October 27, 2009.
Failure is not in Africa’s future. A future that is in its hands, and yet to be written.
This message marked the end of three intense weeks in which 244 members of the Synod of Africa have taken part in to take a close look at the issues revolving the Church in the continent.
The 57 interim conclusions of the Second Synod of Bishops for Africa are spelled in a document 7 chapters long. In them-lie the continents main issues from religious and spiritual standpoints. While the document is not considered political the findings revolve around reconciliation, justice and peace.
Members of Synod conclude the only way for justice and peace is through forgiveness.Joseph Kwaku Afrifah Agyfkum
Ghana“The need of pardon and also the need for reconciliation because without pardon its going to be very difficult to reconself another person. There are many people who have been offended, many people who have suffered discrimination and many people who have been serious troubles.”
With the objective of peace in mind, the Synod proposes building an organization that favors the dialogue between the different ethnic groups.
The synod also calls on national governments to support the development of a UN treaty on arms trafficking to curb the global trade.
Another issue is poverty which millions of Africans are facing. The synod has called on governments to end corruption and for dioceses be supportive.
Joachim Kouraleyo Tarounga
Bishop of Maondou (Chad)“We seek reconciliation, justice and peace through cooperation of all members of the Church, from women and men to young.”
Synod members also point to the importance of religious education of citizens, especially young people and seminarians, to avoid relativism. On this issue synod members are asking governments to improve living conditions for students to avoid them seeking an education elsewhere and never return.
Isaac Jogues Agbemenya Gaglo
Bishop of Anèho (Togo)"The bishops are also responsible, the Church must educate citizens, Christians to become the salt of the earth and light of the world. It is important that we go home with the aim of educating people."
One of the most controversial issues discussed was AIDS, the bishops point to the need for new treatments that improve the quality of life of patients and an increased commitment of the Church in helping those affected. Although, they believe fidelity should be given more importance in order to stop the spread of the disease.
With regard to ecumenical dialogue, the assembled bishops say that a divided Christendom is a scandal. They also call for greater respect and collaboration with other religions such as Islam.
So now after three weeks of meetings, the cardinals and bishops of the Synod of the third largest continent in the world return home more aware of reality in Africa along with support from whole Church.