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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis to DRC charities: "Promotion is a forest that grows in the face of exploitation"

Pope Francis received several charitable organizations at the Apostolic Nunciature in Kinshasa.

One of the groups cares for lepers in the Rive hospital in northwest Kinshasa. Their work saved the life of Tekadio Vangu Nolly, who was shunned by his family despite being Catholic. He said his parents were convinced that he was a witchdoctor because he had spots on his skin. But the Church helped him.

Thank God, however, I met a woman from Saint Martin Parish who understood the nature of my spots. Through her, I came to Hospital de la Riva, where, in November 2004, I was diagnosed with leprosy.

The Pope also heard the testimony of an Argentinean woman who works at a school in Kimbangu1 in the western part of the country.

Her students sang a song that made Pope Francis smile.

The Pope thanked everyone for their work. He used nature as an example to explain the change their work creates.

While so many today discard these people, you embrace them; while the world exploits them, you promote them. It's promotion vs. exploitation. Here the forest is growing while the deforestation of waste rages violently!

Pope Francis challenged the Western world to shine a much brighter light on Africa and to speak of African lives with dignity.

I came here driven by the desire to give a voice to the voiceless. How I wish the media would give more attention to this country and all of Africa!

The Pope thanked everyone for their presence and encouraged them to create networks with each other. He also reminded the group that faith without works is dead.