Interventions From Synod's 8th Congregation

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2009 ( Here are the English-language summaries provided by the Vatican press office of the interventions given Friday morning at the Eighth General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

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H. Em. Card. Tarcisio BERTONE, S.D.B., Secretary of State (VATICAN CITY)

In the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, Pope John Paul II of beloved memory, wished to underline how the Synod of Bishops “is an extremely beneficial instrument for fostering ecclesial communion” (no. 15). This affectionate and effective communion of the particular Churches with the universal Church finds in the work of the Papal Nuncios an irreplaceable and particularly important junction in the reality of the continent of Africa. This is a tightly knit network of presences whose aim is not just to promote and support relationships between the Holy See and state authorities, but whose primary aim is “to make more firm and effective the bonds of unity which exist between the Holy See and the particular Churches” (Canon 364), through the assistance and advice that the Pontifical Representatives offer to the Bishops. To this type of communion, one should add the diplomatic mission of the Holy See that, especially over the last decade, has favored the emergence of accords or other conventions with state authorities.The Pontifical Representatives provide a voice for the Holy Father in defense of people’s dignity and fundamental human rights, just as, with the Episcopates, they work in defense of religious freedom and the promotion of authentic dialogue, both with other Churches or ecclesial communities, as well as with those belonging to other religions, and also, naturally, with civilian authorities. Such love for man, peace and justice that wishes to look at Africa “in the light of God” cannot but urge the Pontifical Representatives to bear witness to the concern of the Holy Father, and in him the universal Church, for the common good of each country.

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H. Exc. Mons. Jan OZGA, Bishop of Doumé-Abong’ Mbang (CAMEROON)

I believe it is extremely important that this second Synod Assembly for Africa should go through the African family to produce the awaited fruits. Because, the formation of a new culture of reconciliation, justice and peace is first of all a family task, before being a social one. If these three values take root and find foundation and meaning within the family, their culture could spread to all levels of African society.
The culture of reconciliation is distinct from the act of reconciliation, since the latter is isolated and circumstantial, while the former is a state of the spirit, based on the promotion of love, charity, conversion, mercy and many other qualities. This preponderant role falls on parents first then on academic, social and ecclesial institutions, according to the principle of fraternal correction : “If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone…” (Mt 18:15-18).

Justice is the just appreciation, the recognition, the respect of the rights and merits of each person. The family is called upon to teach true justice which is the only path to respect of individual human dignity, as highlighted by Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio. And Jesus says: “if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees…” (Mt 5:20ff).

The culture of peace in the African family was guaranteed by the Parental and Family Council, through the frequent meetings on the word, the hearth of happiness in individual and collective prosperity, in relationship with God and our brothers and sisters: “Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be recognised as children of God” (Mt 5:9).

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H. Exc. Mons. Albert VANBUEL, S.D.B., Bishop of Kaga-Bandoro (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC)

In recent years, during various moments of socio-political crises experienced by the Central African Republic, we have never failed to remember the human and Christian values necessary to reach a life in peace. At every moment, the Church was actively involved and united in the joy and suffering of the people, wishing true happiness and redemption for them. The Bishops of Central Africa never ceased to see the dawning and the advent of a time in favor of peace, of justice and of reconciliation for all.

Our Church is always more aware of the zones of darkness that exist within her, and aspires with all her being for peace, and in communion with the core of the Church-Family. Unfortunately some people look at this as reasons for discouragement or moments to give up. It is true: some misconceptions, some gestures perceived as hurtful have made people suffer. Nevertheless, the time has come for us to show that we are up to the challenges of toay’s world. From the moment in which injustice, corruption, opportunism, rebellions… are unanimously rejected, our Church is called to give witness according to the Gospel which is the Word of Life: a witness of reconciliation, of justice and of peace, and above all a witness of communion.

In recent months we deplored the divisive acts between priests, between priests and bishops, between priests and the laity; this is certainly not the Gospel which we must proclaim. We were sent to build a Church united in the Spirit of God who guides us. We cannot tear at the Body of Christ at the same time.

The Year for Priests dedicated to us by the Holy Father can inspire us and offer us a new direction: faith in Christ, faith in priests and faith in every baptized person.

There is a general expectation for a time of peace, justice and reconciliation. The events that we have lived through and continue to live at this time, prove that there is always a reason for hope, and that after every night we find ourselves in, there is a dawn and the new day is heralded in.

Every one of us is weak, is a sinner; but together we must listen to the Word of God, we must live it, to build our Church-Family in communion.

May God bless us and give us the strength of perseverance and of authentic witness!

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H. Exc. Mons. Jean-Baptiste TIAMA, Bishop of Sikasso, President of the Episcopal Conference (MALI)

The Church in Mali works alongside other sons of the land, for the people of Mali to achieve that deep peace that we all hope for, despite the difficult situations they are going through.

Living in a democratic regime, the country alternates political regimes without armed confrontations. However, democracy is badly placed at times due to constitutional manipulations and armed rebellions. In the north of the country the Tuareg uprisings have threatened to compromise national peace. However, thanks to the true attachment to the value of peace, the loss of human lives was limited. The symbolic ceremonies of the victory of peace have allowed for the dressing of wounds.

In 2003, in their pastoral letter “And if we rehabilitate politics!”, the bishops turned the attention of political parties to their role as teachers of militants, of animation of the political scene and of subordination to the primacy of service to the nation and not to the partisan interests of coalitions or of members.

With a growth of 5% in 2008, today Mali accumulates riches; however, poverty is rife everywhere, with its corollaries of corruption and misappropriation; the poor seem to be the easy prey of injustice. Even the Church suffered in the conflict over land.

The Church is present, through its organisms and its associations and the support of partners in development, in the domain of education and health. This year the Mali Caritas celebrated 50 years. The many emergency aids and programs of social and economic promotion bear witness to the unfailing bond between faith and action.

The religious leaders (Catholic, Protestant and Muslim) have benefitted from the State’s invitation to meetings for reflection on the great societal questions to create “the Holy Alliance of Religious”. This is a quality group, where the leaders of the religious communities exchange and decide together on actions to favor peace between their respective communities but also between certain social groups and the governm
ent in case of crisis. The question of AIDS is today taken into consideration in the activities of the Sacred Alliance.Recent social movements that have emerged due to a new code for persons and family, have opened a large construction site of reflection between law, democracy and cultural values, especially religious ones.

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Rev. F. Edouard TSIMBA, C.I.C.M., Superior General of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Missionaries of Scheut) (UNION OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL)

Men and women, faithful to the Gospel, commit themselves to the point of martyrdom at times, for a more just and united world. Our peoples have achieved certain national reconciliations which are models for other continents. The looks that many cast on so called breakdown in growth must therefore be changed.
But much still needs to be done. Our beautiful declarations, our documents do not automatically change the reality of our peoples. The messages of reconciliation, of peace, of justice and of unity are not for appearance, in the first place. They are also for ourselves because the external crisis is also “ad intra”. Reconciliation cannot be accomplished by speeches and declarations. It is a preferential option of life, which requires daily conversion on our part, within our Church and our communities. Our mission of healing relations between people will never be achieved unless true forgiveness, the search for truth, the concern for justice, can be seen in our own communities, in a word a true love in a community of brothers and of sisters… It does not serve to speak about peace to others if true peace does not exist in our own communities.

We must refresh the manner of thinking about our religious commitments. The time for continuous formation has become necessary. It is also necessary that we promote an effective movement of re-foundation.

May our Catholic schools and universities form hearts and not only heads; may the weapons industries cease to exist.

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H. Em. Card. Christian Wiyghan TUMI, Archbishop of Douala (CAMEROON)

Sin distances man from God, makes him an enemy of God. God takes the initiative to save man. The latter returns to God through repentance. His sacrifices lean to “appeasing God” until then irritated by disobedience.

It is in Jesus Christ that man is fully reconciled with God. Erasing the disobedience of Adam (Rm 5:19), Jesus makes peace through the blood of His Cross. Christ accomplishes man’s reconciliation with God.
Reconciled with God through Jesus Christ, men are brothers and sisters. Embracing the Word of Christ leads men to allow themselves to be reconciled with God. Christ’s faithful become missionaries of forgiveness.

Thus, to be reconciled with neighbor, reconciliation with God is an inevitable prerequisite. Reconciliation in our families, between people of earth is not possible without God. Only men reconciled with God can build a world of peace and justice.

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H. Exc. Mons. Claudio Maria CELLI, Titular Archbishop of Civitanova, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (VATICAN CITY)

The final message of the I Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held in 1994, underlined the communication challenges facing the Church-Family of God in Africa, mentioning the need to be creative in the first areopagus of modern times: “As long as we remain only consumers in this domain we ran the risk of changing our culture without wishing to and without even knowing that we are doing so.”

The Exhortation “Ecclesia in Africa” dedicated 11 articles to the media and social communication and made it one of the five pillars for the edification of the “Church-Family of God”. Following the first Synod, social communication faculties were created within Catholic universities and radio and TV broadcasters. Today there are at least 163 radio stations broadcasting in 32 countries(before 1994 there were only 15) that are run and managed by dioceses, congregations and Catholic organizations. Some dioceses have websites: there are many publications at a regional, diocesan or parochial level.

In August 1999, CEPACS published a continental pastoral plan entitled “A Communicative Church” that incorporated the recommendations of Ecclesia in Africa.

Undoubtedly there have been “positive developments”, but the Instrumentum Laboris confirms that there has not been much follow-up to the decisions that were made. Up to now many people know nothing about the CEPACS pastoral plan that was published in 1999. Without coordination and planning, communication (EIA, no. 126) cannot be effective: there is a need, therefore, to establish regional and national pastoral plans and strategies, though this is unthinkable without the presence of competent human resources.

It would seem to be opportune also to support the associations of Catholic communicators, “providing a healthy human, religious and spiritual formation”. I am thinking of UCAP (African Catholic Press Union), the continent’s branch of the UCIP.

Recent developments in IT technology have led to a new culture that we call digital. It is true that in the broader African context this culture is still not very substantial, but recent data shows that its growth is surprisingly rapid.

All this poses a pastoral challenge to the Church in Africa: how to have dialogue, how to be present, how to evangelize such a culture?

We should also, finally, underline the need for a continental press agency for the Church in Africa as soon as possible.

Last April, our Pontifical Council for Social Communication, with AMECA, organized a study seminar for about 80 young people on the theme of communication in the service of justice, peace and reconciliation.
This first initiative satisfies the need to promote formation at all levels. The challenge I referred to will not be resolved only with ever more sophisticated technological tools, but, above all, with people properly trained in the communications sector. For this reason the Pontifical Council is willing to collaborate with the various Episcopal Conferences and provide scholarships to encourage the formation of priests and religious.

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H. Exc. Mons. Joseph KUMUONDALA MBIMBA, Archbishop of Mbandaka-Bikoro (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)

Since the implantation of the Church in Africa and especially in the Dem Rep Congo, school education has always benefitted from the special attention of the Church. For this reason, all levels of schools as well as higher institutes and universities are places for the apostolate. The Church invested itself to ensure an integral formation of man according to the evangelical vision to the goals of guaranteeing its spread and making it apt in putting its talents at the service of the community.

However, the many-faceted crisis tied to continuous wars has led to deplorable consequences in the field of education. These deplorable consequences may last too long if we are not careful. Because a poor education compromises the future of generations of young persons and sacrifices the potentialities which would have been useful to the entire nation. This is unjust and cannot guarantee peace. Because the frustrated youth are at the mercy of sinners/fishermen in troubled waters.

In a climate of complaisance generated by dishonest practices, the quality of teaching cannot be guaranteed. The organizers, managers and parents are all conscious that the diplomas do not represent an intellectual and moral level that is appropriate to the needs of the scientific and labor world. Naturally, the Church which continues to invest a good part of its personnel is not satisfied by these results.

To better the Church’s work in the educational domain, we propose:

1. To imagine a system of teaching management that guarantees the freedom of the Church for quality formation of youth;

2. To incite a direct partnership between international organizations (UNESCO) and the Church so tha
t the allotted means for the formation of young people may truly and directly benefit the education of youths;

3. That Congregations whose charism is education commit themselves more in schools by watching over the children of the poor, especially, to stop the emergence of social divisions;

4. That formation ensure the creation of employment.

In doing the above, we are certain that the Church in Africa could accomplish what it must in its mission in this sphere where the future is created; then she would be able to guarantee to all young persons the same opportunities and the same chances for a future of justice and peace.

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H. Em. Card. Renato Raffaele MARTINO, President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace (VATICAN CITY)

In his speech during the closing of the Conference presenting the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in Africa (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, August 27-30, 2008), Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino asked the participants to apply the document paying attention to the different socio-cultural realities in their countries, without waiting for somebody else to do that for them or in their stead, because it concerns the responsibility of the local Churches of the continent. It was happily noted that these, through many initiatives, contributed to the spreading of the Compendium. It is for the Africans to be the salt of the earth and the light for the world on this beautiful continent, so different and so rich.

The bishops are encouraged to find the best forms for the spreading and correct interpretation of social doctrine, to translate and teach it, in the African languages as well, especially in the institutes of priestly and religious formation, in catechesis, in the higher Catholic institutes and centers for education, in the associations of professions, especially with the Catholic parliamentarians, politicians and magistrates.

Commitment to reconciliation, justice and peace and the task of transforming the social realities cannot lead to good without the inspiration of the social doctrine of the Church, which continues to offer its light to mark out the paths of man, of society and of the Church in the heart of the world today.

To stimulate a deeper knowledge and greater spreading of this doctrine, I suggest, for Africa, the creation of a Catholic Superior Institute, with a continental and universal vocation, specialized in social teachings.

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Rev. F. Gérard CHABANON, M. Afr., Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) (UNION OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL)

I would like to develop the theme of Interreligious Dialogue as a path towards reconciliation. The map of our world and that of Africa in particular, is sprinkled with bloody conflicts which unfortunately have been going on for a long time.

I am thinking in particular of the situation of the countries of the Great Lakes but also of Darfur. These conflicts, almost all of them, without exception, have a religious dimension and elements.

Interreligious dialogue, as we know, can take on different forms: from dialogues of life to spiritual encounters.

It is a narrow path, at times harsh and perilous, which demands above all great confidence in the other. A trust that is not naivete but the desire to understand, to know, to love. It seems to me that the foundations of interreligious dialogue are above all spiritual attitudes.

But this dialogue is not reserved to specialists. It is in the numerous large African villages, the day-to-day lives of the many Christian families who share the same roof, the same kitchen as their Muslim brothers and sisters.

The people in charge of the Church must help these Christians, to enlighten them and to invite them to walk together towards a better future. We all need this in order to rise above a certain number of prejudices, preconceived notions and alarmist notions.

In conclusion, I would like to make a practical proposition. Numerous Episcopal Conferences, dioceses, and parishes have formed Justice and Peace commissions.

Rather than create, or add another commission for interreligious dialogue, I would suggest that to these already existing Justice and Peace commissions, one or two individuals be added who are sensitive to the interreligious questions who enable them to enlighten, explain and accompany this essential dimension.

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H. Exc. Mons. Joachim NTAHONDEREYE, Bishop of Muyinga (BURUNDI)

In Burundi, the dual contrasting experience of a deadly civil war and the arduous task of restoring peace through reconciliation in justice has convinced us of the need to work together on a regional and inter-regional level.

Even if different from one country to the other, the history of socio-political conflicts in our region presents common constants that require the conjugation and the coordination of efforts in the search for reconciliation and peace.

Also, we the members of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi, encouraged by our shared experience with the Episcopal Conference in Tanzania since 2002 on the pastoral of refugees and displaced persons by war, would like to propose the following:

That this assembly renew again the recommendation already made by in Ecclesia in Africa for an “organic pastoral solidarity” (EA 131-135). At the regional and inter-regional levels, we must take to heart the need for working in synergy through the intermediation of organs able to analyze the situation and coordinate action, as well as the appropriate mechanisms for following up and evaluation.

As regards the Region of the Great Lakes, we reiterate to ACEAC and the AMECEA as well as the Episcopal Conferences of Kenya, Uganda, the Dem Rep Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania, our proposition to soon hold an International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in this area. The Conference would give us the occasion to discuss together the application of this recommendation and our common duty of being the salt of the earth and the light in the dynamic of the permanent Conference begun by our politicians for security, development, democracy and good governance in the region.

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H. Exc. Mons. Jean-Claude BOUCHARD, O.M.I., Bishop of Pala, President of the Episcopal Conference (CHAD)

During this Synod we say and repeat that the Family-Church of God is the place and the sacrament of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace, but how does it practices this ministry? Which is the connection between the various interventions in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace, and the exercise of the sacramental ministry itself? And in the life of Christians and communities, which is the connection between the practice of this “ministry for the reconciliation” (2 Co 5:18), when they are guardians as members of the Church and the celebration in the Church of the sacrament of reconciliation for themselves? In other words: is the sacrament, as currently celebrated in our communities the result and the source of the ministry of reconciliation: a reconciled Church whois pacifier? Or rather is this sacrament not often a kind of rite, quickly despatched, to sort ourselves out personally with God, far from what the apostle Paul says,: » who has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life» (2 Co 3:6).

Should the performance of the Synod on the Church of Africa in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace, be for our communities and our Churches an opportunity to renew the way in which the sacrament of forgiveness and reconciliation is lived? Let us ensure that this sacrament be lived, individually and in community, “in the Spirit that gives life”.

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Rev. Francesco BARTOLONI, C.PP.S., General Moderator of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood (UNION OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL)

The African Church realizes that reconciliation is firstly God’s work in Christ. In this sense reconciliation is more a s
pirituality than a strategy, but it must be a spirituality that leads the members of the Family of God in Africa to becomes ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor 5:20) who create a space for truth, justice, healing and the emergence of a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). It is this spirituality that also leads the Church, as Christ’s ambassadors, to engage in dialogue with the spirituality of the peoples of Islam and of the traditional African religions.

But Africa is not only a place of suffering and exploitation; it is also a continent where many of its countries are experiencing rapid social and economic development. The Church has an important opportunity to encourage and guide this development through the formation of good and honest leadership which works for the happiness and social growth of the whole population of their country without distinction of race, religion and social status. We must encourage the African people to recognize and accept that they have, with the help of God, the ability to create their own destiny. Here the Church has the opportunity to be a vocal advocate for the continuing relevance and importance of the spiritual dimensions of culture, which has long held a central place in African culture.

The African Church must give witness that we have been reconciled by Christ and given his ministry of reconciliation. We do this first by the witness of living as a reconciled community of faith. There can be no authentic proclamation of reconciliation without this first step (53). The road to reconciliation in Africa begins with our acknowledgment of our own need to be reconciled as a Church. The Body of Christ, which is the African Church, must be united in the love of Christ. We must be the model of unity in which all members of the body are willing to share in the suffering of one, just as we share in each other’s joy (1 Cor 14:26). In this way, we demonstrate the unifying power of the waters of baptism and the Precious Blood of Christ and we are able to invite all to participate in the redemptive mystery of Christ.

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H. Exc. Mons. Robert Christopher NDLOVU, Archbishop of Harare, President of the Episcopal Conference (ZIMBABWE)

Everyone in the Church regardless of his or her position or status has a duty and responsibility to be an agent of evangelization and an agent of Christian witness. The same goes with the institutions we have in the Church. Bishops are expected to be prophetic agents of the Word in our troubled continent of Africa.

They have to speak for the oppressed people who cry out to their Lord for deliverance. In the discharge of their duties, they shou1d also show the good example of fatherhood in the Church-Family of God and the unity of the Christian family. They should work closely with their priests, who are after all their principal collaborators in the work of evangelization. One area of concern, in my opinion, is the open support by some priests and religious for political parties. This has consequence of dividing the Christian communities they serve. It is also not uncommon to hear that some priests do not lend support to the activities of Justice and Peace in their parishes. It is therefore vital that candidates to priesthood grasp the Church’s Social Teaching during their years of formation. I think the Church has not invested enough in that area. The clergy also need an ongoing understanding of the need for healing at all levels of human suffering; be it family conflict, ethnic conflict or post-war trauma.

The lay faithful are better positioned to be effective agents of reconciliation, healing, justice and peace in the communities. More and more ongoing formation is necessary to make them better equipped agents. The formation can be done through Small Christian Communities programmes or through guilds and association activities.

Catholics generally have a weakness of not engaging actively and positively in politics. Sometimes when they engage themselves actively in politics they become agents of destruction as we recently witnessed in my own country, Zimbabwe.

It is our hope that the Synod will suggest possible ways of how we can improve our societies through genuine reconciliation and working for sustainable justice and peace in our beloved continent.

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H. Exc. Mons. Evaristus Thatho BITSOANE, Bishop of Qacha’s Nek, President of the Episcopal Conference (LESOTHO)

The Church in Lesotho, like many other local Churches of Africa is involved in the area of health, education and in the service of the poor.

Lesotho is about 50% Catholic, and the Church has the majority of schools in the country. From these numbers one would hope that Catholic principles would prevail in the running of the country. On the contrary, people embrace anything that will enable them to have bread on the table even if that is opposed to the teaching of the Church.

Many countries of Africa have signed the Maputo Protocol and Lesotho is no exception to that. Even though the services of our Catholic hospitals are appreciated by many we are afraid that many abortions will be performed in private hospitals.

What the Church of Lesotho needs urgently in order to continue its service to the poor is for the Sister Churches of the developed world to influence their governments not to impose ideologies that are foreign to Africa. During this period of transition to financial self reliance, Africa still needs the support of its Sister Churches of the developed world.

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H. Exc. Mons. Franklyn NUBUASAH, S.V.D., Titular Bishop of Pauzera, Apostolic Vicar of Francistown (BOTSWANA)

Botswana is a small stable democratic country with good governance and the rule of law. We are a middle income country that attracts people from other places of Africa. We are a haven for peace as we have no experience of war or conflict in our country. There are a good number of refugees seeking asylum. We have peace because of our traditional mechanism of the kgotla, i.e. the court of the ruler where dialogue is respected. Our belief is that the greatest war is one of words. The church has introduced this cultural practice to the parishes to help make and promote peace and understanding.

Right now, there is a strain on our resources, job market and health facilities because of the influx of people due to the socio-political situation of the region. We are concerned about xenophobia due to the present harsh economic downturn. The church has been with the people promoting peace and brotherhood. There has been no need for minorities to use violence to make their concerns known.

AIDS is a challenge for the countries in Southern Africa. Botswana is working hard through education to prevent new infections. Treatment is available for citizens but unfortunately not for refugees and foreigners living in the country. AIDS has ravaged the foundations of Botswana society. It has the potential to be used as a weapon of war and conflict. How do you forgive one who deliberately infects you with the killer virus?

The Catholic Church is only about 81 years old in Botswana with about 4% belonging to the church. Our educational institutions have contributed to the education and formation of leadership in the country thus contributing to the prevailing culture of peace.

The church also works ecumenically with the World Council of Churches and other NGO’s to relieve suffering and promote brother/sisterhood, thus eliminating the need to fight for scarce resources. We seek to be salt that preserves peace by being faithful to our cultural practices that promote peace. The church in Africa can learn from the experiences of Botswana to promote peace.

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Rev. F. Jacob BEYA KADUMBU, C.I., Vicar General of the Belgian Josephites (UNION OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL)

The first African Synod defined the living ecclesial communities as the pastoral priority of the Church in Africa. In fact, the Church in Africa cannot take on the challenge of reconciliation, justice and peace, by ignoring the experience and contributi
on from these small communities.

They are the places for the prevention and resolution of conflicts, places where the Mystery of Christ is revealed and becomes a known reality, believed and lived. In these communities gratuity, solidarity and a common fate reign; each is motivated in building the Family of God, a family completely open to the world and that excludes nobody.

Unfortunately, this approach is far from being a reality. We witness killings and pillage in Africa, where some members of the CEV are implicated. The sincerity of their fraternity and solidarity is questionable. Therefore, it becomes necessary and urgent for the human fraternity of CEV to stop basing itself on blood, but to itself base on faith in Jesus Christ.

Outside of the sacrament of reconciliation, the privileged instrument of reconciliation with God, with oneself and with others, the CEV lives other experiences of reconciliation, such as the word, which we must not under-estimate.

Definitely, the CEV lives in places of celebration and life of theological virtues.

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H. Exc. Mons. Cyprian Kizito LWANGA, Archbishop of Kampala (UGANDA)

In order to fulfill the vision of Caritas Africa, which is to have life in its fullness (Jn 10:10), we consider that our mission is to bear witness to the love of God (Acts 1:8) by working for the integral development of the human being with priority attention to the poor and most destitute. Africa is daily confronted with enormous challenges and very large segments’ of the populations of many countries of Africa are suffering from conflicts, social unrest, wars as well as from natural disasters and calamities such as drought, f100ds and cyclones. Diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and others that are less publicized, are also causing a lot of difficulties to individuals and families.

In every country, Caritas is present te address these many issues and bring relief to the most vulnerable members of society. The role of Caritas however is not only to intervene in situations of emergency and to provide assistance. Its role goes far beyond that stage. lt is called upon to contribute to the integral development of individuals. This combined mission of Caritas is often misunderstood but is well put into practice in Africa.

A quick glance overleaf of the work done by Caritas organizations in Africa shows c1early the broad spectrum of ali the activities that take place in each and every country. Empowerment of communities, education and training for development in rural areas, healthcare, environmental stewardship, capacity building to sustain development, life skills managemel’1t training, governance training, psycho-social counseling are some of the activities that are common in many Caritas organizations in Africa. As such, they contribute fully to reconciliation and to the enhancement of social justice in their respective countries.

The work cf many national Caritas organizations in Africa is supported by Caritas partners from developed countries from other regions of the world. This most effective partnership is highly commendable. As a confederation,.· we share common values and principals, respect the dignity of human beings, believe in solidarity and sharing, are dedicated to service and are convinced that subsidiarity is the key to harmonious cooperation between partners.

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H. Exc. Mons. Jorge Enrique JIMÉNEZ CARVAJAL, C.I.M., Archbishop of Cartagena en Colombia (COLOMBIA)

Thousands and thousands of Blacks were brought to America where they were auctioned off, then worked to death.

Cartagena had the misfortune to be one of the main ports of this awful commerce but had also the great one of housing that great witness to sanctity, the Jesuit Saint Pedro Claver, apostle of the slaves, whose body rests in our Cathedral, who lived to protect them and lead them towards the faith and teach them love for God and love God’s love, a love that undoubtedly helped them survive and today allows them to express themselves from the perspective of Christian faith.

Pedro Claver was waiting for the “slave boats” with a different viewpoint from those who were doing business with them.

For those traders they were “work slaves” but for the apostle the “children of God” were arriving and they asked to understand the whole truth of the Gospel.

Blacks grows in Faith and live it but ask why their companion who practices the same faith uses the whip and they do not find an answer.

This entire chapter of the “Universal History of Infamy” as Sabato, calls it, happened 15 centuries after the advent of our Lord Jesus and is part of the darkness that we have to overcome in order to reach a higher level of dignity in a “falsely globalized” world.

Africa is the “Great Country”, the source of all our Black awareness from Canada to Tierra del Fuego, including all the marvelous presence of this race in the Antilles and in the Caribbean

How many things that made the American Continent great were possible, only because of the contribution of the Blacks, heirs of many treasures still to be unearthed, heirs of a great wealth of symbols that with time would enrich the Christian message, heirs of that same joy with which their ancestors embraced Faith, no matter how hard life was for them.

The history of Africa in America is not the story of yesterday but is alive today!

For this reason, I believe that this Synod should also speak about Blackness in America (I hope they notice the use of the word American to include all of America – North and Central America, the Antilles, the Caribbean, South America).

A great part of their heart lives and will continue to live in Africa and those who follow them here will appreciate and live it as their own.

* * *

H. Exc. Mons. Velasio DE PAOLIS, Titular Archbishop of Telepte, President of Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See (VATICAN CITY)

The theme of justice occupies a fundamental place in the reflection of this assembly. It is in the title, and also runs through the entire text of the Instrumentum laboris, just as in the Relatio ante disceptationem.

The Christian life has its roots in Christian love, which Jesus reveals as signs of his presence among his disciples (Cf. 13:25). However, the realization of the witness of love necessarily passes through the witness of justice.

The rigorous concept of justice that belongs to the past was elaborated and perfected in the Christian tradition, like the virtue that is given to everyone, to those who are members of the Christian heritage; in fact, in the Christian faith is revealed a new splendor, because the Christian faith highlights the dignity of the human person in a luminous manner, with a range of rights and duties, which are perpetual. Justice like this, even on the path of love and the path to love, and therefore open to the freedom to love, hold a specific role as underlined by the Holy Father Benedict XVI in the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 6.

Justice has to be translated into practice; in fact it is the practice that constitutes the verification of the doctrine that is enunciated.

There would no point proclaiming rights if these were not then adequately protected.

Justice is established with a proper administration of justice that ensures within the community the suum for each believer.

This presupposes that suitable means exist and are used properly, that the laws of the Church are respected, by means of the competent organisms, particularly through the tribunals provided by Canon Law. Justice is guaranteed when everyone submits to the same Church law and everyone’s rights are respected. We demand, above all, that the exercising of authority be truly evangelical, a service to the people, following the teaching of Jesus and his example.

As disciples recognize each other in the practice of evangelical love, similarly the exercising of authority in an evangelical way can be seen in the fact it is
carried out in the image of the Son of Man who came not to be served, but to serve and give up his life.

* * *

H. Exc. Mons. Joseph Mukasa ZUZA, Bishop of Mzuzu (MALAWI)

In promoting reconciliation, justice and peace, the Catholic Church needs to work together with other Christian Churches and Moslems. In Malawi the Catholic Church is providing services·in healthcare, education, development and good governance through the following ecumenical and inter-re1igious bodies:

— Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in civic education, advocacy, constitutionalism and good governance.

— Christian Services Committee (CSC) for development.

— Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) – coordinates and advises Churches in healthcare.

— Association of Christian Educators in Malawi (ACEM) – coordinates Churches education activities.

— Malawi Interfaith Aids· Association (MIAA) – coordinates and facilitates faith communities in HIV / AIDS.

— Ecumenical Counselling Centre (ECC) trains people in counseling especially in response to HIV / AIDS.

While we are grateful for working together in all these ecumenical and inter-religious bodies, there is still some mistrust and bad will It is a challenge but we continue to work together for the good of our people and our nation, Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa.

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