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Friday, October 16, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2009 (VIS) - Given below are extracts from further reports of the language groups, presented yesterday morning in the Vatican's Synod Hall during the Fifteenth General Congregation, the texts of which were only made public yesterday afternoon.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE GROUP A: ARCHBISHOP ANTHONY JOHN VALENTINE OBINNA OF OWERRI, NIGERIA. "There was a positive and healthy experience of ecclesial communion throughout the Synod. Let us try to transmit this within our Churches and organisations. ... The lay faithful have to be made aware of their role as agents of reconciliation, justice and peace in their areas of work or spheres of activity. ... To strengthen the African family it is not sufficient to condemn: positive initiatives need to be undertaken to correct irregular situations. To respond to the numerous victims of injustice on the continent, the unborn (abortion), orphans, street children, disabled, prisoners, persecuted and marginalised communities, we need to create structures of justice, peace, and pastoral care, understanding and empathy in the Church and from the Church. ... The compendium of the Church's social doctrine should be an obligatory text for the formation and skills acquisition of lay people. ... We need to use official texts on human life and sexuality to teach seminarians and young people the Christian doctrine and approach to sexuality. ... The catechesis on the family has to be promoted to become part of the compendium of the Church's social doctrine. Women have to be given roles in the Church as full members. Renewed efforts have to be made to eliminate discrimination against women in all areas".

ENGLISH LANGUAGE GROUP B: BISHOP SITHEMBELE ANTON SIPUKA OF UMTATA, SOUTH AFRICA. "We note that the lack of publicity for the Synod reflects our weakness in communication, so we need, on our return, to communicate what we discussed and decided here. We could give more publicity to the results of the Synod in South Africa to make up for shortcomings in its preparation. We note that there is a link between this and the last Synod, the Family of God and how to keep them together are the objectives. We need to organise more Synods, reinforce the commissions of justice and peace, or establish them where they do not exist, and form small committees to spread the results from the foundations, even before the final publication of the results of the Synod by the Pope. ... Unfortunately, we do not have a permanent formation after Baptism and Confirmation that might help people remain in the Church. For this reason we have to look again at our current methodology of catechesis. There is a problem with the hierarchical structure in African society as a result of which superiors cannot ask forgiveness of inferiors. For example, it is unthinkable that a husband would ask forgiveness of a wife or an old man of a young man. This also applies to ethnic groups: one ethnic group might not consider it appropriate to ask another for forgiveness. It further appears that traditional African means of reconciliation are an obstacle to the Christian ideal and practice of reconciliation".

FRENCH LANGUAGE GROUP B: BISHOP LOUIS PORTELLA MBUYU OF KINKALA, PRESIDENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF THE CONGO. "There are many urgent requirements: (1) The formation of people with decision-making power, now and in the future (a spiritual and doctrinal, but also a technical formation, undertaken by chaplains who have also undergone appropriate formation). (2) Giving women their due place. (3) Educating people in peace from an early age and helping them change their way of looking at others, the same applies to education in the rule law and in all other Christian values that concern society. The family, the fundamental cell of society, merits important pastoral attention. The pastoral care of the family involves all its members: children and young people must receive a careful education, couples must progress in conjugal love, parents must accept their responsibilities as the first teachers of their children. The Christian values of matrimony and family must therefore be at the centre of appropriate pastoral initiatives. The relationship between our culture and the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation leads us towards an incultured catechesis of these Sacraments. In this sector, why not think about a continental Eucharistic Congress inspired by theological research, catechesis and incultured celebration?"

ENGLISH LANGUAGE GROUPS E: BISHOP MARTIN IGWEMEZIE UZOUKWU OF MINNA, NIGERIA. "We have to have a positive attitude towards African traditions, see them as an opportunity and examine them closely to purify and use them in the process of reconciliation. Diversity too has to be seen as a gift; it was created by God and it is a resource. But often politicians use our diversity to divide one ethnic group from another and create tension and conflict; for this reason reconciliation has to be de-politicised, freed from the blackmail of not always clear political motivations. ... Particular attention must be paid to the formation of the clergy who in their work are building the Kingdom of God every day. Even the priest risks losing sight of the greatness of his vocation and is threatened by the mentality of the world that spreads the non-values of materialism. The priest has to imitate Christ in serving, not in being served. Seminarians should be taught how to use the new media, to make their education more complete and to be able to evangelise also using internet and other new instruments that become available with technological progress".

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