Returning to the weekly public audiences at the Vatican, the pope spoke on Wednesday of the “spiritual pilgrimage” he made to Canada from July 24 to 30. Francis renewed the request for forgiveness to indigenous peoples, victims of the policies of forced cultural assimilation in which many Christians have been involved in the past, although they are “unacceptable and contrary to the Gospel”.
The visit had “many moments of joy”, but it was above all a moment of “reflection, repentance and reconciliation”, the pope said, admitting that in the meetings he had, “especially the last “, he felt “the pain”. people “like a slap”. .
“Older people who have lost children and who did not know where they ended up because of this policy of assimilation. It was a very painful moment, but it had to be faced. We have to face our mistakes, our sins,” said Francis, who showed up to this weekly public audience leaning on a cane.
Emphasizing that “the journey with indigenous peoples was the backbone of this apostolic journey”, the Pope also reaffirmed “the active will of the Holy See and local Catholic communities to promote original cultures, with appropriate spiritual paths and with attention to the customs and languages of the peoples”. But he again warned, as he did during his visit, that the “colonizing mentality” is still present through “various forms of ideological colonization”, which threaten “traditions, history and religious ties of peoples, smoothing out differences, concentrating if only in the present, and often neglecting duties towards the weakest and most fragile.
For the pope, it is necessary “to find a healthy balance, a harmony between modernity and ancestral cultures, between secularization and spiritual values”, which “directly challenges the mission of the Church”.
The pope did not use the word ‘genocide’ on Wednesday, but on his trip back to Rome, at the end of his visit to Canada, he admitted that is what happened to the indigenous people of Canada .
Lebanon as a “land of peace and pluralism”
At the end of the general audience, the Pope recalled the explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, which took place on August 4, 2020, killing more than 160 people and injuring thousands.
“Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the explosion. My thoughts go out to the families of the victims of this disastrous event and to the dear Lebanese people. I pray that everyone may be comforted by faith, comforted by justice and truth , which can never be hidden,” the Pope said.
Francis renewed the request that Lebanon, “with the help of the international community, continue on the path of rebirth, remaining faithful to its vocation of being a land of peace and pluralism, where communities of different religions can live in brotherhood”.
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