01/24/2018, 13.39
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Pope: unacceptable that people are persecuted because of their faith

Receiving a representation of the Yazidi community in Germany, Francis denounced "unspeakable violations of the fundamental rights of the human person: abductions, slavery, torture, forced conversions, killings" suffered in Syria and Iraq. The memory of his recent trips to Chile and Peru. New appeal for the Congo.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "It is unacceptable that human beings be persecuted and killed because of their religious affiliation! Every person has the right to freely profess his religious beliefs without constraints”, declared Pope Francis today receiving a representation of the Yazidi community in Germany ahead of the general audience in which he recalled the stages of his trip to Chile and Peru.


At the end of the general audience in the Paul VI hall he also launched a new appeal for the Congo. "Unfortunately - his words - Unfortunately, troubling news continues to come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Therefore, I renew my call for everyone to commit to avoiding all forms of violence. For its part, the Church wants nothing more than to contribute to peace and to the common good of society ".

Francis also spoke about the Yazidi community, especially those living in Iraq and Syria. "My solidary and prayers go to the innocent victims of senseless and inhuman barbarism".

"Your history, rich in spirituality and culture, has unfortunately been marked by unspeakable violations of the fundamental rights of the human person: abductions, slavery, torture, forced conversions, killings. Your sanctuaries and places of worship have been destroyed. The most fortunate among you have been able to escape, but leaving everything they had, even their dearest and most sacred things.In many parts of the world, there are still religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians, persecuted because of faith. The Holy See does not tire of intervening to denounce these situations, demanding recognition, protection and respect. At the same time, it exhorts dialogue and reconciliation to heal every wound.

“Faced with the tragedy that is being perpetrated to the detriment of your community, we can understand, as the Gospel says, that from the heart of man, the most obscure forces can come out, able to come to plan the annihilation of the brother, to consider him an enemy , an adversary, or even an individual without the same human dignity.Once again I raise my voice in favor of Yazidi rights, above all the right to exist as a religious community: no one can attribute the power to cancel a religious group because it is not part of those ‘tolerated.’”

“I also think of the members of your community who are still in the hands of terrorists: I sincerely hope that everything possible will be done to save them; as well as to find the missing and to identity and give worthy burial to those killed. The international community cannot remain silent in the face of your drama. I therefore encourage institutions and people of good will belonging to other communities, to contribute to the reconstruction of your houses and places of worship.  One cannot neglect efforts are made to create the right conditions for the return of refugees to their homes and to preserve the identity of the Yazidi community".

With the 15 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square for the general audience, Francis retraced the stages of the journey he has just completed. "My arrival in Chile - he said, among other things - had been preceded by several protests, for various reasons. And this made the motto of my visit even more current and alive: "Mi paz os doy - I give you my peace". These are the words of Jesus addressed to the disciples, which we repeat in every Mass: the gift of peace, which only Jesus dead and risen can give to those who entrust themselves to Him. In the encounter with the political and civil Authorities of the country I encouraged the journey of Chilean democracy, as a meeting space for solidarity and capable of including diversity; for this purpose I indicated as a method the way of listening: in particular listening to the poor, the young and the elderly, the immigrants, and also listening to the earth".

"With the priests and consecrated persons and with the Bishops of Chile, I experienced two very intense meetings, made even more fruitful by the shared suffering of some wounds afflicting the Church in that country. In particular, I confirmed my brothers in rejecting any compromise with sexual abuse on minors, and at the same time in trusting God, who through this harsh trial purifies and renews his ministers ".

Recalling then the visit to the women's prison in Santiago he affirmed the need to provide for the reintegration of prisoners, "as a horizon that gives meaning to daily punishment".

The Mass celebrated in Araucanía, "the land where the Mapuche Indians live, transformed the dramas and hardships of this people into joy, launching an appeal for a peace that is harmony of diversity and for the repudiation of all violence". The one in Iquique "was a hymn to the meeting between peoples, which expresses itself singularly in popular religiosity".

"In Peru the motto of the Visit was:" Unidos por la esperanza - United by hope ". United not in a sterile uniformity, but in all the richness of the differences we inherit from history and culture. The meeting with the peoples of the Peruvian Amazon was emblematic witness to this, which also gave rise to the itinerary of the Pan-Amazon Synod convened for October 2019, as also witnessed by the moments lived with the people of Puerto Maldonado and with the children of the Home ‘The little Prince’. Together we said 'no' to economic and ideological colonization ".

"Speaking to the political and civil authorities of Peru, I appreciated the environmental, cultural and spiritual heritage of that country, and I focused on the two realities that most seriously threaten it: ecological and social degradation and corruption". Corruption, he added off the cuff, that "also exists here", "is more dangerous than the flu" and we must say no to it.

"The first public Mass in Peru I celebrated on the shore of the ocean, near the city of Trujillo, where the storm called 'Niño costiero' last year hit the population hard. So I encouraged the people of the city to react to this but also to other storms such such as the underworld, the lack of education, work and safe housing. In Trujillo I also met the priests and consecrated men of northern Peru, sharing with them the joy of their call and of the mission, and the responsibility of communion in the Church".

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