Antananarivo (Agenzia Fides) - "Most of the population of Madagascar lives in extreme poverty caused largely by the lack of distribution of the resources of which the country is rich", says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Cosimo Alvati, a Salesian with a long experience of mission in Madagascar, in commenting on the strong warning launched by Pope Francis during his visit to the Big Island, against corruption. "When “family” becomes the decisive criterion for what we consider right and good, we end up justifying and even “consecrating” practices that lead to the culture of privilege and exclusion: favouritism, patronage and, as a consequence, corruption", said Pope Francis in his homily on Sunday 8 September at Antananarivo's Soamandrakizay diocesan field, which was attended by 1 million people.
"Madagascar is among the last 5 poorest Countries in the world. It is a little forgotten. It is true that there is no war but people live with a few dollars or euros a day", said Fr. Alvati. "The Malagasy population has always lived in poverty but the situation has worsened in the last 10 years after the coup against former President Marc Ravalomanana in March 2009, because acts of banditry and violent thefts have increased. Since then the Country has been in free fall: basic food and medicines like aspirin are lacking".
During his visit to the City of Friendship of Akamasoa, founded by Fr. Pedro, Pope Francis shouted that "poverty is not a fatality". "In his speech, President Andry Rajoelina made a commitment to fight poverty. We will see if it is a concrete commitment or propaganda", says the missionary.
Finally, Pope Francis praised the Church of Madagascar in meeting the local clergy, calling it a "poor Church at the service of the poor". "In fact if there were no dispensaries and Catholic schools the population would be completely left to itself", concludes Fr. Alvati. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/9/2019)