The first powerful message Pope Francis sent on his trip was directed at Chilean officials. The pope publicly asked for forgiveness for cases of sexual abuse committed by priests in the country.
“Here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the Church. I want to unite with my brother bishops, for it is right to ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims.”
A pope had previously never visited a women's prison, which is why this encounter was so meaningful; so too was Pope Francis' message there – dignity is untouchable.
“Being deprived of freedom isn't the same as being deprived of dignity. It's not the same. No one touches dignity, it's taken care of.”
In Peru, the Holy Father strongly denounced feminicide and violence by men. It's a silent drama to which he wanted to give a voice.
“I want to invite you to combat a scourge that affects our American continent: the numerous cases where women are killed. And the many situations of violence that are kept quiet behind so many walls.”
First in Temuco and later in the Amazon, Pope Francis spoke out against the harsh throwaway culture that literally “preys” on the indigenous.
“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. 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.”
In the same breath were the pope's criticisms of the throwaway culture, as he urged young people to listen to their elders, giving this example.
“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!”
He emphasized the same point to the little ones during his visit to the Little Prince Home in Peru. The pope asked them to fight for their origins with pride.
“The world needs you, young men and women of the first peoples, and it needs you as you are. Not disguised, but as you are. However you are. Do not be content to be the last car on the train of society, never be the caboose on the train. We need you to be the engine.”
During the flight to Iquique, in Chile, the Holy Father made a spontaneous gesture, marrying this couple of flight stewards.
“He told us, ‘This is the sacrament the world is missing.’ The sacrament of marriage. Hopefully this will motivate the couples around the world to enter into the sacrament of marriage. That's why I am doing this.”
Sexual abuse of minors in the Church, feminicide and a no-tolerance policy regarding throwaway culture were the three main issues of Pope Francis' sixth trip to Latin America. He also recalled the value of love between spouses.
These were messages the pope frequently reiterated so his apostolic visit was not in vain.