Donate now
Pope Francis during his visit at the refugee camp of Saint-Sauveur in Bangui

ANSA - DANIEL DAL ZENNARO

‘Peace Without Tolerance, Forgiveness, Isn’t Possible,’ Pope Tells Refugees in CAR

Visiting St. Sauveur Refugee Camp, Francis Urges Everyone to Repeat ‘We Are All Brothers’

We must work and pray and do everything for peace. The Holy Father gave this exortion when speaking off-the-cuff to the St. Sauveur Refugee Camp in the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, after saying he had read the signs of the children present displaying the words ‘peace,’ ‘forgiveness,’ ‘unity,’ and ‘love.’

Pope Francis arrived in the Central African Republic this morning. His first stop was the courtesy visit to the presidential palace, which he traveled much of the way to in an open popemobile, and was followed by this visit to this camp, which houses nearly 4,000 people displaced by the violence. 

There was speculation that this leg of the visit would be canceled due to security concerns. The Central African Republic, which gained independence from France in 1960, is one of the poorest nations in the world. It has been plagued by ethnic and religious violence over the past two years. Tens of thousands have been forced to flee the country to neighboring nations due to this war between majority Muslim Séléka forces and the majority Christian anti-Balaka. The United Nations has warned that there was high risk of the country descending into genocide.

While it is evident that the security for this leg of Francis’ three-nation Apostolic Visit is far greater than that we’ve seen for other trips,these concerns did not deter the Holy Father from going to the war-plagued nation, nor from visiting this refugee camp and making some strong statements.

“Peace without love, without friendship, without tolerance, without forgiveness, is not possible,” Pope Francis told the refugees, urging, “Each of us has to do something.”
 
The Holy Father expressed his wish that they and all Central Africans experience a great peace among them, “regardless of your ethnicity, culture, religion, social status.”
“But everyone in peace! Everyone! Because we are all brothers.” 
 
Francis then urged everyone to repeat this after him:  “We are all brothers.” [The people repeat: “We are all brothers”] Another time! [“We are all brothers”]. And for this, because we are all brothers, we want peace.”
 
The Holy Father concluded, blessing them and telling them to pray for him. “Pray for me, did you hear? [“Yes!”]
 
Pope Francis has a full agenda ahead of him this afternoon and tomorrow morning, before returning to Rome. Some upcoming events include a meeting with Muslims in a mosque tomorrow and celebrating Mass in Barthelemy Boganda Stadium. A highlight of his visit to the country will be opening the Holy Door of the city’s cathedral before the inauguration of the Jubilee of Mercy, set to begin December 8th in the Vatican.

***

On ZENIT’s Web page

Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-pope-s-off-the-cuff-words-at-car-refugee-camp

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

Share this Entry

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation