“Once again we are concerned about the activism of armed groups and the insecurity in the border areas between our three Countries”, say the Bishops of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, in a declaration made known at the end of the 13th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Bishops’ Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC), which was held from June 24th to 26th in Kinshasa.
“This situation continues to cause many victims and the migration of populations”, continues the document, sent to Fides News Agency. “We feel close to all the victims of violence, injustice, and Ebola, which we entrust to God in our prayers. We encourage policymakers to develop dialogue as a means of resolving conflicts”, say the Bishops of ACEAC, who reaffirm their commitment to issues such as migration, natural resources, environment, justice, peace, reconciliation, exploitation of mineral resources. “The accompaniment of political actors in the promotion of the rule of law in the ACEAC area seems to us to be an intrinsic dimension of the Gospel and of our mission”, underline the Bishops.
In this regard, the members of ACEAC decided to integrate the Social Teaching of the Church into the formation of future priests and recommended the development of structured and systematic programs for the duration of the formation. “Their concern is to reduce the gap between the theoretical formation received during formation and the practical needs that priests describe in fulfilling their mission”.
In the course of the assembly works, the sexual abuse of minors by the ecclesiastics was discussed. To this end, the participants listened to the testimony of Fr. Olivier Fröhlich, Vicar General of the Diocese of Tournai (Belgium), who shared Belgium’s experience in assisting victims and in collaborating with the civil justice system.
During the Assembly His Exc. Mgr. Marcel Madila, Archbishop of Kananga of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was elected President of ACEAC; while His Exc. Mgr. Vincent Harolimana, Bishop of Ruhengeri in Rwanda was elected Vice President and His Exc. Bonaventure Bizimana, Bishop of Rutana in Burundi as second Vice-president.