Pope Francis: Next Stop, Trujillo

Pope Francis arrives at the Government Palace, greeted by President Kuczynski and the first lady, Nancy Lange. In the background, members of Congress and the government. Source: Andina

Pope Francis visited the Government Palace in Lima Friday afternoon, emphasizing many of the issues he addressed earlier in the day when he was in Puerto Maldonado, in the Madre de Dios region.

The pope said his motto for his Peru visit was “united for hope.”

“Let me tell you that seeing this land is motive itself for hope. Part of your territory is comprised by Amazonia, which I visited this morning and which in its entirety constitutes the greatest tropical forest and most extensive river system on the planet.”

At the Puerto Maldonado coliseum, the pope called on the world to stop looking at the Amazon as a “pantry with unlimited resources.”

Photo Source: RPP

Addressing members of indigenous communities from throughout the Amazon, he said that as the guardians of the huge biodiversity of the rainforest, they need to also ensure the preservation of their own cultural diversity, wisdom and languages.   He reminded them that Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo, at the Lima Council in 1582-1583, had the catechism translated into Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages.

The pope also spoke strongly against the human trafficking, violence and environmental destruction of the illegal gold mining industry, but also warned against the destruction of people’s way of life and property by legal commercial use of the rainforest —oil production, logging and monocrops.

Photo Source: RPP

“When we come here…. we need to learn from you” how to benefit from the rainforest without causing its destruction.

Quoting a biblical text from Exodus, God speaking to Moses, he said people coming to the Amazon need to “take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

During lunch and meetings with local officials, the Pope was given a copy of the Madre de Dios Pact for Environmental Justice, a recent agreement by the judiciary, government and private institutions as a framework for environmental protection of the rainforest.

Photo Source: RPP

Pope Francis’ second encyclical, Laudato Si, addresses global warming and calls on the need to protect the environment of the Earth, “our common home.”  According to the Vatican, he was greatly influenced by German theologian Romano Guardini, whose writings in the 1920s reflected on the need to interact non-invasively with nature and not regard knowledge as a power to control the natural environment.

After the meeting at the Palace, Pope Francis held a private meeting with members of his own religious order, the Company of Jesus or Jesuits, at the San Pedro church.

He is scheduled to travel early Saturday to Trujillo, before returning to Lima for a mass to be held at the Las Palmas air force base, where close to a million people are expected.


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One Comment

  1. Jose A. Guerrero says:

    I am a Catholic native Peruvian and 67 years ago I entered the US to study engineering in an American University. In New York a young Protestant American family invited me to speak briefly during their Sunday Church Service. They asked me to express my opinion about the Christian churches’ evangelical work in the Amazon forest. I told them I welcomed their good intentions but I told them it was imperative to respect the Amazonian non-contaminated practices and culture. No good to provide modern medicines while introducing syphilis, tuberculosis, zika, aids, deforestation, exploitation, etc. Pope Francis perhaps is 67 years too late.

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