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Pope to survivors of violence in Congo: “Your tears are my tears; your pain is my pain”

The Pope's meeting with survivors, victims of the violence in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto/Vatican News)

Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the survivors from the war-torn eastern part of DR Congo during the meeting with them in Kinshasa on Wednesday.

The Pope told them, “I am close to you: your tears are my tears; your pain is my pain.”

Pope Francis met with the survivors from the war-torn eastern part of DR Congo and heard their traumatic stories of violence, mass killings and mutilation, kidnapping and lost family, serial rape and sexual slavery, and displaced people living in congested, filthy refugee camps.

Pope Francis assured them, “To every family that grieves or is displaced by the burning of villages and other war crimes, to the survivors of sexual violence and to every injured child and adult, I say: I am with you; I want to bring you God’s caress.”

Although Pope Francis wanted to visit the east, security problems prevented it.

He condemned, “the armed violence, the massacres, the rapes, the destruction and occupation of villages, the looting of fields and cattle... as well as the murderous, illegal exploitation of the wealth of this country, and the attempts to fragment the country in order to control.”

The Pope stated, “We continue to be shocked to hear of the inhumane violence that you have seen with your eyes and personally experienced. We are left without words. We can only weep in silence.”

Pope Francis appealed to those that are fomenting war in DR Congo to listen to the cry of their blood, open the ears to the voice of God and put away their weapons, put an end to war.

“Enough! Stop getting rich at the cost of the poor, stop getting rich from resources and money stained with blood!” the Pope insisted.

He proposed two ways of saying ‘No’ to violence and resignation and two ways of saying ‘Yes’ to reconciliation and hope in order to promote peace.

They must say “no to violence, always and everywhere,” without exception, including the elimination of the roots of violence such as “greed, envy, and above all, resentment.”

He encouraged all to say ‘no’ to the resignation by not giving up but building a better future.

“Even in the East, peace is possible! Let us believe this! And let us work for it, without delegating it to others,” The pope affirmed.

Pope Francis pointed out “saying yes to reconciliation,”  “forgiving one another" and "rejecting war" as means of resolving differences.

The Pope emphasized “patiently sowing peace day after day.” - With inputs from Vatican News


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