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Thursday, October 8, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 7 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Fifth General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was held this afternoon in the Vatican's Synod Hall. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Senegal, Dakar.

  Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below:

CARDINAL JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE. "Traditional African religion strongly influences Africans, who are by nature religious. ... Christian missionaries did not reveal God to the Africans (they already had an idea): they brought them Jesus Christ, 'God with a human face'. ... The activity of the sects, because of the simplicity in their beliefs, attracts many Africans who find themselves in a situation of instability. ... This synodal assembly should encourage the study of traditional African religion, foment greater pastoral care for the people who live in contact with it and suggest what is best to be done for the common good ... The development of sects could also be an invitation to pastors to take better care in the transmission of the content of the faith in the African cultural context. If we wish to answer the question: what does the Gospel have to say to Africans that is new? it is necessary to know and appreciate the religious roots of the peoples in this continent".

ARCHBISHOP TARCISIUS GERVAZIO ZIYAYE OF BLANTYRE, MALAWI, PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF MEMBER EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES OF EASTERN AFRICA (AMECEA). "As the Church in Africa, ... we face the call to move to a more mature catechesis, promoting a true Christian identity and a profound conversion of hearts. It is disheartening that in Africa today Catholics should participate in political and ethnic clashes, that Catholic politicians could be involved in serious corruption of public resources, and that some of our Catholics revert to occult practices in times of difficulties. All this tells us that we still have a long way to go to promote a faith that transforms the heart, and a faith that does justice. There is a need at every level of the Church in Africa for more serious formation in the Church's social teaching and deeper implementation of inculturation in our theology and not only in our rituals".

BISHOP AMBROISE OUEDRAOGO OF MARADI, NIGER. "In Niger, Islam is present in a substantial way and colours all activities in social, cultural, economic and political life. Mosques and madrasahs are everywhere. We are also witnessing the establishing of orphanages, medical centres and help centres. Certain new reformist Islamic movements provide programming for private radios and television networks with the aim of helping Muslim believers to live and practice their faith better. Living in the heart of this socio-cultural and religious context, the Church Family of God here in Niger, conscious of being a minority, tries to live and testify to the love of God, to be at the service of reconciliation, justice and peace. The Church of God here in Niger has made Islamic-Christian dialogue a pastoral priority in its mission of evangelisation. Without pretending to be carrying out anything extraordinary or doing anything striking, the Christian communities, supported and encouraged by their pastors, are striving to study and live a life of universal brotherhood in a spirit of free giving with their Muslim brothers and sisters, through a dialogue of life, listening and mutual respect, and the exchange of proper procedures in the most significant events of human life".

BISHOP MAURICE PIAT C.S.SP. OF PORT-LOUIS, MAURITIUS. "Parents, disarmed by the violence affecting their families, or shaken by the modernity that disrupts traditional paths for the transmission of values, must be supported. When war tears their families apart, parents may ask themselves what meaning there is to their lives, and what values they can still transmit to their children. ... Parents who are victims of violence need to be accompanied on their healing path. ... When, through 'Living Ecclesial Communities', parents find a response to their desire ... to communicate and are put into contact with the Word of God, they discover, on the basis of the trials they have suffered, an unexpected proximity with Christ's suffering which encourages them and restores meaning to their lives. To accompany these families on the Paschal path, it would seem essential today for the Church-Family of God to spread the salt of the Gospel in African lands".

BISHOP FULGENCE MUTEBA MUGALU OF KILWA-KASENGA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. "To be effective, ecclesial communication must become a pastoral priority. To do this, the social communications media must be truly placed at the service of evangelisation and of the evangelised themselves. In this regard, we hope that our ecclesial structures and ecclesiastical institutions may be able to set up, within the limits of available resources, their own communications media (radio, newspapers, information bulletins, internet sites, television, telephone, etc.) and truly use them. ... Bishops, priests and seminarians, must learn how to use the new technologies of communication and information in pastoral care, especially in the pastoral care of justice, peace and reconciliation. Our people must also be trained in the discernment and critical use of media instruments, in the light of ethical principles and human rights".

BISHOP GEORGE NKUO OF KUMBO, CAMEROON. "Apart from greed, corruption and lack of confidence in our political leaders, one of the great obstacles to justice, peace and reconciliation in Africa is poverty. There is poverty in Africa and there is hunger in many parts of the continent of Africa. There are greedy people in Africa including our leaders who do not care about their brothers and sisters. Poverty means that basic needs for food, water and shelter are not being met. Poverty means that security in the community is not available. Poverty means that the means to heal our families is not available. Poverty means that our children will have no future with hopes of having a family and a means of support. Poverty means that sadness and fear have replaced joy and serenity. This is the poverty of many places in Africa. Poverty is the single greatest cause of hunger. There is poverty in Africa but Africa has almost all it takes to be the richest continent on earth. Africa is about the wealthiest continent in natural resources in the world. ... True enough there are no quick fix solutions to solving large scale poverty but we must begin somewhere".
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VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Sixth General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops took place in the Vatican's Synod Hall this morning. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and 227 Synod Fathers were present.

  Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below:

FR. KIERAN O'REILLY, SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE SOCIETY OF AFRICAN MISSIONS. "Inspired by their faith commitment, and informed by Catholic social teaching, a number of missionary and religious congregations have formed networks to meet this challenge. I refer in particular to the work of the Africa Faith and Justice Network. The particular concern of these networks is to address issues of structural injustice rooted in European and United States policies that affect Africa adversely. As the 'family of God' the Church is challenged to witness and promote the universality of God's love for all people and the future unity of humanity.... The witness of international missionary and religious communities is both relevant and urgent. ... Africa is poorly served by the mass media, which focuses almost exclusively on the bad news, thus creating a widely accepted narrative of a continent in a constant state of crisis. The 'Aid Industry', too, feeds on selling negative and outmoded stereotypes of Africans as helpless victims of endless wars and constant famines. The people of Africa must become more central to the narrative of Africa that is propagated abroad, international missionary congregations and institutes are ideally situated to assist in this process".

ARCHBISHOP MARCEL UTEMBI TAPA OF KISANGANI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. "The political dimension of peace invites the Church in Africa to invent new methods of presenting her social teaching, founded on Gospel values capable of favouring peace and understanding among peoples. In agreeing that peace is above all a gift from God, we propose that the Church in Africa show even greater commitment, so that: (1) The African political class may effectively be at the service of common good. To this end, the Church must care for and reinforce the guidance and formation of politicians in the light of the social teachings of the Church. (2) A transversal and ecumenical programme for civic education of the people must be established, to promote citizens' consciences and the responsible participation of local people in the management of the patrimony of their countries".

BISHOP LOUIS NCAMISO NDLOVU, O.S.M. OF MANZINI, SWAZILAND. "The Catholic Church in Swaziland is still young having arrived in 1914 and numbers some fifty-five thousand adherents in a population of one million, meaning that only five percent of Swazis are Catholics. Even though the Church is a minority it remains the largest single Christian Church in the country. ... In recent years, the relationship between the Church and traditional and political leaders has become ambivalent. The Church continues to receive much praise from government for her interventions in the area of education, health, and development programmes. As a Church we continue to question the system of governance as we believe that it contributes to the high levels of poverty in the country. The government criticises the Church for speaking on issues of governance, insisting that the duty of the Church should be confined to the liturgy and worship and not to be present in the social and political life of the people. This has seen us being befriended by members of civic society, including trade unions and the banned political parties and movements. As a Church we therefore find ourselves in the middle of two opposing forces. This presents a unique opportunity for the Church as she can minister to the government and members of civic society".

BISHOP NICOLAS DJOMO LOLA OF TSHUMBE, PRESIDENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. "We deplore the fact that the suffering and the human lives lost in the Democratic Republic of Congo through war have not aroused the same indignation and the same condemnation as occurs for other countries. Otherwise how can we explain the resurgence and virulence of the violence that we continue to condemn verbally, without planning effective actions to put an end, once and for all, to the causes behind it. Do we not share the same humanity? ... We suggest that this Synod invite all Christians - in the name of Jesus Christ Who through His supreme sacrifice on the Cross gave us the true measure of each human being's dignity - and all men and all women of good will, on behalf of our human community, publicly to condemn and denounce those that back wars and violence in Africa. Otherwise we become accomplices in the evil done to our fellows".

BISHOP PETER MARTIN MUSIKUWA OF CHIKWAWA, MALAWI. "Being 'domestic Churches', places of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace, most African families are not enjoying total harmony. They are facing a lot of challenges such as HIV/AIDS-related problems, multicultural globalisation, deterioration of the cultural value of marriage, political influence and lack of role models. True love and reconciliation is lacking. There is still then a need for a qualitative pastoral follow up, continuous catechesis of marriage and family life. This can be done at various levels: episcopal conference, diocese and parish. Besides this, Christian movements/associations, such as Family Movements and Christian Marriage Encounter can be of much assistance".

ARCHBISHOP BUTI JOSEPH TLHAGALE O.M.I. OF JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, PRESIDENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF SOUTH AFRICA. "Moral values embedded in the diverse African cultures, alongside the Gospel values, are threatened by the new global ethic which aggressively seeks to persuade African governments and communities to accept new and different meanings of concepts of family, marriage and human sexuality. The cultures of Africa are under heavy strain from liberalism, secularism and from lobbyists who squat at the United Nations. Africa faces a second wave of colonisation both subtle and ruthless at the same time. ... Lay people, by virtue of their Baptism, have a significant role to play. They are expected to witness in the public square, in their families and places of work. Their Christian voice in the face of the many challenges in Africa, is weak, muffled or simply silent. The hierarchy is without credible partners in the work of the transformation of Africa. Lay Catholics need to be given a voice in order to stand up and be counted for their Catholic faith. The hierarchy cannot do it alone".
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VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today released the following communique:

  "This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. President Abbas subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions, having recalled the Holy Father's own recent trip to the Holy Land, the dialogue focused on the situation in the Middle East and, in particular, on the need to find a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which the rights of everyone are recognised and respected. In this context, emphasis was given to the importance of co-operation and mutual respect between the parties involved, and of the support of the international community.

  "Reference was also made to the situation of Catholics in Palestine, and in the region more generally, and to the contribution they make to social life and to peaceful coexistence among peoples".
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VATICAN CITY, 8 OCT 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - As counsellors of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America: Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

 - As members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America: Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico; Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada; Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil; Archbishop Mario Antonio Cargnello of Salta, Argentina; Archbishop Hector Ruben Aguer of La Plata, Argentina; Archbishop Nicolas Cotugno Fanizzi S.D.B. of Montevideo, Uruguay; Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, Brazil; Archbishop Lepoldo Jose Brenes Solorzano of Managua, Nicaragua; Archbishop Orlando Antonio Corrales Garcia of Santa Fe de Antioquia, Colombia, and Coadjutor Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Spain.
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