"An economic globalization, whose limitations are increasingly evident, should not lead to cultural uniformity. If we participate in a process respectful of local values and ways of life and of the expectations of citizens, we will ensure that the aid furnished by the international community will not be the sole guarantee of a country's development."
"The people themselves will progressively take charge and become the artisan of their own future. That is why we should show particular attention and respect for local civil society," he added.
Pope Francis told the leaders that the Church will work with authorities in building a more just and civil society, following the example of Blessed Victoire Rasoamanarivo, a Madagascar woman who was beatified by St. John Paul II during his visit to the country in 1989.
Rasoamanarivo converted to Catholicism as a teenager, despite her parents' opposition. While she desired religious life, her parents arranged for her to marry one of her cousins, who was allegedly a drunk and a womanizer.
Though some of her friends encouraged her to divorce him, Rasoamanarivo refused because of her belief in the unbreakable vow of the sacrament of marriage, and instead prayed fervently for her husband's conversion. Her husband reportedly repented and received baptism upon his death, after which Rasoamanarivo devoted her time to prayer and care for the sick and the poor.
"Her witness of love for this land and its traditions, her service to the poor as a sign of her faith in Jesus Christ, show us the path that we too are called to pursue," Francis said of Rasoamanarivo.
"I wish to reaffirm the desire and the readiness of the Catholic Church in Madagascar...to contribute to the dawn of a true fraternity that will always value fihavanana. In this way an integral human development can be fostered, so that no one will be excluded," the pope added.
"With this hope, I ask God to bless Madagascar and those who live here, to keep your lovely island peaceful and welcoming, and to make it prosperous and happy!"