Along with of 294 cardinals and African Bishops, the Pope asked Africans not to allow themselves to fall into the negative aspects of the western world.
“There are at least two dangerous diseases that threaten Africa: first a disease already widespread in the West, practical materialism, combined with the relativistic and nihilistic thinking”.
The second “virus” Africa must face, according to the Pope, is that of religious fundamentalism, which he said is more dangerous when combined with political and economic interests.
The Pope also called on the African Church to help foster a more peaceful world by bringing together different ethnic and religious groups.
After the ceremony, Benedict XVI explained the significance of this synod, which will continue until October 25th.
“It is important to stress that this is not a study meeting or a meeting. The most important thing for everyone is listening: listening to each other, everybody, listen to what is meant by the Lord.”
The Pope also took a moment to remember the victims of the Tsunami that pounded Samoa and Tonga, those who suffered from the typhoon in the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia along with people shaken by the earthquake in Indonesia. Benedict XVI asked the international community to help all those who are affected.