II ORDINARY SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR
The Church in Africa at the Service of
Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.
This Bulletin is only a working instrument for
31 - 23.10.2009
- AFRICA IS ALREADY MOVING; AND THE CHURCH IS MOVING WITH HER
- NINETEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION (FRIDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2009 - AFTERNOON)
- VISIT BY THE INFORMATION COMMISSION TO THE TEMPORARY OFFICE “DEL FUNGO”
- INTERVENTIONS “IN SCRIPTIS” OF SYNODAL FATHERS (CONTINUATION)
AFRICA IS ALREADY MOVING; AND THE CHURCH IS MOVING WITH HER
A Continent in motion, with the Church at its side. The “Message to the People of God” by the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is a strong and full exhortation, an invitation to courage and strength in faith, because “Africa has started moving forward and the Church is moving with her”.
The Synodal Nuntius was presented this morning in the Hall, and is made up of seven parts, plus an introduction and a conclusion. It addresses priests, that they may be faithful in their celibacy, chastity and lack of attachment to material goods; and the lay faithful, “ambassadors of God” in everyday life. It addresses politics too, because Africa needs holy politicians to fight corruption and work for the common good.
The appeal to Catholic families is powerful, they are called to a new commitment in society. To make all this possible, it is up to governments to guarantee the proper support in the fight against poverty. From this point of view, a new undertaking in the promotion of women, the “backbone” of the local Churches, is required. Not just socially but above all in the relationship with the “toxic” ideologies having to do with gender and sexuality. The “Message” is also directed at men, who are called upon to be responsible husbands and fathers, who defend life from the moment of conception. In terms of family, special attention is paid to young people and children, the present and the future of Africa. The “Message” also reflects upon the Continent’s many problems. As regards the AIDS plague, it is reemphasized that the Church is in the front line of the struggle against the virus and in treating its victims, and that the question will not be resolved by handing out condoms. What was underlined instead was the success obtained through chastity and fidelity. There was also an appeal to the international community to treat Africa with respect and dignity, to change the rules regarding the economy and Africa’s foreign debt, to stop exploitation by multinationals.
The document emphasizes the importance of dialogue with the traditional religions, from an ecumenical and inter-religious point of view. With Muslims, in particular, dialogue is possible, we read in the “Message”, but it is important to say no to fanaticism, ensure mutual respect and underline that religious freedom is a fundamental human right and includes the freedom to share and propose, but not impose, your own faith.
Among the other themes dealt with by the “Message”, the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and diocesan programs on peace, an end to the practice of vendetta, the reinforcing of ties with the ancient Churches of Ethiopia and Egypt, as well as between Africa and the other continents, gratitude to the missionaries, the need to support migrants and refugees in the world because welcoming them is a duty.
The full text of the “Message to the People of God” was published in Bulletin no. 30.
[00338-02.03] [RE000] [Original text: Italian]
NINETEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION (FRIDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2009 - AFTERNOON)
- PRESENTATION OF THE FINAL LIST OF PROPOSITIONS
- THE HOLY FATHER’S GIFT
At 5:30 pm. today, with the Prayer for the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, in the presence of the Holy Father, the Nineteenth General Congregation began. The Final List of Propositions was read in the Hall.
The Acting President Delegate was H.Em. Card. Wilfrid Fox NAPIER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban (SOUTH AFRICA).
At this General Congregation which concluded at 7:00 pm with the Angelus Domini prayer, 214 Fathers were present.
Present at the Eighteenth General Congregation 225 Fathers.
PRESENTATION OF THE FINAL LIST OF PROPOSITIONS
At the opening of the Nineteenth General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, His Exc. Mons. NIKOLA ETEROVIĆ recalled Art. 68 of the Vademecum Synodi Episcoporum, with reference to the rules for voting.
As prescribed by Art. 67, the Final List of Propositions will be the object of private study on the part of the Synod Fathers, so as to prepare the final vote. The sheet of Final List of Propositions is a voting ballot for the Synod Fathers, which for this reason is delivered only to the Fathers and in a single copy reserved for each one; since it is not a secret vote, but rather an open vote on the individual Propositions (with the formula Placet or Non placet), the Synod Fathers must return the signed ballot, in the Twentieth General Congregation of tomorrow morning, Saturday, 24 October 2009.
The General Relator H.Em. Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, Archbishop of Cape Coast (GHANA) began reading the Final List of the Propositions in English, which will continue during the Twentieth General Congregation, tomorrow morning, Saturday October 24th 2009.
HOLY FATHER’S GIFT
At the end of the General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, His Exc, Mons. NIKOLA ETEROVIĆ, Titular Archbishop of Sisak, announced that the Holy Father Benedict XVI would offer a gift of a Chasuble to the Synodal Fathers at the end of the work, which they will wear for the Solemn Concelebration of the Holy Mass in conclusion of the Synod, Sunday October 25th 2009 at 10:00 am in the Vatican Basilica. On the Sacred Parament, there is a gold cross and the Holy Father’s coat of arms on a green background.
VISIT BY THE INFORMATION COMMISSION TO THE TEMPORARY OFFICE “DEL FUNGO”
“Thank you for the work you do, which is often invisible. Communicating the contents of the Synod to the world is a noble task for which all of us thank you”. These are the words of His Em. Card. John NJUE, Archbishop of Nairobi and President of the Episcopal Conference (KENYA) who led the visit to the temporary Office “Del Fungo” that deals with the publication and translation of Synodal news, set up for the occasion of Synodal Assemblies by the Holy See Press Office. Synodal Fathers, members of the Commission for Information of the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops were present. The Prelates visited the Office and wanted to know all about the organizational machine that permits the diffusion of Synodal information through the Synodus Episcoporum Bulletin, which is also available via new multimedia channels and used by multiplatform systems. The President of the Commission for Information then led a brief prayer in the presence of the Office’s collaborators of all levels. During the brief snack that followed, Cardinal Njue interpreted the thoughts of the Synodal Fathers present and expressed his gratitude, underlining the importance of “serving the Church and the Synod of Bishops, talking about Africa”, to give the world a correct understanding of the difficulties, expectations and hopes of the Continent.
[00339-02.02] [RE000] [Original text: Italian]
INTERVENTION “IN SCRIPTIS” OF SYNODAL FATHERS CONTINUATION)
The following Synodal Father delivered his intervention in writing only:
- H. Exc. Mons. Michael George Mabuga MSONGANZILA, Bishop of Musoma (TANZANIA)
Below are the summary of the intervention not presented in the Hall, but delivered in written form by the Synodal Father:
- H. Exc. Mons. Michael George Mabuga MSONGANZILA, Bishop of Musoma (TANZANIA)
I make this intervention by giving a concrete example on using the Gospel as the leaven in transforming African values and cultural practices.
Within the Diocese of Musoma in Tanzania, female genital mutilation is widespread among the people, particularly in the Tarime, Rorya and Serengeti Districts. Despite campaigns that have been carried out, this cultural practice for so long has been taken to be part of the initiation process to maturity and to new state of womanhood and thus paving way for getting married: There is nothing wrong in preparing girls to maturity and to new state of womanhood. In the whole process, positive cultural values of the clan and tribe are transmitted to the girls. They are prepared to take responsibility and behave well the family and society as future mothers This is good! However, should that process be done through the butchering of the most sensitive part of one's body (girl)?
Is the pain inflicted to the girls be tolerated as part and parcel of the formation programme in the tribe, clan or society?
Female genital mutilation has negative health and traumatizing experiences, deaths for many girls. The practice weakens them physically and emotionally. Parents (particularly mothers) are victims of their own circumstances, upbringing and cultural practices that have never changed for many years.
The time has come to stop this practice of female genital mutilation as a process towards maturity and acquiring new state of womanhood. Women are born with certain body parts for good reason, just as men are. If God had wanted those parts missing, why did he create them?
Instead of merely preaching against this cultural practice, a pastoral initiative was taken to propose an alternative way of initiating girls to maturity. This dialogue which goes hand in hand with catechesis on the value of the human body (Theology of Human body), rights of Human Being.
I propose to this Synod to profoundly examine root causes of our obstacles in addressing adverse cultural practices which hinder the enhancement of reconciliation, justice and peace on our continent. We need the courage to draw from the strength of our faith in Christ, so that there is nourishment of relationships with Christ which could reconcile African Cultural practices with our Catholic identity.
[00336-02.02] [IS015] [Original text: English]
- PRESS CONFERENCES
- LIVE TV COVERAGE
- TELEPHONE NEWS-BULLETIN
- OPENING HOURS OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
The fourth and last 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 Secretarie
- H. Exc. Mons. Edmond DJITANGAR, Bishop of Sarh (CHAD), Special Secretarie
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.
The last pool of accredited journalists to access to the Synod Hall, for the opening prayer of the morning General Congregations will be formed for tomorrow Saturday 24 October 2009.
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.
LIVE TV COVERAGE
The following event 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).
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.
OPENING HOURS OF THE HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE
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.