VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II entrusted the preparation of the second Synod of Bishops of Africa to the Special Council for Africa.
The Pope expressed this in a message signed Wednesday and sent to Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, and to all participating in the Special Council for Africa meeting under way in Rome.
“Taking into account the ecclesial and social novelties of the continent,” states the message released today, the synodal assembly will “have the task to support the local Churches and their pastors, helping them in their pastoral projects.”
The Holy Father hopes that this synod, scheduled for 2009, will be decisive for the “African continent, which is living difficult circumstances on the political, economic and social levels, as well as in regard to peace.”
“Africa is still afflicted by terrible plagues, such as armed conflicts, persistent poverty, illnesses and their devastating consequences, starting with the drama of AIDS, widespread insecurity and, finally, corruption,” John Paul II said in the message, written in French.
“May the future special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa also favor a reaffirmation of faith in Christ the Savior and genuine reconciliation!” he exhorted.
The council, of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops, will organize the second assembly of the bishops of Africa. The first was in 1994 in the context of the continental synods convoked by John Paul II to prepare the Great Jubilee of 2000.
The Pope summarized the conclusions of that synod in his apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Africa.”