- Congolese Catholic Church calls on international community to help build peace in conflict-torn eastern DR Congo.
- During a visit by Pope Francis, the Vatican’s second most senior official presided over a mass at the Congolese parliament in Kinshasa for Francis.
- The pope cancelled a scheduled visit to the DRC due to knee pain.
The Congolese Catholic Church called on the international community to help build peace in conflict-torn eastern DR Congo on Sunday, During a visit by Pope Francis.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s second most senior official, presided over a mass at the Congolese parliament in Kinshasa for Francis after the pope cancelled a scheduled visit due to knee pain.
Marcel Utembi, president of the Congolese national bishops’ conference, urged the international community to “participate with honesty in promoting peace and reconciliation” in areas of eastern DRC plagued by armed groups.
A video message from Pope Francis, released by the Vatican on Saturday, was played on a giant screen at the start of the mass, attended by the Congolese prime minister, bishops and thousands of worshippers.
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Francis mentioned “the exploitation, violence and insecurity” the DRC suffers, particularly in the east, where “conflicts continue to cause much intense suffering, aggravated by the indifference and the convenience of many”.
Intense fighting has raged between the army and the M23 group since late 2021 in North Kivu province, with Kinshasa accusing neighbouring Rwanda of supporting the rebels.
Francis, 85, suffers chronic arthritis in his knee, according to Vatican sources.
He has cancelled a number of events, including trips to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “at the request of his doctors” in order to avoid jeopardising his treatment.
The pontiff’s visit to the DRC has not been rescheduled. Parolin expressed his desire to “be here with the Pope as soon as possible.”
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