Pope to Amazon populations: "You are not a no man’s land. Mary was also from an isolated village"
The pope visited the Jorge Basadre Institute in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. There he met with thousands from the Peruvian Amazon, but also from the Andes and other neighboring regions.
Arturo and Margarita explained to the pope some of the problems facing the Amazonian population.
ARTURO AND MARGARITA
"Your visit to our house called Mother of God, which is so forgotten, wounded and marginalized, fills us with joy and revives our hope. We are not a 'no man's land,' as many say and believe. Your presence makes us feel that we are the true land from the true God."
After hearing their testimony, the pope shared this tender hug with them and thanked them for their words. He explained that even Mary came from a remote village, which was also considered "no man's land."
"It is something that needs to be emphasized. You are not a no man’s land. This land has names. It has faces. It has you. FLASH This is not a land of orphans, but a land that has a Mother! And if it has a mother, it has sons and daughters, a family, a community."
The pope denounced the harsh throwaway culture that the indigenous people are currently suffering. He said it is a culture that only thinks about using and then discarding its people.
"There, when I left, I met a 97-year-old grandmother. Are we going to throw the grandmother away? What do you think? No! Because the grandmother is the wisdom of a population. A round of applause for the 97-year-old grandma!”
Pope Francis also spoke about labor exploitation, slavery and criticized sexist violence.
“We cannot normalize violence. To treat it like something natural. No! Violence against women cannot be treated as ‘normal,’ maintaining a culture of violence against women blind to the leading role that women play in our communities. It is not right for us to look the other way and let the dignity of so many women, especially young women, be trampled upon.”
He referenced gold, an exploited metal in Peru. He explained how it can become a false God that corrupts both people and institutions. He spoke of it as a demon, requiring prayers to loosen its hold. Yet, his message was one of hope.
"I have hope in you all, I have seen children and where there are children, there is hope."
The encounter ended with a Hail Mary and an offering to the Blessed Mother, who will be crowned in a few days by the bishop of the diocese.