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Cardinal Turkson: We need food, not birth control

2014-10-14

The problems families face are different in each continent and in continents like Africa, the same rule applies to its many countries. The Synod has analyzed some of the challenges African families face, like polygamy.

CARD. PETER TURKSON
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"Polygamy isn't only about satisfying men's desires. Sometimes it all comes down to working the land. Children in Africa also carry out this task. When you're talking about the chief of a tribe, it's also a matter of having descendents.”

One of the challenges of the Church in Africa is finding the best way of dealing with this situation. Specifically, participants discussed how to reject polygamy without rejecting the dignity of the wives and their children.

CARD. PETER TURKSON
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"What can you do in this situation? The first thing is conversion. But then it is difficult to ask these men to just leave all their wives... Who is going to provide for their children? Or are they, so to say, 'second-class' children? That's why the pastoral problem with polygamy is so complicated.”

African bishops taking part in the Synod oppose the fact that some NGOs want to impose birth control and abortion in Africa as a way of tackling its widespread hunger and poverty. However, Cardinal Turkson believes Africa has the capacity of providing food for all its people.

CARD. PETER TURKSON
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"Let´s try to invest more in the productivity of these people, instead of killing them. Let's invest more in productivity. We must raise their level of productivity. Because you can always produce food, especially in Africa, where there's always sun and rain. Any seed can grow in Africa.”

He adds that to deal with all these issues properly there needs to be a change in the mentality and politics in Africa. He hopes the Synod will gives way to this change, so that the life of millions of people may improve significantly.


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