Posts Tagged ‘Synod for Africa’
Pope Benedict XVI brought the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa to a close yesterday with Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.
In his homily, he said:
Get up, Church in Africa, family of God, because you are being called by the heavenly Father, whom your ancestors invoked as Creator, before knowing the merciful nearness, revealed in his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Take the journey of a new evangelization with the courage that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Meanwhile, the Vatican has at last confirmed that Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson will become the new president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
It’s easy to forget that the Synod for Africa is continuing in Rome. The Synod Fathers have now whittled down their discussions to 54 propositions.
These propositions will be amended in the following days, before being presented to Benedict XVI as the conclusions of the synod.
This first draft was finished Tuesday at 4 am and printed shortly after, for delivery to the synod fathers so they could follow the reading at that morning’s session.
The Synod’s relator-general, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana worked to compile this draft along with the relators of the 12 working groups and two other secretary bishops.
The working groups handed in 282 propositions Friday, which were later unified and summarized in the resulting 54.
But unfortunately we will probably never know what the propositions are:
According to the methodology of the synodal assembly, the propositions – which the Pope uses to write a post-synodal apostolic exhortation – are not published unless the Holy Father decides otherwise.
Photo: A bishop reads a document before the start of a session of the Synod of Bishops for Africa at the Vatican (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The Synod for Africa has reached an important turning point. Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Synod’s general secretary, gave a speech yesterday summarising the 200 or so speeches delivered over the past few days.
His speech, known as the relatio post disceptationem (“report after the discussion”), identified four key themes.
According to John Allen, they were: empowering women, defending family life, responding to globalisation and pursuing dialogue with Islam.
The cardinal said:
The Synod Fathers have heard the cry of women which has been echoed by some of their own members… The Church-Family of God is invited to do something about the grave injustices which have been meted out to them. Women need to be recognised in society as well as in the Church as active members engaged in the life of the Church. Their contribution to the development and the protection of the human family, even in times of conflicts, must be recognised and appreciated.
Turkson then assigned a series of 25 questions for the small groups to ponder. Organised by language, the groups meet today and make reports to the full synod tomorrow. They’ll meet again on Friday, with an eye towards adopting a set of propositions for presentation to the Pope next week.
At the Synod for Africa today, delegates continued their unflinching examination of the problems of the African Church and society in the presence of the Holy Father.
Cardinal John Njue, the Archbishop of Nairobi and president of the Kenyan bishops’ conference, argued that Africa was hamstrung by poor leadership.
The Church in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa has continued to struggle to bring on board systems of governance that address justice through service to the common good. Pastoral letters have continually addressed bad governance which, by and large, can be termed the cancer of Africa.
What is clear in Kenya and the larger Africa is that some leaders would rather stick to constitutions that give them unchecked power leading to anarchy and dictatorship.
Consequently it is urgent: (1) To have a formation programme for people in government. (2) To form good and holy politicians as agents of good governance. (3) To provide chaplaincies for politicians. (4) To strengthen Catholic media so as to enhance moral formation for all. (5) To enhance the prophetic role of the Church everywhere. (6) To aggressively attend to the ongoing formation of all agents of evangelisation, including politicians, based on sound catechism and the social teachings of the Church.
Meanwhile, Bishop Theophile Kaboy Ruboneka, coadjutor of Goma in the Democratic Republic, said the Church needed to place a stronger emphasis on the role of women.
On the basis of our experience in Democratic Republic of Congo, in order to bring some comfort to women and children for the consequences and traumas they have suffered, we propose: (1) Combating sexual violence by going back to its ultimate cause which is the crisis of governance … (2) Creating homes for women and young girls as centres for listening and accompanying these violated and traumatised women. (3) Direct involvement of women in the ‘Justice and Peace’ Commissions: so that women may promote peace and fight against the degrading ideas that affect them. … (4) Formation of women through catechesis and literacy campaigns, to allow them to play their role properly … (5) Creating structures for the promotion of women.
The discussion at the Synod for Africa is moving in an unexpected direction, reports (who else?) John Allen.
Many had expected the speeches to focus on the external challenges of the African Church – poverty, corruption, Islam, Pentecostalism and so forth. Instead, they are highlighting the Church’s own failings.
Archbishop Joseph Aké Yapo of the Ivory Coast leads the charge:
How can the Church in Africa be the salt of the earth and light of the world if she does not question herself about the management of the faithful and of priests, in the practice of power and authority?
If the church wishes to play an effective role as an artisan of peace, reconciliation and justice, she must start by putting into practice from within what she teaches.
The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church addressed the Synod for Africa yesterday.
His Holiness Abuna Paulos is the head of one of the most intriguing and spiritually rich of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. He expressed his great pride at Ethiopia’s unique role in Christian history.
Anthropologists, philosophers, and academicians confirmed that Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular is indeed the cradle of mankind. And the Holy Bible confirms this profound conviction. History, according to the Ethiopian calendar starts from Adam and Noah. That is to say that for the Ethiopians the beginning of mankind, our present and our future is marked today and forever by God and His salvation.
Full text here.