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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


28 - 20.10.2009





Today at 9:00, Tuesday, 20 October 2009, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the chant of the Hour of Terce, the Seventeenth General Congregation began, for the presentation of the Integrated List of Propositions (Elenchus Unicus Propositionum).

President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Francis ARINZE, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (VATICAN CITY).

At the opening of this General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, His Exc. Mons. Nikola ETEROVIĆ, Titular Archbishop of Sisak, read a letter dated October 20th ftline2009, signed by the three Presidents Delegate and himself, addressed to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central-African Republic. It is published below.

Before the pause, the Holy Father blessed some First Aid Health Kits, which will be given to the Synodal Fathers and other Participants.

During the pause, the Holy Father received the English Working Group E and the English-French Working Group.

At the end of the Seventeenth General Congregation, the Secretary General invited the Synodal Fathers to meet in the VII Session of the Working Groups, in the VIII Session this afternoon and in the IX Session tomorrow morning, to prepare the Collective Amendments of the Propositions.

The Eighteenth General Congregation will take place on Friday October 23rd for the presentation and voting on the Message and the Nineteenth General Congregation will take place in the afternoon for the presentation of the Elenchus Finalis Propositionum (Final List of Propositions).

This Congregation ended at 12:30 with the prayer Angelus Domini, 217 Fathers were present.


During this Seventeenth General Congregation, The General Relator, His Em. Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, Archbishop of Cape Coast (GHANA), and the Special Secretaries His Exc. Mons. Damião António FRANKLIN, Archbishop of Luanda (ANGOLA) and His Exc. Mons. Edmond DJITANGAR, Bishop of Sarh (CHAD) presented the Elenchus Unicus Propositionum, in English, Portuguese and French, the result of the integration into 54 of the 282 Propositions prepared by the individual Working Groups, work done Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday 17, 18 and 19 October 2009 by the General Relator together with the Special Secretaries and the Relators of the Working Groups. The Integrated List of Propositions, made by the whole assembly, was distributed to the Synod Fathers for private study and the preparation of the individual Modi (Amendments), which each Synodal Father may present within their own Working Group for common discussion and research.


Then, no Synodal Father having gotten the absolute majority as required in the first ballot, a second electronic ballot took place and 12 Synodal Fathers were elected, who had obtained the majority of votes for a relative majority. The List of Members elected, with the addition of the Members by Pontifical Nomination, will be published in the following days.


Then the following Auditors intervened:

- Rev. Sister
Bernadette MASEKAMELA, C.S., Superior General of the Sisters of Calvary (BOTSWANA)
- Prof. Gustave LUNJIWIRE-NTAKO-NNANVUME, International Secretary of the Mouvement of the Catholic Action of Xavéri (MAC Xavéri), responsible for the laity in the Region of Kivu (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mr. Kpakile FÉLÉMOU, Director of DREAM0 Center, Conakry (GUINEA)
- Mrs. Rose BUSINGYE, Founder and President of Meeting Point International, Kampala (UGANDA)
- Mrs. Axelle FISCHER, General Secretary of the Commission Jiustice and Peace, Bruxelles (BELGIUM)
- Dr. Christophe HABIYAMBERE, President of "Fidesco", Kigali (RWANDA)
- Rev. Sister Mary Anne Felicitas KATITI, L.M.S.I., Mother Provincial of the Congregation of the Little Servants of Mary Immaculate (ZAMBIA)
- Rev. Sister Bédour Antoun (Irini) SHENOUDA, N.D.A., Provincial Mother of the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles, Cairo (EGYPT)

The summaries of the Auditors’ Interventions were published (by accident) as “in scriptis” in Bulletin No. 24 on Wednesday, October 14th 2009.


To the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of Sudan, Uganda, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central-African Republic.

As synod fathers, gathered at the Second Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, we have learned with deep sorrow of the persistent war in the dioceses in the Great Lakes’ Region, with its consequential destruction, violence and death of innocent people. To avoid being killed, hundreds of thousands of persons have been forced to abandon their homes and seek refuge in adjoining countries in extremely perilous conditions. This was gives rise to the worrisome situation of child-soldiers, orphans, those who are maimed and persons with grave physical and psychological problems.
As synod fathers, in solidarity with the synod’s President, Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, we wish to express our deepest sentiments of fraternal communion with the bishops of the dioceses involved in this inhuman suffering of innocent peoples. At the same time, we turn to the parties concerned, imploring them to replace at once the language of arms with that of dialogue and negotiation. In dialogue, undertaken in mutual respect and peace, all problems can be solved. War, instead, makes everything more difficult, enticing the transformation of brothers into enemies.
Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Risen Lord Jesus, we, as synod fathers, declare the sacred value of every human life. The commandment “not to kill” (Es 20:13) is not only apart of the Decalogue, revealed by God and recorded in the Bible, but a law written in the heart of every person who comes into this world. It is not lawful to kill innocent people for whatever reason, whether it be social, political, ethnic, racial or religious. The blood of the innocent cries to heaven for vengeance, to a God who sooner or later will judge those who have stained their hands with the blood of the poor, who are his chosen ones.
While we are reflecting on reconciliation, justice and peace, we implore, through the intercession of the saints, born in Africa, the gift of peace so that justice may come about in those areas where it has been gravely missing and that hearts might be open to the grace of reconciliation with God and neighbour, not only in the Great Lakes’ Region but in all of Africa.
We entrust our distressed, urgent appeal to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa and Comforter of the Afflicted.

The Presidents Delegate
The General Secretary

[00334-02.02] [RE000] [Original text: English]


During the Seventeenth General Congregation this morning, His Exc. Mons. Zygmunt ZIMOWSKI, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Radom, President of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, presented the Holy Father some samples of Health Kits, gift of the Pontifical Council for Healthcare Workers, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of China to the Holy See, which will be offered to the 275 Synodal Fathers and other Participants in the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. This is a First Aid Health Kit, also containing medial instruments for first aid, which will be of help in the missions and will be “A small sign of solidarity and communion with the populations of the African Continent, even the most remote areas”, His Exc. Mons. Zimowski explained. He added: “I therefore ask Your Holiness to bless these kits, and thereby all the sick and suffering of the African Continent”.
[00335-02.02] [RE000] [Original text: Italian]


The following Synodal Fathers only presented their interventions in writing:

- H. Exc. Mons.
Fortunato BALDELLI, Titular Archbishop of Bevagna, Penitentiary Major (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Alfred Leonhard MALUMA, Bishop of Njombe (TANZANIA)

Published below are the written interventions, not addressed in the Hall, by the Synodal Fathers:

- H. Exc. Mons. Fortunato BALDELLI, Titular Archbishop of Bevagna, Penitentiary Major (VATICAN CITY)

I thank God for the experience the Church is living these days in the Synod, providentially called for by the Holy Father in answer to a request from the African Episcopacy.
In the Synodal Assembly, the worries and hopes, the problems and the expectations of the peoples of Africa are reflected and, in some way, the people of the world. This is the first time I have had the honor to participate in an ecclesial encounter of such wide breadth.
Despite the great differences in social, political and economical situations and contexts, the Church of God in Africa is showing how she is conscious of her particular identity and her vocation during this delicate moment of the Planet. As suggested by the Synod’s theme, the African Church, in its various characteristics, clearly is becoming conscious of her irreplaceable role in the promotion of reconciliation, justice and peace. The difficult international situation, the internal problems of the Continent, the racial, religious and political conflicts, the health and food emergencies, by their drama, call upon the Church in first person and ask Christians for courage and commitment, witness and sharing.
The itinerary of reconciliation, justice and peace is long and delicate: it requires patience, wisdom and far-sightedness, but, above all, it asks for founding on the rock of faith, putting on the wings of hope and allowing one to be led by the secret energy of charity. Peace will be the fruit of justice and justice can be achieved by supporting the reasons of the last and poorest ones. There can be no true and lasting reconciliation if the roots, sometimes centuries old, of conflicts and injustices are not healed, if the relationships between factions and ethnic groups aren’t healed, if the hearts of persons are not regenerated. The Church in Africa is called upon to show her nature as a reconciled and reconciling community to “contribute to redressing the wounds of a society torn apart by violence, conflicts and wars” (IL no. 86).
In the Working Document are indicated, most opportunely, the supernatural means that the Lord offers his children in this arduous but exciting path: the vivifying presence of Christ, the Word of God and Sacraments. I would like to underline what is said in number 86 about the Sacrament of Reconciliation: “Faithful to her ministry of reconciling humanity to God and each person to the other, the Church serves her sons and daughters by providing the Sacrament of Penance, Reconciliation and Forgiveness. Through the habitual practice of this sacrament, Christians bear witness to the fact that they are acquiring the skill of examining their actions in life and experiencing the mercy and the goodness of God in their state of sin, misery and lack of love”.
It is the Pastor’s duty to help the faithful to penetrate and live the deep reality of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a meaningful moment of their path to conversion and as personal expression of the reconciling mission of the Church. The work of reconciliation always goes through man’s heart, of every man because peace is a gift of God entrusted to man’s responsibility and only the saving grace of Christ - through the ministry of the Church - can regenerate the hearts of the faithful and make them new creatures, authors of peace, witnesses of justice. The faithful must be taught to look with sincerity at their life in the light of truth, to open themselves to the priests, to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation often, to bear the fruit of conversion with their reconciled life. It is also important not to create confusion in the faithful’s conscience with diverging teachings and opinions, in theology, in preaching, in catechesis, in spiritual guidance, on the serious and delicate problems of Christian life.
The detail in the celebration aspect, giving the right importance to the Word of God proclaimed and explained and opportunely adapting the rite to the mentality and culture of the different African peoples, will greatly contribute to vivifying the exercise of the Sacrament and stop it from falling into being a formalistic action, out of context with the daily life and commitment of the Christian.
For this - as proposed by the Working Document - it might be fruitful from a catechetical and pastoral point of view, in particular circumstances, to have community celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The community celebration of Reconciliation - as can be read in the Post-Synodal Exhortation Reconciliatio et Poenitentia - “precisely by its specific dimension, highlights certain aspects of great importance: The word of God listened to in common ha s remarkable effect as compared to its individual reading and better emphasizes the ecclesial character of conversion and reconciliation” (Reconciliatio et Poenitentia, no. 32). The community celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, according to the norms established by the Church, must however find its culmination in the individual confession and absolution of the penitents, nor must it obscure in any way individual celebration of the Sacrament as a moment of personal encounter with the grace of conversion. Reconciliation of the individual penitents is, in fact, “the only normal and ordinary way of celebrating the sacrament” (ibid).
In particular, priests must be prepared, from their formation years, to personally and frequently celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and, despite the many pastoral tasks, should be available to welcome the faithful wishing to sacramentally encounter the Mercy of God. In the priests’ formation, as well as religious persons, one must therefore take great care in conveying to young persons the Catholic doctrine on the Sacrament of Penance, showing its Biblical and Patristic roots, and taking care that the seminaries and formation houses have prudent and fervent confessors available.
We think that of great help to the Church of Africa for the responsibilities awaiting her in the future, will be proposing to the faithful the restored Catholic doctrine of reconciliation as an event of grace that comes from reconciliation with God, which leads to reconciliation with oneself, which opens new paths of communion with the brothers and sisters, whoever they may be, and which extends to embracing all of creation in renewed harmony.

[00331-02.04] [IS013] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Alfred Leonhard MALUMA, Bishop of Njombe (TANZANIA)

The efforts to create wealth to reduce poverty and misery and to improve lives of people in Africa are part and parcel of supporting efforts of proclaiming .the Gospe1 geared to bring about reconciliation, justice and peace. This inc1udes the creating and managing private and public enterprises by competent faith values led people. Such efforts will help in transforming the world, improving the working conditions of the most vulnerable.
Whereas the Catholic Church in Africa has been actively involved in promoting health care and education as part of its evangelizing mission, not much of systematic planning has been made in terms of strengthening its financial economic sustainability. As consequences of this imbalance, a great number of pastoral programs in the Church in Africa are still largely dependent on donors. Continuity of such trends perpetuate risks of sacrificing own autonomy and propriety in programs, projects and structures to the detriment of the Church and beneficiaries (IL 23).
Among the conditions that add to the credibility of the Church's witness in areas of reconciliation, justice and peace is establishment of financial and economic institutions and undertakings that wou1d sustain the pastoral activities of the Church. To fully assert its prophetic role, payment of just salary for workers, being seen· as doing justice and being just, demand that the Church in Africa takes seriously the aspect of financial sustainability. In line with Populorum Progressio, fostering integral development, the Church must be present in the fight against all types of human poverty. Unless the Church becomes innovative in means and ways of empowering the grassroots, efforts of establishing reconciliation, justice and peace will remain inadequate. In line with the Social Teachings of the Church, the Church in Africa needs the courage of creating social conditions which allow people to reach their God given fulfilment.
Within the Catholic Social Teaching Tradition which defines the common good as the sum total of social conditions which allow people either as groups or as individuals to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easi1y, to attain reconciliation, justice and peace, we need to create the right social conditions for individuals and societies. Sustainable financial base in Africa will pave way for human fulfilment not in terms of getting more of wants and needs but in terms of 1eading a full and more meaningful human life which was the mission of Jesus who carne that we may have life and have it in fullness (Jn 10:10).
I wou1d like to underline the following points:
1. Involvement of the laity in planning, implementing and distribution of products from sustainable economic undertakings is of crucial importance. True ownership and empowering of the Family of God (the Church) inc1udes tapping creativity of the laity and giving them chances to effectively p1ay their roles at various levels of activities within the Church including the material well-being aspect.
2. Vigilance: economic Sustainability must remain a means to an end, as a tool at the service of evangelization. Jesus warns, it is difficult for the rich to enter into the Kingdom of God (Mk 10:23). At the same time, there is need of moving from the mentality of popularizing abject poverty which can be an hindrance to attain eternal life. We have to avoid both extremes. Here we are guided by the scriptures "Lord give me neither richness which can lead me to boasting and arrogance nor poverty that can lead me to stealing (Proverbs 30:8-9). Economic ventures have to be guided and moderated by spiritual and human values with pastoral dimension.
3. Real sustainability of our economic ventures will ultimately depend on efficiency and good governance within the modality of servant stewardship. Yes indeed, the Church needs to emphasise on professional management, but the secret of success lies within emphasis on nurturing solid spiritual and authentic human values. The solution is to build sustainability on fmn foundations of faith.
4. Let us listen to what the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI tells us in "CARITAS IN VERIT ATE" no.36.

[00332-02.02] [IS014] [Original text: English]




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

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 Coast, 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 Secretary
- H. Exc. Mons. Edmond DJITANGAR, Bishop of Sarh (CHAD), Special Secretary

The Press Conferences are presided by Rev. F. Federico LOMBARDI, S.I., Director of the Holy See Press Office, Secretary ex-officio of the Commission for Information of the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

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


On the following days, pools of accredited journalists will have access to the Synod Hall in general for the opening prayer of the morning General Congregations.
- Friday 23 October 2009
- Saturday 24 October 2009

Registration lists for the pools will be available for reporters at the Information Accreditation desk of the Holy See Press Office (to the right of the entrance hall).

For the pools, the photographers and TV operators are kindly requested to apply to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The Participants in the pools are kindly requested to meet at 8.30 am in the Press Sector which is located outside, in front of the entrance to the Paul VI Hall. From there they will be accompanied by an official of the Holy See Press Office (for reporters) and by an official of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (for photographers and TV camera teams). Suitable dress is required.


The next Bulletin No. 29 will be published on Friday 23 October 2009, at the conclusion of the Eighteenth General Congregation in the morning.


The following events will be transmitted live on the TV monitors in the Telecommunications Room, in the Journalists’ Room and in the John Paul II Conference Hall of the Holy See Press Office:
- Sunday 25 October 2008 (9:30 ): Solemn Concelebration of the Holy Mass at the conclusion of the Synod (Saint Peter’s Basilica).

Any variations will be published as soon as possible.


During the period of the Synod, a telephone news-bulletin will be available:
- +39-06-698.19 for the ordinary daily Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office;
- +39-06-698.84051 for the Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops - morning session;
- +39-06-698.84877 for the Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops - afternoon session.


During the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, the Holy See Press Office will be open during the following hours, until 25 October 2009:
- Until Saturday 24 October: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday 25 October: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The staff of the Information and Accreditation Desk (to the right of the entrance hall) will be available:
- Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Notice of any changes will be communicated as soon as possible and will be posted on the bulletin board in the Journalists’ Area of the Holy See Press Office, published in the Bulletin of the Commission for Information of the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops and in the Service Information area of the Internet site of the Holy See.


Return to:

- Index Bulletin Synodus Episcoporum - II Ordinary Special Assembly for Africa - 2009
  [Plurilingual, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish]

- Index Holy See Press Office
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