Interventions of Fraternal Delegate and Auditors at 9th Congregation

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here are the English-language summaries provided by the Vatican press office of the interventions given by one fraternal delegate and four auditors Friday afternoon at the Ninth General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

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[The summary of the address of the fraternal delegate]

His Excellency Barnaba EL SORYANY, Bishop of the Copt Orthodox Church in Italy

We have cherished memories of Africa, from the moment our father Abraham arrived and when Jacob and his sons came to live in Egypt, the land where Moses grew up and from which, by the hand of God, freed the people of Israel. The dear land which welcomed the Holy Family fleeing from persecution. The Egypt of St. Mark and his evangelization of the peoples. The country where the monasticism of Saint Anthony Abbot was born. Saint Athanasius and Saint Cyril the Great and many Saints and Martyrs who sacrificed their lives to defend our Christian faith.

We all know that this continent has suffered greatly from colonialism which exploited its natural resources and was not concerned with its populations, who were left in poverty, illness, hunger, complete abandonment. Not to mention the wars which have stained our beloved Africa with blood and still continue to devastate; the exploitation of child soldiers, persecutions and day-to-day violence of Christians in the social sphere, the destruction of family values.

Here lies the Church’s duty in evangelization through the culture of charity, the promotion of peace and love which is concretized in healing the sick, helping the poor, defending the oppressed, in short, raising up the human being. Of fundamental importance is the care of worship, catechesis for children and their families, to make them feel welcomed in the one family of Christ.

Brothers, let us go! Let us complete the path of the apostles, those who set forth into the world to evangelize without owning anything yet full of faith in the work of the Holy Spirit. Let us bring the living message of Jesus to all these countries who live in need and poverty but which are spiritually rich with the grace of Jesus.

Let us join in prayer for the accomplishment of the work of God in service to these countries, strong in patience and in the hope that tomorrow will be better than today and that the world might hear the voice of those who suffer so that Divine Providence may extend them a hand.

Let us go! Let us leave the many difficulties aside and look at the most important thing which is the building of the Kingdom of God in this continent, to bring the Word of God to each and every one, this is our goal.

My wish is for a good conclusion to this Holy Synod, that it may echo greatly in the world, so that the works it produces may be achieved.

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[The summaries of the auditors]

Mr. Laurien NTEZIMANA, Licensed in Theology, Diocese of Butare (RWANDA)

I would like to briefly recount my adventure as a lay theologian searching for a spirituality that gives justice to the “indoles saecularis”, that “sign of secularity” that makes a layperson a child of the Church living in a world to transform it from within as the leaven, salt, breath and light.

In 1990, at the end of my studies in the third cycle of theology at the Catholic University of Leuven, I wrote a book which was published eight years later by Karthala Editors entitled Libres paroles d’un théologien rwandais: joyeux propos de bonne puissance. The good power I speak about in this book is that of Christ, the other being false powers, that is, lures that lead those that believe in them astray. The good power is a trinomial whose first aspect is assurance or non-fear, the second force is living or non-resignation and the third, absolute acceptance of others or non-exclusion. What I call “the principle of good power” thus is a translation in practical terms of the theological virtues.

Between 1990 and 1994, I used the principle of good power in the theological service of leadership entrusted to me by the bishop of the Diocese of Butare, Mons. Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, of happy memories, to form those responsible for the Christian communities in the public dimension of faith; between April and July 1994, the principle of good power allowed me to withstand genocide and help, to the best of my abilities, my Tutsi brothers and sisters; between September 1994 and September 1999, I used the principle of good power to form the leaders who then brought the Good News to the hills of Butare during the terrible situation of the immediately post-genocide; the Peace Award of Pax Christi International in 1998 came to recognize the universal value of this work; when in 1999, what happened between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:39) happened between the clergy and myself, the principle of good power allowed me to found the Modest and Innocent Association (www.ami-ubuntu.org) which, since February 2000, despite prison and other tribulations, works with success towards reconciliation among the Rwandans. The “Theodor Haecker Preis fur Politischen Mut und Aufrichtigkeit” in the German town of Esslingen am Neckar came to realize the solid foundations of this commitment in February 2003.

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Bro. Armand GARIN, Little Brother of Jesus (France), Regional responsible of Little Brothers of Jesus for Northern Africa (ALGERIA)

In the nearly completely Muslim countries of the Maghreb, according to the example of Jesus of Nazareth and following Charles de Foucauld, in fidelity to the Gospel, Christians strive to live as brothers with their Muslim friends and neighbors. They believe that it is possible to live an authentic life of sharing, listening, welcome and service in drawing near to the Muslims, especially the young and the poor. That supposes knowing the other in an interior way in his cultural and religious traditions. The foreigner, without knowing it, moves us to deepen our faith and to live the Gospel in a more real and radical way. The parables or the examples of Jesus’ life appear to us as a new day. And a veritable spiritual solidarity may be born, therefore, with Muslim friends, believing in a single God, by means of gestures which are at times the taste of eternity and are the sign of a genuine communion.

This is possible because as Christians and Muslims, we strongly believe in the fraternity of Adam (we are all creatures of God) and in the fraternity of Abraham. But, since the coming of Jesus, for us, fraternity between all men takes its source in our faith in Jesus died and raised so that all might have life. We believe that Jesus is mysteriously present in our encounters.

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Prof. Raymond RANJEVA, Vice-President Emeritus of the International Court of Justice (Netherlands), Member of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace (Vatican City) (MADAGASCAR)

Aspects of the Truth

— truth of facts – prevention against malicious revelations, a material and sensible
reality

— Truth of commitments – pacta sunt servanda

— Truth in the exercise of responsibilities – active witness

Truth and its functions in reconciliation

— refusal of instrumentalization to the profit of hatred and manipulation of political Justice

— knowledge and measure of unjust situations and of the breakdown of peace

— to implement: – correction and suspension of the unjust situation

— eradication of causes which created false justice in false truth

Inadequate character of a purely human approach to the Truth:- absence of a guarantee about relativism: power struggle, scheming, cunning

— taking into account the necessary religious consideration of faith

— eliminating the veneer of the religious effect

— permanent interpolation on the basis of the Word of God.

Social Doctrine of the Church

— doctrinal and intellectual framework of the analysis of the aspects of reconciliation, justice and peace

— three-tiered plan: ethical, institutional, prescriptive

— in the setting of the modification of mentalities and of structures

— matter of the entire Church – permanent interaction, horizontal and vertical

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Dr. Elena GIACCHI,
Gynecologist of the Center for Studies and Research on the Control of Fertility, Catholic University “Sacro Cuore”; President of W.O.O.M.B.-Italy (National coordination of the Method of the ovulation – Billings-Italy) (ITALY)

Spreading and teaching the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) all over the world, has always been joined to the proposal of a lifestyle that promotes conjugal love, unity of the family, respect for women and generous opening to acceptance of new life. Because of its effectiveness and simplicity the BOM can be used by all couples in different contexts, regardless of culture, religion or social status; the method has been well accepted not only by Catholic people but also by Muslims, Hindus, and people of other faiths and beliefs. The couple can manage their fertility naturally, whether it is their desire to achieve or avoid a pregnancy, in every situation of a woman’s fertile life: including irregular cycles, breast feeding, pre-menopause, etc.

The BOM contributes to: l) family promotion and responsible procreation in regard to life, conjugal love and fidelity; 2) promotion of a woman’ s dignity; 3) prevention of abortion; 4) prevention from recourse to assisted reproductive technologies, allowing sub-fertile couples to achieve a pregnancy naturally, according to ethical values; 5) prevention of STD’s by teens and youth education to mature sexuality integrating spiritua1, physica1 and psychological dimensions. Teaching the BOM can contribute to promote and spread human and Christian values supporting evangelization and pastoral care.

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