Pope: appeal for the Democratic Republic of Congo (full text)

2012-09-30 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI appealed for peace in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered to pray the Angelus with him at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father deplored the violence that flared again recently in the DRC between a rebel group and irregular militia forces seeking to establish control over an already much-contested area during a lull in activity by regular government forces. This latest round of fighting has driven thousands of people from their homes since the middle of September. “With affection and concern,” said Pope Benedict, “I follow the developments in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Listen:

Intermittent fighting involving regular government forces, rebels and militia groups experienced a serious flare-up between April and July, during which nearly a quarter-million people were displaced internally and as many as 60 thousand others fled into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda – a refugee crisis that UN agencies say will require at least $40 million in supplementary emergency funding.

The Holy Father expressed prayerful spiritual closeness to the refugees, many of whom are women and children, and to all those affected by the violence. He prayed that, by God’s grace, there might be found peaceful means of dialogue, effective protection of innocents, and a return – as soon as possible – to a peace based on justice. The Pope also called for the restoration of brotherly concord throughout the whole people of the DRC and throughout the entire region.

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Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s appeal for peace in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo:

I follow with affection and concern the affairs of the people in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, object, in these days of attention from a high-level meeting at the United Nations. I am particularly close to the refugees, to the women and children, who because of persistent armed clashes, undergo suffering, violence and profound hardship. I pray to God: that there be found peaceful means of dialogue and for the protection of innocents; that peace based on justice return as swiftly as possible; for the restoration of fraternal coexistence within that sorely tried population, and throughout the entire region.