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Leader of Madagascar’s Bishops: ‘We Must Encourage, Pray for Families in Difficulty Because They Are Also Loved by God’

Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana Tells ZENIT How Pope Is Listening to All, Including the Poorest Nations’ Issues

This synod is addressing the concrete struggles of families, says the president of the episcopal conference of Madagascar, especially those from the world’s most poor nations.

In an interview with ZENIT, Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana, the head of Madagascar’s bishops, discussed the difficulties facing his nation and those in similar circumstances, as well as the synod’s efforts to address them.

Moreover, he discusses how the Holy Father is responding and participating, as well as his hopes for developments from this synod, as well as for the next one, and beyond.

ZENIT: Could you tell our readers a little about who you are and your role?

Archbishop Tsarahazana: I am Archbishop Désiré Tsarahazana and I currently serve as the president of the episcopal conference of Madagascar.

ZENIT: What are the largest problems facing the families of Madagascar?

Archbishop Tsarahazana: The greatest problems facing the families there are the economic, political, and social realities. Madagascar is a country that is very poor.

ZENIT: Do you believe this synod is addressing those family problems, effectively?

Archbishop Tsarahazana: Yes, because this synod is very important to the family and sustaining the family, and, above all, seeing the problems of the family, especially in the poorest nations of the world.

ZENIT: Would you say they are doing things, concretely, to help the families who struggle in these poor, suffering nations?

Archbishop Tsarahazana: Everyone really speaks on everything. They are free to speak, to tell the problems of the family, not only those in Africa, Madagascar, or elsewhere, such as in Europe, but really from everywhere …those that want to, especially those who wish to convey the difficulties of the families in their nations.

ZENIT: Do you believe Pope Francis is visible and participating in this synod, in this dialogue?

Archbishop Tsarahazana: Pope Francis listens to it all, from everyone. He doesn’t participate in debates, but he listens and also prays with the synod fathers.

ZENIT: Do you believe that it will be possible to see progress before the next synod, in terms of improving the situation of the situations facing families in Madagascar?

Archbishop Tsarahazana: To speak on the specific changes at this point is really a difficult question, but they, the participants, are really seeking to accompany the family, especially those families which have difficulties. Therefore, we’ll see in the next synod what will happen for the family, but we have to appreciate the family and confront the life in the world, also the Christian life. We must pray for and encourage families, especially those suffering difficulties, because they also are loved by God.

[Interview in Italian and French]


On ZENIT’s Web page:

President of Madagascar Visits Pope This June:

Archbishop Supports Catholic Relief Service Efforts in Nation in 2013:

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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