Addressing the new ambassador to the Holy See from the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, Pope Benedict called for an end to war in the country. He also took the opportunity to invite national reconciliation, especially through the education of children.
As the Congo celebrates its 50th year of independence, Jean-Pierre Hamuli Mupenda presented the Pope with his credentials as the country's new ambassador to the Holy See on Thursday.
Referring to the "particularly difficult and tragic moments" in the country's recent history, the Holy Father stated that in the Congo the Catholic Church, "herself wounded in many of her members and structures," has the desire to contribute to the process of interior healing and fraternity.
Foundations for the implementation of initiatives regarding security, stability and development must be laid, he urged.
"Little by little, the badly-frayed fabric of society must be mended, helping the first natural form of society, which is the family, and consolidating interpersonal relations among Congolese people on the foundation of integral education, which is a source of peace and justice."
The Holy Father went on to invite public authorities to make every effort to end the war that continues to plague certain parts of the country. He them to instead for work towards social reconstruction with due respect for human rights.
"Peace is not just the absence of conflict, it is also a gift and a task that involves obligations for both citizens and the State," he added.
Pope Benedict's invitation was not limited to officials in the country, he also implored the international community, which he noted has been "involved in various degrees in the successive conflicts that have afflicted the Congo, to mobilize and make an effective contribution to reinstating peace and legality."
He repeated the bishops' recent declaration that this 50th year of independence be one of “grace, renewal and joy, a year of reconciliation to rebuild a Congo of solidarity, prosperity and unity."
Proposing education of the nation's youth as a solution to that effect, the Holy Father observed that the process must include inculcation "not only with knowledge that will be useful in adult life, but also with solid moral and spiritual bases that will help them to reject the temptation to violence and resentment, and to chose justice and truth instead."
He finished his remarks by expressing the Church's dedication to contributing to the government's commitment to education, lamenting the abuse of resources for the profit of some in spite of the poverty of others and hoping that a State-sponsored system of justice will help establish peace in the region.