Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Urbi et Orbi: Pontifex preys for Africa

Africa, in particular South Sudan and the problems of migration to Europe, have been at the heart of Pope Francis’ urbi et orbi message this Christmas 2019.

The situqtion in South Sudan has given rise to a new initiative with the broadcast, on the morning of December 25, of an international appeal notably co-signed by Pope Francis, Justin Welby, leader of the Anglican communion.

“We wish to formulate for you, they write, and for the people of South Sudan, our best wishes for peace and prosperity, by assuring you of our proximity to your efforts for the rapid implementation of the peace agreements”. They also ask that “the way of reconciliation and fraternity” be able to “make possible our desired visit to your dear country”.

Last November 13, Justin Welby and François had publicly expressed their desire to go to South Sudan together in 2020 if the political situation, which should lead to the establishment of a transitional government of national unity, allowed it.

Pontifex expressed closeness to people of Africa who are often forced to migrate because of persistent unjust social and political situations.

“May the Son of God, come down to earth from heaven, protect and sustain all those who, due to these and other injustices, are forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life. It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries. It is injustice that forces them to endure unspeakable forms of abuse, enslavement of every kind and torture in inhumane detention camps. It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference.

In particular Pope Francis mentioned the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “torn by continuing conflicts.”

May the Redeemer, he said, “bring consolation to all who suffer because of violence, natural disasters or outbreaks of disease. And may He bring comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.”

Pope Francis calls to assist migrants

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the VI anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa on July 8, a small Italian island 90 miles off the coast of Tunisia.

Pontifex called for an end to the rhetoric which views migrants as ‘other,’ saying they are human beings and among those Christ has commanded his disciples to love and assist.

“They are persons; these are not mere social or migrant issues!Pope continued “This is not just about migrants,’ in the twofold sense that migrants are first of all human persons, and that they are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society.”

These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary,Pope stated.

“In the spirit of the Beatitudes we are called to comfort them in their affliction and offer them mercy,” he urged, “to sate their hunger and thirst for justice; to let them experience God’s caring fatherliness; to show them the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

At present the numbers of Christians in Africa are at rise, by 2025, one-sixth – 230 million of the world’s Catholics are expected to be Africans. Half of the African population lives in poverty without access to basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, shelter and more.

While Africa is globally the poorest continent, it is also home to the highest birth rate: by 2050, a quarter of the world will be African, with the continent’s population likely to rise from 1.2-billion today to 2.5-billion in 2050.

Pope for aid to migrants in Libya

Pope Francis has appealed for the evacuation of women, children and sick migrants trapped in Libyan detention centers as soon as possible, through humanitarian corridors.

During his Regina Coeli prayer, the Pontiff said the refugees’ situation, “which is already very serious, has become even more dangerous due to the ongoing conflict.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his concern with the conditions of illegal migrants in Libyan detention centers, including those who are sent back after trying to reach Europe by sea. There were also circulating rumors of pro- Fayez Al-Sarraj  militias in Tripoli force the migrants to defend the city, the clams UN-backed government denied.

Pontifex hopes for “dignified life” in Africa

Pope Francis made traditional address “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and the world – from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to believers in the flower-bedecked square below where he earlier celebrated a Mass.

“We invoke on this day fruits of hope for those who yearn for a more dignified life, above all in those areas of the African continent deeply affected by hunger, endemic conflicts and terrorism. May the peace of the risen Lord heal wounds in South Sudan and open hearts to dialogue and mutual understanding. Let us not forget the victims of that conflict, especially the children! May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to abandon leave their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living” – Pontifex said.

The day before, Pontifex baptized a Nigerian beggar who came to public eye for his good deed, helping to catch a thief in Italian streets.