On the second leg of his 3-nation Apostolic Journey, Pope Francis delivers his first speech in Madagascar to authorities, representatives of the civil society, and the diplomatic corps, and invites them to promote solidarity and mutual sharing among all who live in the country.
He made the call in his first speech on Madagascan soil at the presidential palace in the capital, Antananarivo, when he addressed the country’s authorities, representatives of the civil society and the diplomatic corps.
Speaking in Italian, he pledged the collaboration of the country’s Catholic Church with other Christian confessions, various religions, and all sectors of civil society in this task.
He began by commending the principle of “fihavanana”, a Malagasy word in the Preamble to the Constitution, which “evokes the spirit of sharing, mutual help and solidarity” and the “importance of family, friendship and goodwill between people and with nature”. Saying that fihavanana reveals the “soul” of the Malagasy people, he urged that it be recognized, esteemed, and appreciated.
Speaking of politics, the Pope said it is a challenge for politicians to use their office and responsibility to serve and protect their fellow citizens, particularly the most vulnerable. In this regard, Pope Saint Paul VI rightly said that the development of a nation “cannot be restricted to economic growth alone”.
“To be authentic, it must be integral; it must foster the development of each person and of the whole person,” he said.
Corruption, inequality, exclusion
Pope Francis thus encouraged all to “fight with strength and determination against all endemic forms of corruption and speculation that increase social disparity, and to confront the situations of great instability and exclusion that always create conditions of inhumane poverty”.
He called for Madagascar’s civil authorities to guarantee a just division of income and an integral development of all, particularly the poorest.