As the death toll from political protests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is growing, Pope Francis is asking people to listen to their consciences and give priority to the common good.
More than two dozen people have been killed since Monday night, as protests have turned violent.
President Joseph Kabila’s second five-year term in office expired on Monday night, but he has yet to officially step down. His supporters say that he must remain in power until conditions are suitable for an election in 2018. Opponents fear that Kibala plans to extend his 15-year rule.
Pope Francis today after the catechesis of the general audience made a plea for an end to the sufferings of the people.
“In the light of my recent meeting with the president and vice-president of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I once more make a heartfelt appeal to all Congolese that, in this delicate moment in their story, they be artisans of reconciliation and peace,” he said. “May those with political responsibility listen to the voice of their conscience, may they be able to see the cruel sufferings of their compatriots, and have the common good at heart. In assuring my support and my affection to the beloved people of the country, I invite all to let themselves be guided by the light of the Redeemer of the world, and pray that the Nativity of the Lord open up pathways of hope.”
About half of the population of the DRC is Catholic.