- Inés San Martín
- Sep 12, 2019
During a Sept. 4-10 trip to Mozambique and Madagascar which will also see him going to Mauritius on Monday, the “pope of the peripheries” did not have many chances to encounter those in the outskirts of the cities he visited. That changed Sunday in Madagascar.
Father Pedro Opeka told Crux, “We’ve been able to show that poverty is not fate. But you have to believe that. You have to immerse yourself in the middle of them and stay with them.”
An estimated 70 percent of the population of Madagascar suffers from extreme poverty, living on less than $2 a day. Life expectancy is 65, 12 years less than in the United States.
The devil, the pope said Saturday in Madagascar, “also knows our names,” but he prefers to remind people of their sins, to make “us feel that however much we do, nothing can ever change, everything will remain the same.”
“Faith is the greatest treasure of the poor!” the pope told a group of contemplative nuns in Madagascar Saturday, urging them to proclaim the faith to the poor, to help them strengthen that faith, so that they can live in hope.
“Your lovely island of Madagascar is rich in plant and animal biodiversity, yet this treasure is especially threatened by excessive deforestation, from which some profit,” Francis said during a speech to local authorities including president Andry Rajoelina.