© Fides

White Fathers Note Challenges in DRC

‘To accompany the process of democratization of the country in order to build a new society’

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«The challenges to be undertaken for the Democratic Republic of Congo are clear: the population must be accompanied so that, starting from a conscience towards justice and one’s neighbor, it becomes able to live in peace, in order to build a new society.» This is what Italo Lotti, a priest among the White Fathers (also called Missionaries of Africa) said in an interview with Agenzia Fides, who for forty years worked in various areas of Congo, reiterating the central role played by the Congolese Church in the process of democratization of the nation.

The arduous journey to have strong institutions and the rule of law is the only path in which the African country can express its full potential. Despite the many doubts about the results of the presidential elections held last December, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the missionary notes, tries to look ahead and hopes for a real change: «The Church was one of the protagonists in the last election – explains Father Lotti – both because it accompanied the preparation of the population to the vote and because it deployed 40 thousand observers in polling stations scattered throughout the country.»

Speaking of the social and economic challenges of the vast African nation, the missionary explains that the Congolese territory has a varied geographical conformation, so it becomes necessary to find different ways to meet the local population and to offer them the religious presence and support for development: «The country is divided into three large areas: there are the large urban centers, the forest, and the savannah. In the cities, due to the high population density, one works for small communities and establishes even more frequent Sunday Mass meetings. In the savannah and in the forest, the presence of missionaries always has not only education and religious life as a priority, but also the realization of some primary services such as school, health care, maternity care, dispensaries or centers of cure for childhood malnutrition. In the southeast of the country, where mining is more intense. Young people no longer go to school, many young people go to look for diamonds and other precious minerals. In other areas – he continues – instead, the challenge is development», as in the Kivu region, on the border with Rwanda, where the civil war has caused over 5 million deaths in the last ten years.»

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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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