Pope Francis urged the leaders of Peru to look to the nation’s youth in building the future, while he also warned against corruption and destruction of the environment.
His admonitions came January 19, 2019, in an address to Peruvian authorities and the diplomatic corps. The talk came after a day in which the Holy Father met with indigenous people of the Amazon region and young people in a home for the abandoned.
In speaking to the leaders, Francis stressed the “wealth and variety of cultures” that Peru enjoys. These make up the “soul of this people” and is characterized by the values of “hospitality, esteem for others, respect and gratitude for mother earth and creativity for new initiatives.”
‘In this regard, I would like to point to the young,” the Pope explained. ‘They are the most vital gift that this society possesses. With their dynamism and enthusiasm, they promise, and encourage us to dream of, a hope-filled future, born of the encounter between your lofty ancestral wisdom and the new eyes that youth offers.”
However, the Holy Father warned of the dangers of environmental destruction, in particular, the rain forests of the Amazone. Referring to Laudato Si’, he reminded Peru’s leaders that, “The loss of jungles and forests means not only the loss of species, which could also be extremely important resources for the future but also the loss of vital relationships that could end up altering the entire ecosystem.”
Citing the example of black market mining, the Pope said such practices not only damage the environment but lead to other problems: human trafficking, irregular employment, crime, loss of dignity and corruption. He urged leaders to do everything possible “to combat this social scourge.”
“Being “united in defense of hope” requires a greater culture of transparency among public entities, the private sector, and civil society,” Francis continued. “No one can be excluded from this process. Corruption is preventable and calls for commitment on the part of all.”
Pope Francis concluded: “I encourage and urge all those in positions of authority, in whatever sphere, to insist on this path in order to bring your people and your land the security born of feeling that Peru is a place of hope and opportunity for all, and not just for a few.”