Pope Warns Africa Crowds Of Radicalization Risk
NAIROBI, Kenya - Pope Francis continues his first trip to Africa after arriving in Kenya Wednesday.
He met with priests at St. Mary's School in Nairobi and gave Mass at the University of Nairobi. He also met with Muslim and Christian leaders and said the two faiths must work together.
The pope will visit two other countries, Uganda and the Central African Republic. It will be the first time a pope has flown into an active armed conflict zone.
There was a proper and rollicking African welcome to kick off the first public engagement of Pope Francis' first-ever African trip, reports CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey. Dancing children led the procession of bishops who preceded him to the specially-built altar.
Pope urges Kenyans to work for "reconciliation and peace"
The theme of this stop on his three-nation pilgrimage is "Be strong in faith. Do not be afraid." It took a fair bit of strength for tens of thousands of faithful to make their way into a field for the Mass at Nairobi University that persistent rain turned into a quagmire.
But rain is seen as a blessing here, and no one seemed to mind in the least.
Police and army were on hand in considerable number, but guns were conspicuous by their scarcity, in spite of the fact that there is concern the pope could be in danger from Islamic radicals.
There have been several bloody attacks here, including the massacre of students at a university and the 2013 shooting in a mall that left 67 dead. Both were carried out by the al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab that is based in neighboring Somalia.
Francis called them "barbarous" and said that God's name must never be used to justify hatred and violence.
"All too often," he told an interreligious gathering, "young people are being radicalized in the name of religion to sow discord and fear and to tear at the very fabric of our societies."
The Mass was aimed in part at young people and Pope Francis urged them to let what he called "the great values of Africa's traditions" to help them shape "a society which is ever more just... inclusive and respectful of human dignity."
In keeping with his usual style, Pope Francis isn't pulling any punches. But in a region where tribal rivalries and interreligious violence have wreaked havoc, his message seems to be going down well.