~ by Elise Ann Allen, CRUX
ROME – In the wake of Pope Francis’ visit to Africa last week, people in both the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan seemed optimistic that the pontiff’s words and deeds made a real difference in inspiring change, even if perceiving the concrete results will take time.
Speaking to CRUX, Eduardo Burgueno, a family doctor who has been working in the DRC capital of Kinshasha for 15 years, alluded to the mass poverty and the bleak conditions facing many of his patients, including some who come from the conflict-ridden east, and the corruption that enables it to continue, saying the pope’s words shed light on a forgotten problem.
Pope Francis’ willingness “to speak, strongly, on the real and main problems of these people, is like intravenous epinephrine for a patient in anaphylaxis,” the doctor said, referring to the use of adrenaline to jolt someone out of a severe and life-threatening allergy.
“Definitely yes, his words have made a difference. There is no way to push back. Every social actor in DRC is highly sensibilized from now on,” Burgueno said.
Burgueno said the pope’s message to politicians and international actors on corruption and exploitation within the DRC and the rest of Africa had a resounding effect, because people “don’t trust politicians. Me neither.”
People of goodwill in positions of leadership “don’t abound,” he said, noting that the DRC is set to hold national elections at the end of the year, and a good relationship between the people and their leaders is key to moving forward.
The people, Burgueno said, don’t hold on to anger, but rather “want to grow, to construct their lives. The credibility of the Church is crucial for this impact. If all are coherent in their lives, the Democratic Republic of Congo will radiate peace in all Central Africa.”
The pope has confirmed us in hope, service and joy. He has been sent by God to us. We are not naïve. We trust in Him,” Burgueno said.
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