October 14, 2009. The synod of African bishops has been well underway, and up until now the words most frequently mentioned have been peace, Christ, justice and infancy.
The 244 participants are voicing the continent’s problems and sufferings while in Rome. And they’re asking for help in getting rid of these injustices.
Cardenal Wilfrid Napier
Arzobispo de Durban, Sudáfrica
Papal documents are telling us that the way to do it is to make sure that there is justice in the world. So a natural theme would be justice and what can the Church do to ensure that the principles at least are known so that government and community leaders would be able to ensure that justice is done in their communities and their countries.
Issues like arms trafficking, child soldiers and ethnic murders are at the forefront of the synod’s dialogue.
One of the bishops from Nigeria denounced murders that stem from the rise of superstition and witchcraft.
Albino children are often the bigger victims because they are often killed or abandoned, and women accused of witchcraft.
One bishop from the Democratic Republic of Congo asked for the dignity of woman to be promoted and denounced rapes that continue to happen in his country.
The Church’s internal problems are also being highlighted. A Kenyan bishop regretted that some Catholic institutions pay their employees less than what non-religious institutions pay.
Mons. Buti Thlagale
Arzobispo de Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica
My hope is that whatever we have spoken about at this synod that we will carry back for Africa as a Church and therefore cutting across regions and the continent that we will be in one voice in trying to implement whatever we have decided on here.
The synod has also counted on outside help. The first is Rodolphe Adada, expert on the war in Darfur as an former United Nations and African representative.
He explained that after 20 years of civil war in Sudan between the Christian south and the Islamic north, the situation seems to be calming down, but injustices are still rampant. That’s why he’s asking the world to keep working towards bringing stable peace to the region.
The other outsider was Jacques Diouf, director general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Diouf, a Muslim, thanked the pope for the Church’s part in battling world hunger.
He said that in his opinion, Christianity and Islam alike both promote rationalization of resources and the respect of man so as to put an end to world injustices.
Shortly after his address, the Vatican announced that the pope will visit the FAO headquarters in Rome in mid-November to take part in the meeting of heads of state on food security in the world.