By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis has appealed to authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to do everything in their power to avoid all forms of violence.
"I ask the authorities and those responsible and all those in this beloved country that they use maximum commitment and effort to avoid all forms of violence and look for solutions in favor of the common good," he said.
His comments came ahead of the Angelus prayer in the Peruvian capital of Lima on Sunday.
Police in Congo used tear gas and gunfire to disperse thousands of demonstrators on the same day, killing at least 5 people and injured dozens more. The country's Catholic Church had called for peaceful protests, but the government banned the marches.
Speaking ahead of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis also invited the people of Peru to have courage and to follow the many saintly examples the Church of their country offers them.
He said life’s many difficulties can leave them discouraged. But the Holy Father told them to look to their Saints, like Martin de Porres, Rose of Lima, and many others.
He said their example shows that God loves us just as we are, without any kind of falsification or enhancement.
“I know that we all like to see digitally-enhanced photographs, but that only works for pictures; we cannot “photoshop” others, the world, or ourselves.”
The Pope told Peruvians that “the heart can’t be ‘photoshopped’, because that’s where authentic love and genuine happiness have to be found.” Jesus, he said, “loves you as you are, and he has a dream for every one of you.”
Pope Francis said that, even if we get discouraged with ourselves or others, God “never grows discouraged with us.”