Sierra Leonean Prelate Calls for Peacemaking

Expresses Desire for Africa to Live up to Potential

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, SEPT. 4, 2009 ( The archbishop of Freetown and Bo is calling on Catholics to practice reconciliation and peacemaking, so as to help the African people to live up to their potential.

Archbishop Edward Charles stated this in the opening speech of a five-day seminar on «Memories, Truth and Justice — Dealing with the Burden of the Past,» which ended today, Catholic Information Service for Africa reported.

This seminar, held in Freetown, the country’s capital, was «timely» for the Church in Africa as it prepares for the synod of bishops next month in Rome, said the prelate.

He also noted the importance of reflecting on the theme of truth and justice, given the history of violent conflicts in West Africa’s Sub-Saharan region.

For the countries like Sierra Leone that have had «terrible civil conflicts,» the archbishop noted, «the scars of the wars are there for all to see and the bitter memories of pains and sufferings they caused are still fresh in our minds.»

He added that there could be a recurrence of these conflicts, because the causes have not yet been adequately addressed. For example, he stressed the need to solve the problems of «youth unemployment, indiscipline and lawlessness in the cities, corruption and injustices.»

Archbishop Charles stated, «It would seem that many of us did not learn anything from the experiences of the civil wars in our countries and so we are back to our old games.»

Some 42 participants from Africa, Europe, South America and Asia took part in the seminar, which was organized by the archdiocese along with the German Association for Development Cooperation and the German Justice and Peace Commission.

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