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Pope in Mozambique: address to authorities, “peace is not merely absence of war”, no one should feel “abandoned”, especially the young

“Peace is not merely absence of war but a tireless commitment – especially on the part of those of us charged with greater responsibility – to recognize, protect and concretely restore the dignity, so often overlooked or ignored, of our brothers and sisters, so that they can see themselves as the principal protagonists of the destiny of their nation”. Pope Francis reiterated this in his first speech in the African territory, filled with references to the troubled history of Mozambique, as he addressed the authorities in Maputo. “In the course of these years, you have come to realize how the pursuit of lasting peace – a mission incumbent upon all – calls for strenuous, constant and unremitting effort, for peace is ‘like a delicate flower, struggling to blossom on the stony ground of violence’”, Pope Francis said, adding that we should “continue, with determination but without fanaticism, with courage but without exaltation, with tenacity but in an intelligent way, to promote peace and reconciliation, not the violence that brings only destruction”. “Without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode”, he warned, citing from Evangelii Gaudium: “When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquillity”. “Peace has made possible the development of Mozambique in a number of areas”, the Pope recalled, calling “promising” the advances that “have been made in the fields of education and health care”. “I encourage you to continue your efforts to build up the structures and institutions needed to ensure that no one feels abandoned, especially the young who make up so great a part of your country’s population”, he exhorted. “They are not only the hope of this land; they are also its present, a present that challenges, seeks out and needs to find worthy channels that can allow them to make good use of all of their talents. They have the potential to sow the seeds for the growth of that social harmony desired by all”.

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