Pope Francis on Friday told tens of thousands of faithful at a packed stadium not to resort to “vengeance” as he wound up a visit to Mozambique, ravaged by a 16-year civil war and now the target of jihadist attacks.
His maiden visit to the poor former Portuguese colony came a month after the government and the former rebel group Renamo, now the main opposition party, signed a historic peace treaty.
Brutal jihadist attacks in northern Mozambique have claimed more than 300 lives over two years and forced thousands from their homes.
“We cannot think of the future and build a nation” with violence, the pope said in a homily to a crowd of about 60,000 at the Zimpeto stadium in the Mozambican capital Maputo.
Speaking in Portuguese, he asked them not to follow the old law of retaliation “an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth.
“No family, no group of neighbors or ethnic group and even less no country has a future if the motor that unites them… is composed of vengeance and hatred,” he said.
Denouncing reprisals cloaked under the guise of legality, the pope warned that violence was “an endless spiral without end with a very high cost.
“You have the right to peace!” he said.
Mozambique is a mainly Christian country and 28 percent of the population is Catholic.
Earlier Friday, the pope visited an AIDS care centre on the outskirts of Maputo, hailing the carers for responding to their “silent cry” for help in a country ravaged by the disease.
According to UNAIDS, 2.2 million Mozambicans — 60 percent of them women — were HIV positive in 2018 in the southern African nation of 27 million people.
There were 150,000 new infections last year and 54,000 AIDS-related deaths.
– ‘Restoring dignity’ –
Francis hailed the “compassion” of the health workers for responding to “this silent cry, almost inaudible, of innumerable women and all the people living in shame, marginalized and judged by everybody.
Francis thanked workers at the AIDS centre for “restoring the dignity” of women and children suffering from HIV and AIDS and for “hearing their cries and intervening personally.”
He did not however touch on the delicate subject of prevention — an issue riddled with minefields given the Catholic Church’s stand on contraception — especially in a largely conservative and traditional continent.
Francis is the first pope to visit Mozambique since John Paul II in 1988 and is on a three-nation tour that includes Madagascar and Mauritius.
On Thursday, the pontiff visited a brand new hospital in Zimpeto, a poor outlying district of the capital, where 23 percent of adult residents have been hit by HIV.
– ‘Dream’ –
The complex, inaugurated last year, comprises a state-of-the-art laboratory and hosts a program for HIV-positive and AIDS patients, especially pregnant women.
This program, named “Dream”, was launched in 2002 by the Italian lay Catholic association Sant’Egidio which is very close to the Vatican and is dedicated to social service.
It runs 13 health centers in the country. The “Dream” project is spread across 11 African countries.
Mozambique and Madagascar are among the world’s poorest countries and Francis’ decision to visit is seen by commentators as an act of solidarity from a cleric who was a frequent presence in the shantytowns of Argentina and is now called the “pope of the poor”.
Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady
MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.
"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."
Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.
Watch the video below from MSNBC.
‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case
Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."
She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.
"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."
WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial
President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."
"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."