Bogotá, Colombia, Sep 7, 2017 / 07:46 am
In the first formal speech of his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis on Thursday told government authorities that the key to eliminating conflict is to recognize the dignity of all people, especially the poor and marginalized.
“I ask you, please, to listen to the poor, to those who suffer. Look them in the eye and let yourselves be continually questioned by their faces racked with pain and by their pleading hands. From them we learn true lessons about life, humanity and dignity,” the Pope said Sept. 7.
He explained that the Church, “faithful to her mission” and “committed to peace, justice and the good of all,” knows that the principles of the Gospel “are a significant dimension of the social fabric of Colombia, and thus can contribute greatly to the growth of the country.”
“Particularly, sacrosanct respect for human life, above all for the weakest and most defenseless, is a cornerstone in the formation of a society free from violence.”
Pope Francis met with political and religious authorities, the diplomatic corps, entrepreneurs, and representatives of civil society and culture at the Plaza de Armas of the “Casa de Nariño” in Bogota on the first full day of his Sept. 6-11 trip to Colombia.
His trip follows apostolic visits by two of his predecessors, Bl. Paul VI and St. John Paul II. “Like them,” he said, “I am moved by the desire to share with my Colombian brothers and sisters the gift of faith, which put down its roots so strongly in these lands, and the hope which beats in the hearts of everyone.”
“Only in this way, by means of faith and hope, can we overcome the numerous difficulties encountered along the way, to build a country that is a motherland and a home to all Colombians.”
He said the work of creating and shaping society must include all people, encouraging authorities to look in particular to those who are excluded and marginalized by society, because “Colombia needs the participation of all so as to face the future with hope.”