on the continent’s leaders to take care of those who “suffer for lack of food, work, shelter or other fundamental goods.” May violence “never prevail over dialogue, nor fear and discouragement over trust, nor rancour over fraternal love.”
Luanda (AsiaNews) – Solidarity is the “first challenge to overcome”, that is solidarity among generations, nations and continents, “which should lead to an ever more equitable sharing of the earth’s resources among all people.” Solidarity, reconciliation and peace with special thoughts for refugees are the rallying cry Benedict XVI leaves in Angola, Africa and the world as he prepared to conclude his first trip to Africa this morning.

A lot of people stood in front of the nunciature, the Pope’s home since Friday when he arrived from Cameroon; a lot of people lined the road that led to Luanda’s ‘4 de Fevereiro’ Airport where the Pope left; and a lot of people also waited outside the air terminal.

Here Benedict XVI made “one last appeal”. “I would ask that the just realization of the fundamental aspirations of the most needy peoples should be the principal concern of those in public office, since their intention—I am sure—is to carry out the mission they have received not for themselves but for the sake of the common good. Our hearts cannot find peace while there are still brothers and sisters who suffer for lack of food, work, shelter or other fundamental goods. If we are to offer a definite response to these fellow human beings, the first challenge to be overcome is that of building solidarity: solidarity between generations, solidarity between nations and between continents, which should lead to an ever more equitable sharing of the earth’s resources among all people.”

The farewell ceremony was very low key. The Pope made his way through two rows of boy and girl scouts, almost like a tribute to the two scouts who died last Friday at Dos Coqueiros Stadium, crushed by the crowd. Indeed President José Eduardo dos Santos referred to them in his speech in which he thanked Benedict XVI for the solidarity he showed on that occasion.

The Pope thanked all those who made his visit a success. He thanked God that the Church he found is so alive and “and full of enthusiasm, despite the difficulties, able to take up its own cross and that of others, bearing witness before everyone to the saving power of the Gospel message. She continues to proclaim that the time of hope has come, and she is committed to bringing peace and promoting the exercise of fraternal charity in a way that is acceptable to all, respecting the ideas and sensitivities of each person.”

“I ask God to grant his protection and assistance to the countless refugees who have fled their country, and are now at large, waiting to be able to return home. The God of Heaven says to them once again: “Even if a woman should forget the child at her breast, yet I will not forget you’ (Is, 49:15). God loves you like sons and daughters; he watches over your days and your nights, your labours and your aspirations.”

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, friends from Africa, dear Angolans, take heart! Never tire of promoting peace, making gestures of forgiveness and working for national reconciliation, so that violence may never prevail over dialogue, nor fear and discouragement over trust, nor rancour over fraternal love. This is all possible if you recognize one another as children of the same Father, the one Father in Heaven.”

For the whole of Africa, the rendezvous is in Rome, for the 2nd Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops dedicated to the continent.

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