By Carmen Elena Villa
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 15, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Those who want to rule the world with anti-life ideologies can stay out of Africa, one cardinal from the continent is suggesting.
Cardinal Théodore-Adrien Sarr, archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, today encouraged “some people” to “distance themselves from this Western civilization, from what they think should be the rule of the world.”
The cardinal made this comment at a press conference held to give an update on the progress of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. The synod began at the Vatican on Oct. 4 and runs through Oct. 25. On Tuesday afternoon, a mid-way “Report After the Discussion” was delivered by the synod’s relator-general.
Cardinal Sarr was addressing a question raised in reference to the Tuesday publication of a report from the Guttmacher Institute, which informed that “unsafe abortion” results in the death of 70,000 women every year. The report also laments the “highly restrictive” abortion laws in Africa.
Abortion, the cardinal answered, “is not a practice to encourage.”
The prelate noted how the synod fathers have affirmed that life must be respected from its beginning to its natural end.
He added that pastoral ministers in Africa must seek to help women with difficult pregnancies, and noted that “there is an out to difficult maternity that is not abortion.”
Policies against life from conception to natural death “should not be imposed on all the peoples of the world,” Cardinal Sarr declared.
Killing to defend life?
Archbishop Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban, South Africa, also intervened. He questioned the logic of seeking to legalize a practice in which babies are killed in the womb, supposedly to save the life of many women.
“What is death?” he asked. “It is the end of life.
“We have great difficulties in understanding this culture that says that the right to life is a supreme right,” but nevertheless acts out “against the most defenseless.”
Cardinal Napier criticized certain international events and policies, such as the Maputo Protocol, which came into force in 2005 and which, among other things, has encouraged so-called reproductive rights in Africa.
He also referred to the 1995 Beijing conference on women, which he characterized as seeking to “undermine the Judeo-Christian moral system.”
The Church, Cardinal Napier affirmed, defends against policies that propose “pregnancy is an illness.”
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, added by way of clarification that the Maputo Protocol is a “mixture of good elements, such as the condemnation of feminine genital mutilation, and others that are absolutely unacceptable, such as the spread of abortion.”