Aide: Pope Gave Africa Message of "Great Hope"

Father Lombardi Comments on Trip to Cameroon and Angola

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Pope left a message of hope for Africa, encouraging its people to be leaders in their own development without compromising values or human dignity, said the Vatican spokesman.



Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed this yesterday on Vatican Radio, shortly after the Papal plane returned to Rome from Angola.
 
Father Lombardi said the welcome was "excellent" in both Cameroon and Angola, and that the Pope "returned very happy and encouraged" from his trip.
 
He reported that Benedict XVI gave Africa "a message of great hope," adding that "despite the strong heat, he went all the way and I think he really succeeded in making his contribution." The priest added, "And he had the joy to see that this was well received and that it will surely yield great fruits."
 
Among the many events of the apostolic visit, the Holy See's spokesman highlighted the Papal messages to young people and to women.
 
He noted: "It seems to me that the meeting with women, very specific of this trip of Benedict XVI, should be especially highlighted. His appreciation of women, in society and in the Church, recognizing her central role in the development of the whole continent, has been a profound and intense intuition."

Integral development
 
In addition, he said, the Pope "addressed the big topics of the African reality today," including "reconciliation, peace, reconstruction, the building of a true democracy and respect for the rights of man."
 
Father Lombardi described how the Pontiff pointed out "the ways for true development and progress, international solidarity, including commercial and political relations that help development, that are inspired by equity, justice and honesty, which do not nourish private interests or corruption."
 
The spokesman stressed that the model of integral development proposed by the Church is "very different from the one proposed by the great political and economic powers." The latter, he said, often emphasize "the elimination of births, including with methods that do not respect human nature, or great economic and financial operations that put in the hands of [government] leaders enormous resources that are then lost in channels of corruption."
 
However, he continued, the Church's vision "is based on very great respect and confidence in the human person, his dignity and possibilities, and calls precisely for appreciation of the person, of his responsibilities and capacities."
 
"It is from here that a just and harmonious society is built," he added, "able to appreciate the natural resources given to it, its traditions and its cultural contribution."
 
Finally, Father Lombardi pointed out that satisfaction over the success of the trip "was mutual."
 
He concluded: "As on other occasions, the Pope said: 'I have come to encourage you and to give you my support in your problems, but I have also been encouraged by your love, your enthusiasm and your trust.' I believe this has happened effectively here, in Africa."