Aide: Church Sees Africa as More Than Photo-Op

ROME, FEB. 27, 2009 ( Some people might give money or support to Africa because it could be considered fashionable, but the Church’s role on the continent is that of being an anchor of salvation, says a Vatican aide.

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Monsignor Fortunatus Nwachukwu, an official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, spoke this week about the Church’s role in Africa at a conference organized in Rome by Harambee Africa International.

«The Catholic Church constitutes a reference point for the continent of Africa» the monsignor said. «Africa is being spoken about more and more, even becoming a fashionable topic. Lots of public personalities are used to traveling to be photographed with African children, but more to highlight their own public image than to contribute really to the solutions of problems that afflict the infants of Africa.»

The Vatican aide said that what Africa needs above all is «to be loved.» He urged eliminating negative stereotypes and said that the temptation to inertia should be offset with initiatives like those of the Church, «which has gathered and developed so many signs of hope launched in this continent.»

«The Church is especially present in the Sub-Saharan zone and is called to favor reconciliation, justice and peace,» he continued, citing the priorities for the October synod on Africa.

«These are the lines of action that will permit us to put an end to the conflicts, stemming from selfishness, that often provoke true fratricide,» Monsignor Nwachukwu affirmed. «The politics and the military in Africa have failed because they have shown exclusive attention to the personal interests and the tribes. While, on the contrary, Catholic missionaries have not been mistaken: They have brought hospitals, education and food. Many also have sacrificed their own lives to bring the light of the world.»

The Harambee association was founded in 2002, on the occasion of the canonization of Father Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei, to promote educational initiatives regarding Africa.

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