The Holy See Search



4-25 OCTOBER 2009

The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.
"You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world" (Mt 5:13,14)

This Bulletin is only a working instrument for the press.
Translations are not official.

English Edition


21 - 12.10.2009






We publish below, at the request of the Auditor, a new Summary of the intervention pronounced in the Auditio auditorum (III), in substitution of the text already delivered and then published in Bulletin N. 16 of 10 October 2009.

- Prof. Edem KODJO, Secretary General Emeritus of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Prime Minister Emeritus, Professor of Patrology at the Institute St. Paul of Lomé (TOGO)

Africa aspires deeply to reconciliation, justice and peace. The Church in Africa and its Christians are called upon for this mission more than others. How can Africans be reconciled between themselves?
The process is not easy. Reconciliation is, first of all, an attitude, a disposition of heart, an expression of love for the other, which presupposes the conversion of the whole being, a genuine “metanoïa”, a complete transformation which grace, born of prayer, may grant. Yes, we Africans, we must first of all reconcile ourselves with God, through penitence and prayer.
Reconciliation with others assumes that one has the strength and courage of forgiveness.
Human reconciliation makes a central place for confession which leads to the truth, the indispensable truth and justice. Reconciliation, justice, and truth are found in a sort of trinitarian relationship.
Are Christians trained to play this role? It is not sure! Christian politicians even less. The heart of man being obscure by nature and politics being the muck “par excellence”, they are more exposed than others to the treachery of their faith. It is not enough to denounce it, to malign it. They must change their hearts. Moreover, they are not all condemnable. Isn’t Julius Nyerere susceptible to being beatified? It is necessary to pray for them. It is necessary to educate them. Now, the post-catechetical formation of our Church must be reinvented. What do those on the circles of power really know about the social doctrine of the Church?
Concerning the Christian school , it must be re-Christianized, the laity developed, better associated, playing a full role.
Everywhere in our dioceses chaplaincies for politicians men are necessary.
In any case, the people of Africa expect from this Synod a strong message to call a halt to political deviations and manipulations of any sort, to the desire to stay in power by cheating, to the monopolization of riches for the few, to the alienation of our mining resources, to the sale of our land, to transnational capitalist firms, to the destruction of our environment.
The people know that the voice of the Church is strong, that the voice of the Holy Father rings out loudly. The people know the high degree of moral and spiritual value of our Church. They are waiting; let us not disappoint them!

[00242-02.02] [UP014] [Original text: French]



At 16:30 today Monday, 12 October 2009, with the prayer Pro felici Synodi, led by the Holy Father, the Twelfth General Congregation began, for the continuation of the interventions by the Synod Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. “You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13,14).

President Delegate on duty was H.Em Card. Théodore-Adrien SARR, Archbishop of Dakar (SENEGAL).

At 18:00 the President Delegate gave the floor to the Specially Invited Guest Jacques DIOUF, Director-General of FAO.

At this General Congregation that ended at 19.00 with the Prayer Angelus Domini, 210 Synod Fathers were present.


The following Fathers intervened:

- H. Exc. Mons. Robert MUHIIRWA, Bishop of Fort Portal (UGANDA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Kyrillos WILLIAM, Bishop of Assiut of Copt Rite (EGYPT)
- H. Exc. Mons. Philippe RANAIVOMANANA, Bishop of Ihosy (MADAGASCAR)
- H. Exc. Mons. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- H. Exc. Mons. Raymond Leo BURKE, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Tesfaselassie MEDHIN, Bishop of Adigrat (ETHIOPIA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Norbert Wendelin MTEGA, Archbishop of Songea (TANZANIA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Krikor-Okosdinos COUSSA, Bishop of Iskanderiya of the Armenians (EGYPT)
- H. Exc. Mons. Denis WIEHE, C.S.Sp., Bishop of Port Victoria, President of the Episcopal Conference (C.E.D.O.I.) (SEYCHELLES)
- H. Exc. Mons. Ludwig SCHICK, Archbishop of Bamberg, President of the Commission "Weltkirche" of the German Episcopal Conference (GERMANY)

Below are the summaries of the interventions:

- H. Exc. Mons. Robert MUHIIRWA, Bishop of Fort Portal (UGANDA)

I speak of the great challenge of poverty that I see in my country, Uganda and particularly of my diocese of Fort Portal, which has a population of about one Million Catholics, we have about 2000 Catechists. My diocese like many others in Africa, I believe, have a great potential. For example, a lot good land in rural areas, towns and cities. But as we stand, financially, we are unable to develop this land and sustain ourselves financially. This is the reason why we are always asking for financial assistance from our sister churches in Europe, America and other developed countries for the construction of Churches, building rectories for our parishes, convents, means of transport for our pastoral duties, etc. For all the help we receive we are very grateful, indeed.
However, if we have to be a mature church, and vibrant church which has to be self sufficient and self propagating, we need also to become more self sufficient in depending on own resources which we can be able to tap and be in a position to support the programs of the Church and pay just wages to our catechists, religious and including priests, for the latter this may help them not voluntarily leave our dioceses for greener pastures elsewhere. Besides that we need to put up programs for the youth so that they are not taken by Moslems and Pentecostal Churches which are pouring millions of dollars in our countries to lure them to their religions.
Can we have some more dialogue on the way that our sister Churches or dioceses in the developed world assist us? For example, help sister dioceses and conferences on the possibilities of investment for self reliance, so that we are able to give just wages to our pastoral agents, especially the catechists and others? Can we be able to make some of the pastoral programs on own, overcoming the dependency syndrome, that is causing some donors to be fatigued? Let the wisdom in this expression, sum up my submission: "Give a man a fish, and will be coming to you everyday, but give him a hook and will fish for himself every day".

[00207-02.03] [IN155] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Kyrillos WILLIAM, Bishop of Assiut of Copt Rite (EGYPT)

Out of a total population of 80 million, Christians in Egypt number about 10 million, of which some 300 thousand are Catholics: divided into the majority, Coptic Catholics, then Melkites, Maronites, Syrians, Armenians, Chaldeans and some Latins.
The Catholic Church in Egypt is a small community which preserves its style as universal Church, carrying with it the challenges of all African Churches, each having its own specificity, living in an Arab-Muslim context different from those of other African countries.
It is also a local Church rich in traditions, cultures, rites, and its own liturgy.
The Church in Egypt is present in its social-pastoral activities that are done by dioceses, religious congregations, and lay organizations.
This presence manifests itself in various ways:
We give priority to education. In school, we educate the child to tolerance, respect for the other who is different, and to human values. This training creates bridges between the various religious and social levels.
Socio-economic development: such as the promotion of women, rural activities (literacy, health, microprojects, etc).
Some of the challenges facing the Catholic Church in Egypt: religious fundamentalism, the emigration of cadres of Christians, refugees, ecumenical work which leaves to be desired the appropriate formation of priests, religious and the laity to face the changing Egyptian society and its new pleas. Promoting communion between different rites and new movements within the Church.

[00225-02.03] [IN156] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Philippe RANAIVOMANANA, Bishop of Ihosy (MADAGASCAR)

One can only thank the European organizations, Catholic or not, who financially and materially helped the Churches in the southern hemisphere and certain dioceses in equipping themselves with these instruments. The Church in Africa is grateful to the North for these various aids.
However, this aid is often conditioned by its donors. A large number of programs of the Church in Africa still depend largely on the conditions of the donors. This state effectively threatens the autonomy and propriety on one hand, on the other there is the threat of putting into place projects or structures that are not right for the local Church and recipients. For this, mutual trust and understanding by both parties is necessary in order to avoid tainted gifts.
The investment in social communication means must reach these villages which are isolated and cut off from the world, the farmers who constitute 85% of the population who do not have access to information and training, thus deprived of the minimum of rights and duties of citizens and Christians, while they are called to be the artisans of reconciliation, peace, and justice.
The formation of personnel to the mastery of these highly technological means which never stop evolving, is costly! The formation, often to be followed in Europe, is a necessity, but remains outside the financial possibilities of the diocese. On the other hand, to evangelize the media well, the animators must have a solid Christian foundation. This is the condition for success.
Introducing diocesan radio aims, first of all, at communion between each diocese. But the introduction of a Satellite-Network will contribute a great deal to interdiocesan and national exchanges and sharing, by means of a common program. It has as its mission in encouraging communion in the evangelization effort, that the dioceses appreciate themselves.

[00227-02.03] [IN158] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)

Peace goes hand in hand with justice, justice with right, right with truth.
Without justice, social peace is badly placed. Thus, the promotion of the State of Law is necessary, at any price, where the primacy of the law reigns, notably constitutional law; the States of Law where the arbitrary and subjectivity do not create the law of the jungle; States of Law where national sovereignty is recognized and respected; States of Law where to each one, its due is equitably rendered.
Without truth, it is difficult to ensure justice and to speak of rights. The consequence of this is that right and not right have equal freedom of the city; which makes it impossible to have an harmonious order of things or “tranquillitas ordinis”. “In truth there is peace” (Benedict XVI).
This is why in seeking peaceful solutions, all notable diplomatic and political approaches aim at reestablishing truth, justice and peace.
Christ is our peace, He made peace, He proclaimed peace, so that all Jews and pagans could be made one people. Not by leaving each other with their privileges and their rights, but in abolishing exclusion, in pulling down the wall of cultural and social separation, in destroying the hatred which He crucified upon the cross with his body. Jews and Gentiles are no longer foreigners, or strangers, but close friends, fellow-citizens of the saints, and each one has the same heritage (Eph 3:6) having belonged in the past to the one Israel. In this way, He created a new man, to reconcile them both to God and to give them access to the Father through the Spirit.
It is in doing away with all these barriers, exclusion, discriminatory laws in faith and society, and especially in killing hatred that one reconciles men and peace is made.

[00228-02.02] [IN159] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Raymond Leo BURKE, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature (VATICAN CITY)

The Church as the Bride of Christ is the mirror of justice. She is to announce and safeguard the truth which, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, "alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development" (Caritas in veritate, no. 9). Her teaching and discipline regarding Holy Matrimony, by which the family, the first cell of Her life and of the life of society is formed and nurtured, is fundamental to her fidelity as the mirror of justice in the world.
The matrimonial tribunal, in which the Diocesan Bishop exercises his office of judge on behalf of the faithful who accuse their marriage of nullity, is an essential part of the Church's ministry of justice. Each Bishop must take care, therefore, to establish and rightly order the matrimonial tribunal, a responsibility which he may jointly fulfill through an interdiocesan tribunal.
In contemporary culture, it is essential that the Church announce the truth about the conjugal union between one man and one woman, which is, by its very nature, exclusive, indissoluble, and ordered to the procreation of offspring. The faithful observance of the Church's discipline regarding marriage is one of the proven means "to assist couples and guide families in the challenges they encounter" and to purify the secular culture of practices like "forced marriages" and polygamy.
The decisions of the matrimonial tribunal reflect to the faithful and to society, in general, the truth about marriage and the family. The officials of the tribunal must, therefore, be well prepared by the study of canon law and by experience.
Through the celebration of this special assembly may the Church, drawing upon the particular genius of the African culture, be ever more perfectly the mirror of justice regarding marriage and the family for the sake of the peoples of Africa and, indeed, of the whole world.

[00229-02.02] [IN160] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Tesfaselassie MEDHIN, Bishop of Adigrat (ETHIOPIA)

I have not noticed enough attention accorded to formation which is a fundamental subject to the Church in Africa as she renders her service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace, as "... the salt of the earth ...and the light of the world".
The Church carries out her mission through her structures and institutions, and most basically through Bishops, priests, Religious men and women, catechists and the lay faithful who, at their respective levels, have to play the role of Guides and models in Christian communities as "reconcilers", "just persons", "peace makers".
Priestly Formation work is crucial for this objective to be realized.
We must therefore ensure that the formation we give to our future priests and agents of evangelization helps them be cognizant of the challenges, self-confident, balanced and mature ministers who could stand against and through the serious turbulences of the time.
- There is a serious need to understand the destructive pressures and challenges confronting our societies in Africa today, with special attention to families and youths. This calls upon the Church to design more specific formation programmes.
- The Formation Programmes of the Major Seminaries and Houses of Religious Formation should be given serious attention and evaluation, to determine their quality and effectiveness in producing members of the church who can be true witness to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace - Use our higher learning institutes by establishing a faculty which develops and integrates into its modules the best practices and most effective African cultural ways of reconciliation mechanisms to cater for the training of resource personnel in service to reconciliation, justice and peace, who could render their services at the national, regional and continental levels as need be.
- Appreciation of diversities in our African societies is a reality that cannot be underestimated.

[00226-02.02] [IN157] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Norbert Wendelin MTEGA, Archbishop of Songea (TANZANIA)

Many of our people are tortured, harassed and assassinated simply due to unfounded malicious suspicions fomented by sorcery and witchdoctors. There are no laws to defend them, governments do condone, some leaders do conspire with the witchdoctors, some governments do legalize. Many leaders do believe in sorcery, superstition and occultism. Required: Deeper evangelisation, advocacy and prophetic voice to our governments.
The survival of our farmers is precarious. Often their plight does not feature in the budgets of our governments and very often they are cheated. The Church in Africa must fight for farmers and pastoralists: That they must get their right share in the Budget, that basic infrastructures and basic needs for their work and products are guaranteed, that arrangements be made for stable and good markets, that internal markets be protected, and that they be initiated to saving and lending micro-finance cooperatives.
For our politicians peace means `a quiet atmosphere which allows them to rob and enjoy the money of their countries'. For them, free and fair elections means ` success to bring people to the polls in total ignorance of their inherent rights' and of the malicious maneuvers by the candidates. Politicians believe that being elected means being given the ticket to rob the country.
We love Moslems. It is our history and culture to live with them. But the danger which threatens Africa's freedom, sovereignty, democracy and human rights is first the Islamic political factor , i.e., the intended plan and the clear process of `identifying Islam with politics and vice versa' in each of our African countries. Secondly it is the Islamic monetary factor whereby huge sums of money from outside countries is being poured in our countries to destabilize peace in our countries and to eradicate Christianity.
Ethnicity is a cancer which torments Africa.
We must immediately inculcate reconciliation as our spirituality and life as well as our immediate action.

[00230-02.02] [IN161] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Krikor-Okosdinos COUSSA, Bishop of Iskanderiya of the Armenians (EGYPT)

I would like to share with you the witness that my Armenian Church brings, which after the 1915 genocide, is present in the entire world because of its diaspora.
In 1915, the Ottomans, spurred by jealousy, killed off the Armenian people present in the Armenia Major and in Armenia Minor (Turkey). One and a half million persons perished during this genocide.
The Armenians left and were scattered, first in the Middle East and then throughout the world. Wherever she found roots, the Armenian Church was welcomed and brought with her, her language, her liturgy, her faith, her traditions and her culture.
In 2001, we celebrated 1700 years of the Baptism of Armenia, and Pope John Paul II beatified the Archbishop of Mardine, Ignace Maloyan, who was the head of his people when he gave his life to not deny his faith in Christ.
While this Synod is taking place, that is, 94 years after the killings, following the call by Christ to forgive one’s enemies, the leaders of the Armenian State as well as the Heads of the Armenian Churches (Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical) committed an act of public pardon towards the Turks. We did that while appealing to the Turks to recognize the genocide, to give homage to the martyrs and to grant Armenians their civil, political and religious rights.
The path of reconciliation between the two states has been initiated.
For this, I appeal to the political leaders so that they may support our progress alongside the Turks, with the Universal Church and the African Church in distress.

[00240-02.03] [IN173] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Denis WIEHE, C.S.Sp., Bishop of Port Victoria, President of the Episcopal Conference (C.E.D.O.I.) (SEYCHELLES)

The small islands of the Indian Ocean (Comores, Reunion, Mauritius, Rodriguez and Seychelles) for their geographical situation, their history, and especially their people, are very different from the large countries on the African continent, because they are tributaries not only of Africa but also of Asia and Europe. However, on a pastoral level we have several questions in common. This is the way it is for certain problems in the family.
The Christians who join on the Neo-Catechumenal Path are deeply transformed. I was the witness during one of my pastoral visits on one or another family, to the harmony in the relations between the couple and in the parent/children relationship, and also in regular and deep family prayer.
The CANA sessions organized by the Community of the New Path: about twenty couples participate each time and live together for a week; they are given this time to rediscover the true meaning of their life as a couple and as a family. At the same time, in another location, the children of these families take part in a similar formation, with a pedagogue for their age group. The last day of the session, parents and children find each other again for a family celebration with all the participants. After the session, the couples are invited to various activities among which is participation in the “Fraternities-Cana”.
The “Couples for Christ”, a lay community coming from the Philippines offers programs of formation not only for couples but also for young persons preparing for marriage, for adolescents and for children. The different programs they propose are animated by songs that are very pleasing to youth... and the less young.

[00231-02.03] [IN163] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Ludwig SCHICK, Archbishop of Bamberg, President of the Commission "Weltkirche" of the German Episcopal Conference (GERMANY)

The partnerships among the churches of different continents are to be fostered. These partnerships should not be considered as one-way streets. They have to lead to an exchange of spiritual and also material gifts of the particular churches worldwide.
These partnerships have to be partnerships in prayer, in exchanging of experience and in solidarity. Partnership means mutual participation in the joys and sorrows of each other. These partnerships strengthen the local churches in faith, hope and charity (cf. Rom 1:12). The partners can help each other with priests, members of religious orders, especially sisters, and experts in different areas.
Last but not least in our global world the partnerships among the churches of different continents are necessary in order to continue the dialogue with an unanimous voice with the governments and international political organizations. Only together the churches can be successful in resolving the big problems of fair trade, climate change, non-proliferation of arms, exploitation of natural resources, slave trade, migration problems, etc. The partnerships among particular churches worldwide promote the local churches to become better instruments for reconciliation, justice and peace in the world.

[00232-02.02] [IN164] [Original text: English]


Furthermore, the following Auditors intervened:

- Dr. Alberto PIATTI, Secretary General of the Foundation AVSI, Milano (ITALY)
- Mr. Ermelindo Rosário MONTEIRO, Secretary General of the Episcopal Commission Justice and Peace, Maputo (MOZAMBIQUE)
- Mrs. Barbara PANDOLFI, President General of the Secular Institute of the Missionaries of Christs' Regality (ITALY)
- Rev. Sister Maria Ifechukwu UDORAH, D.D.L., Superior General of the "Daughters of Divine Love", Enugu (NIGERIA)

The summaries of the Auditors are published below:

- Dr. Alberto PIATTI, Secretary General of the Foundation AVSI, Milano (ITALY)

Africa’s greatest treasure is the thirst for Meaning, for the spirituality of God - that in sated Europe has vanished. The revelation that Christ is the answer to this desire of man made for his fulfilment by his Creator, a fulfilment that is present here and now in the Holy Church.
This is the fascination of faith that meets and approaches man’s freedom. This attracts young people.
I say fascination because with my wife I am living the adventure of bringing up 5 children (an African family, almost).
What moves them is the fascination of faith as a knowledge of reality in its deepest truth and certainly not rules and ethical or environmental consequences.
I ask you to reflect whether, often, this tension may seem to be a premise but then, in the act, the tension is not maintained, a dualism and a relativism are introduced in the operative consequences, in our work. Thus too often our agenda appears to coincide with the agenda of international organs and in particular the United Nations: the glass building seems increasingly to be the temple where the new humanist and relativist religion celebrates its rites with the Secretary General of the day in the role of a secular Pope.
For brevity I will refer to two fundamental aspects of our expression of charity: education and health.
For this reason we believe that permanent education is a determining factor in the conscience of the faithful that is aimed at the relationship between Creator and created in action as well. Not just formal education, then. But here the question arises: what are the educational contents transmitted by Catholic schools? We cannot be satisfied with the millennium objectives.
I also ask urgently that the value of the civil and social dignity in the works of the Church be recognized as a contribution to the common good in line with the principle of subsidiarity. The Church offers primary education to 50% of the school population and 50% of basic health services in many countries on the African continent and this is not sufficiently recognized.
In the face of the quantity of service offered to the brothers by the Church, the Global Fund to Fight the Three Great Illnesses only give 3.6% of all the resources it manages to faith-based organizations.
The Ugandan Episcopal Conference has, in this sense, operated admirably but there is still much to do.

[00189-02.04] [UD021] [Original text: Italian]

- Mr. Ermelindo Rosário MONTEIRO, Secretary General of the Episcopal Commission Justice and Peace, Maputo (MOZAMBIQUE)

The Church in Africa has many challenges to face. In Mozambique, for example, during and after the civil war, the Catholic Church collaborated, in many ways, to make persons conscious of national pardon and reconciliation and thus recover the human and social tissue of the people, with regards to peace. It organized the union of all its living forces (laity, religious, priests) to mobilize public opinion on pardon and reconciliation. It promoted teaching the people about peace, through the public speeches of its Bishops in Charters, Communications and Pastoral Exhortations. The local Bishops created systematic encounters of dialogue with the government officials and with the officers of the National Resistance movement to emphasize that it was not weapons, but dialogue that was the right path to achieve peace. The Church also formed more than 2,000 Social Integrators (Leaders of Reconciliation) who brought to all countries the message of forgiveness and reconciliation for peace. Fridays were dedicated to prayer for peace. On other occasions, ecumenical prayer and inter-religious prayer for peace were held.
Facing today’s new realities and new challenges, she must also keep in mind the internal aspects of the Church that could constitute a counter-witness to reconciliation and justice, making the building of peace difficult to achieve.
For all these reasons and many more, we would like to suggest to our pastors who continue persistently in the proclamation of the truth and in the denunciation of all that could harm reconciliation, justice and peace in Africa, for your selfless commitment, dear Bishops, is an example that is growing in each of the faithful that were entrusted to you.
I would also like to suggest to our pastors to strengthen the commissions of justice and peace that they may effectively contribute more and better every time, as salt of the earth and light of the world, in the service of reconciliation, justice and peace.

[00190-02.04] [UD022] [Original text: Portuguese]

- Mrs. Barbara PANDOLFI, President General of the Secular Institute of the Missionaries of Christs' Regality (ITALY)

The members of Secular Institutes are a hidden presence, accepting the precariousness of daily life, side by side with others, without protection and privileges, in search of ways and solutions sometimes only possible, lived with the longing for a universal brotherhood.
Because of this, the vocation of Secular Institutes is evidence of the need for the promotion of a mature laity, that may contribute to the edification of a civil society based on the human values of Christianity.
Particularly in the search for justice and for peace, the experience of the consecrated lay persons, who are inserted into different circles of social life, may favor micro-processes of reconciliation to contribute to a critical consciousness, singling out in the light of the Gospel, alternative ways of justice and sharing. Our life and experiences bring us to look at the world and history, with discernment and a critical sense, but also with a positive vision that starts with the certainty that, everywhere, signs and seeds of God’s presence may be found, that demand acknowledgment, promotion and accompaniment, in the true style of dialogue and witness.
If woman is a pillar of the African society, this is often done in a “hidden” manner, unofficial and unknown, amongst difficulty and prejudice.
Feminine Institutes, making up the majority of secular Institutes in Africa, have an urgent need of favoring and promoting woman’s worth, not just because she is wife and mother, but in her capability for responsibility and autonomy in different circles of social life and the urgency for her distinguishing and not just subordinate presence; in the Church.
If the first fracture in mankind, caused by sin, was that between man and woman, one of the signs of peace and of reconciliation, perhaps, could be given by the promotion of an authentic joint responsibility and of an effective acknowledgment of equal dignity between men and women, beyond all domination and discrimination.
Perhaps the moment has arrived that woman, often, traditionally subjected by man, may truly stand, in all areas of social and ecclesial life, facing man, in dialogue with him. In this sense the Gospel may become an authentic force for change.

[00191-02.04] [UD023] [Original text: Italian]

- Rev. Sister Maria Ifechukwu UDORAH, D.D.L., Superior General of the "Daughters of Divine Love", Enugu (NIGERIA)

I support what His Excellency Bishop Adewale Martins from Nigeria suggested as a plan for the youth - but I wish also to add that attention be given to children as well. The Holy Childhood Association is doing a great work already in some of our countries but a more focused direction can be given to their programmes so that they learn more about Christian culture and Catholic values. A syllabus can be drawn up by dioceses for use in Catholic Schools for religious instruction. It then means that greater attention be paid to the spiritual formation of children in primary and secondary schools. A planned programme for youth activities in the Universities will then be a continuation of work started at primary and secondary levels. When therefore candidates for religious life and the priesthood are drawn from the society in the next ten years, formation will be a lot easier.
About consecrated persons as indicated in the Instrumentum. Laboris Nos. 113 and 114, I want to agree with the submission of His Eminence Francis Cardinal and to add that all agents of evangelization see ourselves as team players for the Church Family of God for effective positive witnessing and not as competitors. Sr. Felicity Harry has made the point for consecrated persons but I wish to suggest, in addition, that regular meetings for dialogue and sharing of ideas be organized for diocesan priests and consecrated persons working in the dioceses. Such occasions can also be used to run workshops on team spirit and team work for all agents of evangelization.
Many indigenous congregations of religious now engage in mission works ad-intra and ad-extra and are faced with the challenge of lack of adequate support from the Church - family of God for their work. I propose that some attention be given to this matter by our Synod Fathers.

[00192-02.02] [UD024] [Original text: English]


First of all I would like to most respectfully and cordially greet you all.
Allow me to express the honor and emotion I feel in having been invited to intervene before this noble Assembly. I hope to express my deep gratitude for your invitation, of which I recognize the exceptional character. It is a singular distinction to be associated with your reflections on some of the crucial problems of the world, especially food/dietary insecurities that you have asked me to speak to you about.
Our dialogue could not be conceived without the intermediation of the word which is symbolic of what is human, but that is also the carrier of the universal message of peace, of solidarity and of fraternity.
Your solemn meeting is placed under the sign of the trilogy: “Synod”, “Bishop”, “African”.
Having the great privilege of speaking before the Most Holy Father, I must draw from the sources of wisdom of the ancients to avoid my venturing on the intellectual labyrinth of two nouns: “Synod” and “Bishop”. I would dare to venture only on the less arduous path of the noun: “African”.
Africa, first of all these are common values of civilization based on an historical consciousness of belonging to the same people. During prehistory, in order to flea the desertification of the Great Lakes region, this people founded the Sudanese-Nilotic and Egyptian civilizations during the course of proto-history . Foreign occupation of Egypt during the Sixth Century engendered migrations to the South and to the West, from the Valley of the Nile. From the beginning of the First Century until the ultra-marine invasions, the great empires and kingdoms flourished here in succession: Ghana, Nok, Ife, Mali then Songhai, Haoussa and Kanem-Bornou, Zimbabwe and Monomotapa, Congo. These values are founded on a geographic consciousness, a territory which is a triangle bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Africa, martyrized, exploited, despoiled by slavery and colonization but now politically sovereign, must not regress into disinclination and negation, even if she has a duty to remember it. She must have the greatness to forgive and to continue to develop a cultural conscience based on her own identity which refuses alienating assimilation. She must study the operational concepts of Blackness and Africanity, including the diaspora, which are founded on the putting down of roots but also on openness.
These values are reflected in an artistic expression (painting, sculpture) that accentuates the forms and the dimensions to above all transmit a message of love or to manifest an emotion that surpasses the dichotomies of oppositions. They also express themselves through music and dances that are more rhythmic and with more improvisation than lyricism and music theory. These values have also produced a type of architecture made of asymmetrical parallelism where points, triangles and cylinders dominate, contrasting with rectangle angles, squares and cubes in a balance with relationship to its central axes, so characteristic of buildings in other continents.
It is this cultural terrain that is the solid foundation upon which Africa must build its future in harmony with the other peoples of planet Earth.
Africa has always been presented under the slants of the difficulties she encounters. But it is a land of the future which in the next forty years will know a strong demographic growth. In 2050, she will number two billion inhabitants - double what it is today, thus passing India (1.6 billion inhabitants) and China (1.4 billion inhabitants) and will represent the largest market in the world.
With world resources amounting to 80% of platinum, 80% of manganese, 57% of diamonds, 34% of gold, 23% of bauxite, 18% of uranium, 9% of petroleum, 8% of gas, Africa cannot be ignored in the economic development of the planet. This mineral and energy potential will not become reality, until, it puts itself at the service of the economic emancipation of its peoples, if Africa frees itself from the yoke of hunger and malnutrition. To do this, she must live in peace and in unity. The administration of the cities in the States must be carried out with democracy, transparency, the primacy of right and the application of law by an independent justice, before which all citizens are accountable for their actions. The economy must create wealth and prosperity to benefit the people, especially the most disinherited and the most vulnerable.
Food security is essential to the decrease of poverty, the education of children, the health of the people, but also for a lasting economic growth. It conditions the stability and the security of the world. During the “riots for hunger” in 22 countries from all continents in 2007 and in 2008, the stability of governments was weakened. Each realized that food is also a social question of the first order and an essential factor in global security.
In 1996, the World Summit of Food, organized by the FAO, took on the solemn commitment to decrease by one half, hunger and undernourishment in the world. Towards this goal, it adopted a program to reach lasting food security. This commitment was reaffirmed at the Summit of the Millennium in 2000, by the World Summit on Food: five years later in 2002 and in the high-level FAO Conference on world food security held in June 2008.
Unfortunately the most recent data gathered by the FAO on hunger and malnutrition in the world revealed that today’s situation is even more worrisome than in 1996. Insecurity has increased everywhere in the world during the last three years because of the world crisis in 2007-2008, brought about by the explosion of prices of perishables and exacerbated by the financial and economic crisis that struck the world for over a year. All the areas of the planet are affected by this. For the first time in the history of humanity, the number of hungry persons has reached on billion, that is 15% of the global population.
In Africa despite the important progress achieved by many countries, the state of food insecurity is very worrisome. The continent today counts 271 million undernourished persons, that is 24% of the population, which represents an increase of 12 % in relation to the year before. Also, among the thirty countries of the world in a state of food crisis needing urgent help currently, twenty are in Africa.
The performance of African agriculture during the last decades has been insufficient. The growth of the agricultural product (2.6% per year between 1970 and 2007) was compensated by that of the population (2.7% for the same period) and the average food available per person has not increased. However, agriculture represents 11% of exports, 17% of the GNP on the continent, and above all 57% of employment. It remains an essential economic sector and a factor of social equilibrium without equivalent.
Africa needs to modernize its means and its infrastructure for agricultural production. The use of modern input locations is currently very insufficient. Thus, only 16 kg of fertilizer by hectare of arable land are made use of, versus 194 kg in Asia and 152 kg in South America. This count is yet weaker in Sub-Saharan Africa with only 5 kg per hectare. The use of selected seeds, which were the success of the Green Revolution in Asia, is still very weak in Africa. Only a third of the seeds is put through a system of quality control and certification.
The infrastructures of transportation, the means of storage and packaging are greatly lacking on this continent. The rural roads are at the level of India at the beginning of the 70s. The losses of harvests reached 40 to 60% for some agricultural products.
Only 7% of arable lands are irrigated in Africa as opposed to 38% in Asia. This count falls down to 4% for Sub-Saharan Africa where on 93% of land, life, I should say survival of the people, depends on rain, a factor that is more and more uncertain with the effects of global warming. However, the continent only uses 4% of its reserves of water versus 20% in Asia.
Also the intra-African commerce in agricultural products is still relatively limited. Despite the existence of 14 regional economic groups, only 14% of imports of the main agricultural products for Africa come from the region. For cereals this number drops to 6%. Intra-regional commerce of agricultural products in Africa, like for other products, should be encouraged more so that it plays a greater role in the food security of the continent.
African farmers should improve their living conditions. They must be able to live in a dignified manner, working with the tools available today. They need seeds with high yield, fertilizers, food for animals and other modern utensils. They cannot continue, like in the Middle Ages, to work the land with traditional tools, in unpredictable conditions, at the mercy of the whims of weather.It must be said and repeated over and over that it is impossible to conquer hunger and poverty in Africa without increasing agricultural productivity, because the extension of the acreage begins to find its limitations due to the impact of deforestation and the forays on the already fragile eco-systems.
The detailed program for the development of African agriculture (PDDAA), prepared with the support of the FAO, and completed by the documents on livestock farming, forests, fishing and aquaculture, was adopted by the Heads of State and the governments of the African Union in July 2003. Immediately after, 51 African countries asked for the support of the FAO to transform this program to State level. Thus, national programs of mid-term investments and projects for investment were prepared for a total of approximately 10 billion U.S. dollars.
The question of water is evidently essential. It will be all the more so because of the consequences of global warming which will have a particularly negative impact on the conditions of agricultural products in Africa. According to the Group from the UN inter-governmental experts on the evolution of the climate (GIEC) the yield of pluvial crops in Africa could decrease by 50% between now and 2020. A union of Ministers of Agriculture, water resources and energy thus was created in December 2008 in Sirte by the FAO with the support of the Libyan government. A portfolio of projects amounting to a total of 65 billion U.S. dollars was approved for short, medium and long term projects of irrigation and hydro-energy established for each country by the African governments with the support of the FAO.
However, we cannot achieve these goals without sufficient financial resources. In fact the problem of food insecurity in this world is primarily a question of mobilization at the highest political levels so that the necessary financial resources are made available. It is a question of priority when facing the most fundamental human needs.
We should recall that each year funds for agriculture in the OECD countries reaches 365 billion U.S. dollars and arms expenses amount to 1,340 billion U.S. dollars per year globally. On the other hand, I would like to emphasize the fact that the necessary funding for the fight against hunger will be increased by 83 billion U.S. dollars per year, coming from the budget of the countries in development themselves, from private investments, notably from farmers themselves and, finally, public aid in development.
What we can see today is the result of choices effected on the basis of materialistic reasons to the detriment of ethical referentials. This results in conditions of unjust life and an unequal world where a small number of persons becomes richer and richer, while the vast majority of the population becomes poorer and poorer.
On the earth there is a sufficient number of financial means, effective technologies, natural and human resources to eliminate the hunger in the world once and for all. The plans, the programs, the projects and the politics exist at national and regional levels to reach this objective. In certain countries, from two to four percent of the population is able to produce enough to nourish the whole nation and even to export, while in the majority of others 60 to 80 % of the population is not always capable of satisfying even a small part of the dietary needs of the country.
The world spent 17% of public funding for development in the 70s to avoid the risks of famine in Asia and in Latin America. These resources were necessary to build irrigation systems, rural roads, means of storage, as well as systems for the production of seeds, the fertilizer factories and food for animals which were the bases of the Green Revolution.
The resources to develop African agriculture should, first of all, come from national budgets. In Maputo in July 2003, the Heads of State and of African governments committed themselves to increasing the part of their national budget allotted to agriculture by up to 10% for the next five years at least. Only five countries have to this day respected this commitment, even if some progress has been seen in other sixteen countries.
Then, in conformity to the commitments of Monterrey of 2002 and of Doha in 2008, public Aid for development should be increased. The tendency to decrease aid for the development dedicated to agriculture, which has gone down by 17% in 1980 to 3.8% in 2006, must be turned around. Today, the level is 5 %, even if 70% of the world’s poor have agriculture as their means of existence, offering nourishment, revenues and employment. The same growth objectives have been adopted for the financing of regional and under-regional banks as well as agencies of bilateral aid.
Finally, the investments from the private sector in the agricultural sector must be encouraged by stable juridical frames of reference. Collaboration between the private and the public sectors must be reinforced in the framework of a partnership that avoids the traps of unequal exchange. Therefore to do this, we must adopt and apply a universal code of good behavior on direct foreign investments in agriculture.
However, in this difficult context of economic crisis, during the last two years the FAO has mobilized all the technical and financial means available to it to face the food crisis.
Apart from the assistance given in the framework of national and regional programs for food security and in the urgent projects launched to face the effects of hurricanes and other natural catastrophes, on December 2007 the FAO launched its “Initiative of the battle against the explosion of prices of perishables”. The objective is to facilitate access for small farmers to seeds, to fertilizers, to agricultural tools and equipment for fishing. Today’s budget for the different relevant projects has been increased to 52 million U.S. dollars in Africa. Also, the projects in 16 African countries, which corresponds to a budget of 163.4 million U.S. dollars, have been put into the works by the FAO thanks to the support of the European Union within the framework of its “Facility of one billion euros”. These resources have been made available to the countries in development to help them face the food crisis. Now this consists in understanding, studying and making these programs and projects flourish.
Today, the flux of the wave of clandestine immigrants fleeing hunger and poverty brings to the shores of southern Europe the sad spectacle of men’s broken dreams, of women and children looking for a better life and who often find a tragic end far from the horizons and persons dear to them.
Structural optimist that I am, I fervently believe that tomorrow, thanks to investments and formation, the ebb of the tide of sons and daughters of Africa towards the fertile lands and abundant waters of the continent will create the conditions for a shining future of work and prosperity for those who for too long were marginalized and who, especially women, did their utmost to nurture the world.
A planet free from hunger, is what the miracle of an unshakeable faith in the omniscience of God and the indefectible belief in humanity can lead to. I have noted how with great satisfaction, the initiative for food security of the G8 Summit in Aquila last July, where I participated, and which placed the accent for the first time, on mid and long term agricultural development, in favor of the small producers of countries in development. In fact, this means not only counting on short term help for food, some being indispensable during the numerous crises, generated by the natural catastrophes and different conflicts, but which cannot ensure daily food for a billion persons suffering from hunger in the world.
The commitment taken up on this occasion to mobilize 21 billion U.S. dollars, over three years, for food security is an encouraging sign, if, this time, it is concretely and quickly put into work.
I have often pleaded, during the many years, without great results in favor of investments in the small agricultures in the poor countries to find a lasting solution to the problem of food insecurity. I am therefore particularly happy that today the heads of the G8 are following this approach.
Strong in this perspective of being able to mobilize in a greater way the means for this stake, the Council of the FAO decided to convoke a World Summit on food security at the level of Heads of State and Governments, to the FAO See in Rome, from 16 to 18 November, 2009. In effect it would be positive to clear a large consensus on the definitive eradication of hunger in the world, so as to allow all the peoples of the Earth to benefit from “the right to food” which is already the most fundamental of all of human rights. On my part I am convinced, because I know that it is not possible technically, that we must focus on the objective for 2025 as has already been done by many liberal American leaders for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Of all the suffering that the African continent experiences, hunger remains the most tragic and the most intolerable. All commitments for Justice and Peace in Africa can but be tied to the need for progress in the realization of the right to food for all. I would like to recall on this, the message by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in June 2008, on the occasion of the High Level Conference of the FAO on world food security, in which he declared: “hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world that, in reality, possesses production levels, resources and sufficient knowledge to put an end to these dramas and their consequences”.
These words testify, if there was any need, to the similarity in views of the Catholic Church and the FAO on this fundamental question. The Church has always given herself the task of comforting the misery of the poorest and the motto of the FAO is “Fiat Panis”: “Bread for all”.
You underline, Most Holy Father, in your last Encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” that any economic decision has a moral consequence. And it is to this level that we must raise ourselves, as you wrote: “The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly — not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centered”. Leopold Sedar Senghor said, allow me to quote him here: “we must light the lamp of the spirit for wood not to rot, for flesh not to mold...”.
The FAO makes every effort with its own means and despite the restrictions or obstacles it may encounter, to mobilize all the actors and decision makers in the fight against hunger and in the development of programs aiming to improve food security, as a priority in more vulnerable countries.
What animates us is the face of this man, that woman, that child who looks at us fixedly, an empty belly waiting for its daily bread and whose sadness and despair haunt our agitated sleep. It is the principle of the “centrality of the human being” that you opportunely mentioned in your encyclical Most Holy Father.
The vision of a world free of hunger is possible, if there is a political will at the highest level. In fact, several countries in Africa have managed to decrease famine. These would be Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda.
The great spiritual and moral forces are an inestimable support for us in our activities. Because the task is colossal in effect and our ability to act is not always up to the level of the will that animates us. We will never have too many means to satisfy the “right to food” for all.
I would also like to praise the Church’s action in the field of the poorest. The missionaries, the religious and many communities often do the difficult tasks, at times the ungrateful but always useful alongside inter-governmental organizations of the NGOs and civil society. I would like to greet these men and women who I saw act in many countries with discretion and effectiveness.
Above all I would like to underline the convergence of religious teachings, especially those of the Catholic Church and Islam, towards the need to watch over the rational management of resources on the basis of a strategy of action respectful of persons and things of this world, far from excess and waste. All these teachings underline the fundamental role of social responsibility, recommending solicitude towards the poorest. The “social doctrine of the Church” from this point of view is essential.
Allow me to finish this intervention by quoting a verse from the Qur’an: “And when We decide to destroy a town, We send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life. Then, they transgress therein, and thus the word is justified against it. Then We destroy it with complete destruction” (Surah Al-Isra, Verse 16).
May our world avoid this collapse!

[00224-02.05] [RE000] [Original text: French]


The second Press Conference on the Synod works (with simultaneous translations in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese) will be held in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office on Wednesday 14 October 2009 (after the Relatio post disceptationem) at approximately 12.45 pm. Speakers:

- H. Em. Card. Wilfrid Fox NAPIER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban (SOUTH AFRICA), President Delegated
- H. Em. Card. Théodore-Adrien SARR, Archbishop of Dakar, First Vice-President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (S.E.C.A.M.) (SENEGAL), President Delegated
- H. Em. Card. John NJUE, Archbishop of Nairobi, President of the Episcopal Conference (KENYA), President of the Commission for Information
- H. Exc. Mons. Manuel António MENDES DOS SANTOS, C.M.F., Bishop of São Tomé e Príncipe (SÃO TOMÉ), Member of the Commission for Information
- Rev. F. Federico LOMBARDI, S.I., Director of the Holy See Press Office (VATICAN CITY)

The third Press Conference on the Synod works (with simultaneous translations in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese) will be held in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office on Friday 23 October 2009 (after the Nuntius) at approximately 12.45 pm. Speakers:

- H. Exc. Mons. John Olorunfemi ONAIYEKAN, Archbishop of Abuja (NIGERIA), President of the Commission for the Message
- H. Exc. Mons. Youssef Ibrahim SARRAF, Bishop of Cairo of Chaldean Rite (EGYPT), Vice President of the Commission for the Message
- H. Exc. Mons. Francisco João SILOTA, M. Afr., Bishop of Chimoio, Second Vice-President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (S.E.C.A.M.) (MOZAMBIQUE), Member of the Commission for the Message
- Rev. F. Federico LOMBARDI, S.I., Director of the Holy See Press Office (VATICAN CITY)

The fourth Press Conference on the Synod works (with simultaneous translations in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese) will be held in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office on Saturday 24 October 2009 (after the Elenchus finalis propositionem) at approximately 12.45 pm. Speakers:

- H. Em. Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, Archbishop of Cape Cost, President of the Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Western Africa (A.E.C.W.A.) (GHANA), Relator General
- H. Exc. Mons. Damião António FRANKLIN, Archbishop of Luanda, President of the Episcopal Conference (ANGOLA), Special Secretarie
- H. Exc. Mons. Edmond DJITANGAR, Bishop of Sarh (CHAD), Special Secretarie
- Rev. F. Federico LOMBARDI, S.I., Director of the Holy See Press Office (VATICAN CITY)

For an access permit, audio-visual operators (cameramen and technicians) and photographers are requested to apply to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


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