State House in Nairobi, Kenya
- Wednesday, 25 November 2015 -
Terrorism and violence feed on poverty and fear.
With these 21 canon salvos, Pope Francis was welcomed to the State House in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta's official residence.
Afterward, the Pope planted a tree in the presidential complex. He followed a Kenyan custom, in which children plant trees to signify hope in the future.
The Kenyan president spoke before Pope Francis and discussed the many challenges his country faces.
President of Kenya
"Your Holiness, like you, as a nation we want to combat the vices of corruption, which sacrifices people and our environment in the pursuit of illegal profit. Indeed, it misdirects resources, sows hatred, and divides our people.”
Speaking before the country's top political leaders and diplomats, the Pope delivered a speech focused on ecology and social inequality.
He praised the natural beauty of Kenya and asked for Kenyans to be sensible and responsible in the face of the grave environmental crisis the entire world is facing.
"In a world which continues to exploit rather than protect our common home, they must inspire the efforts of national leaders to promote responsible models of economic development.”
In the face of division and injustice, the Pope explained, all people are called to seek out reconciliation, peace, and healing.
"Experience shows that violence, conflict and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration.”
With that in mind, he invited politicians to work tirelessly to preserve the values that sustain democracy. He told them they must truly practice a vocation of service to all of the Kenyan public, with integrity and transparency.
"I ask you in particular to show genuine concern for the needs of the poor, the aspirations of the young, and a just distribution of the natural and human resources with which the Creator has blessed your country.”
Pope Francis again thanked them for the warm welcome. He said God bless Kenya in Swahili, and the crowd went wild.
"God bless Kenya!”
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