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Pope quotes García Márquez in Cartagena: "This cultural disaster is not remedied with lead or silver"

 During the last meeting of his apostolic voyage, Pope Francis visited Colombia's Human Rights Headquarters in Cartagena de Indias. In his homily, he referred to the parable of the Good Shepherd, explaining that “there is no one too lost to deserve our care, our closeness and our forgiveness.”

Again, the number of Mass attendees exceeded expectations.

“I have heard many testimonies from those who have reached out to people who had harmed them; terrible wounds that I could see in their own bodies; irreparable losses that still bring tears. Yet they have reached out, have taken a first step on a different path to the one already traveled.”

Pope Francis said that there are still deep historical wounds that need justice, and it is the right of the victims to know the truth. 

The pope used a quote from Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez to explain the fragile cultural situation in Colombia.

“This cultural disaster is not remedied with lead or silver, but with an education for peace, built lovingly on the rubble of an angry country where we rise early to continue killing each other.”

Pope Francis continued to denounce the scourge of drugs, devastation of natural resources, illicit money laundering and, above all, human trafficking.

He again used St. Peter Claver, who dedicated his life to helping the slaves, as an example. His relics were present during the Mass, next to those of Sister Maria Bernarda Bütler. 

Pope Francis recalled the trip's motto, and invited everyone present to "take the first step," in order to assure a decisive step on the road to peace. 

POPE FRANCIS “If Colombia wants a stable and lasting peace, it must urgently take a step in this direction, which is that of the common good, of equity, of justice, of respect for human nature and its demands.”

The pope concluded his visit to Colombia by asking the Colombians to construct a future of peace. He explained how this can be done with the words of St. Peter Claver: “speaking not with the tongue but with hands and works.”