November 19, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The pope officially signed the document so many African bishops were anxiously waiting for. The post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation is titled “Africae Munus.” In it, the pope makes reference to AIDS, the death penalty and the involvement of priests in politics.
The conclusions are based on the Synod, African Bishops held at the Vatican back in 2009. The document is meant to be guide for the Church in Africa. Benedict XVI
"The celebration of the Synod concludes with the signing of the Exhortation Africae Munus. The Synod has an impetus to the Catholic Church in Africa, which prayed, reflected on and discussed the theme of reconciliation, justice and peace.”
The first part of the document focuses on the family, the role of women in society and the education of children.
More explicitly, the pope lays out some of the major problems in Africa, like drug use, malaria and tuberculosis.
When it comes to AIDS, the document points out that even though medical attention is needed, the root of the problem shouldn't be ignored.
The pope said the problem is above all ethical. Part of the solution requires abstinence, a rejection of sexual promiscuity and fidelity in marriage. To make this a reality, the Church should promote a strong upbringing during formative years. For this to be efficient, AIDS prevention must rely on sexual education based on anthropology.
It must also be rooted in natural law and enlightened by the Word of God and the teachings of the Church.
The findings also focus on ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.
“The Church is open to collaboration with all sectors of society, especially with representatives of other Churches and ecclesiastical communities that are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. Also with representatives of non-Christian religions, especially traditional religions and Islam.”
The pope reminded bishops and priests, that they should lead a simple life. He also said they should avoid getting into politics and above all they should strive for justice in their countries.
“In this database there are several initiatives to promote justice in Africa and the good of all inhabitants of the continent, especially the most vulnerable who are in need of jobs, schools and hospitals.”
The pope signed the document at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Ouidah, which has a capacity for 800 people. It was the first Cathedral in West Africa and the starting point of evangelization in the region.