Pope Francis greeting indigenous peoples participating a forum in Rome Pope Francis greeting indigenous peoples participating a forum in Rome 

Pope: Indigenous Peoples, living cry of hope for our common home

Pope Francis meets with a group of 38 delegates from 31 indigenous populations who are attending the 4th Fourth Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples Forum. The Forum is taking place in conjunction with the 42nd Governing Council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

By Lydia O'Kane

Speaking in Rome on Thursday, Pope Francis focused on the theme of the Indigenous Peoples Forum which is “Promoting Indigenous Peoples Knowledge and Innovations for Climate Resilience and Sustainable Development.” Highlighting the extreme importance of environmental issues, the Pope said that the Forum was an invitation to, “look again at our planet, wounded in many regions by human greed, by war conflicts that generate a flood of evils and misfortunes, as well as by natural disasters that leave scarcity and devastation in their wake.”

Joining forces for a better world

Pope Francis underlined that these scourges cannot continue to be ignored by indifference and a lack of unity. On the contrary, he said, “only a strong sense of fraternity will strengthen our resolve to help those in need today and open the door of tomorrow to the generations that come after us.” God created the earth for the benefit of all, emphasized the Pontiff, “so that it would be a welcoming space in which no one would feel excluded and all of us could find a home.”

Indigenous Peoples, living cry of hope

Indigenous Peoples, he said, with their "variety of languages, cultures, traditions, knowledge and ancestral methods", should “become for all a wake-up call, which highlights the fact that man is not the owner of nature, but the one who manages it.”

These peoples, the Pope noted, “are a living cry of hope. “They know what it is to listen to the earth, to see the earth, to touch the earth.” They remind us that we human beings have a shared responsibility to care for our "common home". “And if certain decisions taken so far have ruined it”, he said, “ it is never too late to learn lessons and acquire a new way of life.”

By engaging in generous dialogue and by joining forces, Pope Francis concluded, “we will end up becoming more aware of the fact that we need each other,” and be able to highlight the fact that “harmful behaviour affecting the environment around us also has a negative impact on the serenity and fluidity of coexistence; that indigenous people cannot continue to suffer injustice and that young people have a right to a better world than ours and expect coherent and convincing responses from us.”

Let us never forget the saying of our grandparents, recalled the Pope, "God always forgives, men sometimes forgive, nature never forgives".

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14 February 2019, 13:49