23 - 13.10.2009
TREDICESIMA CONGREGAZIONE GENERALE (MARTEDÌ, 13 OTTOBRE 2009 -
ANTEMERIDIANO) - CONTINUAZIONE
QUATTORDICESIMA CONGREGAZIONE GENERALE (MARTEDÌ, 13 OTTOBRE 2009 -
- DONO DEL SANTO PADRE
TREDICESIMA CONGREGAZIONE GENERALE (MARTEDÌ, 13
OTTOBRE 2009 - ANTEMERIDIANO) - CONTINUAZIONE
Pubblichiamo qui di seguito il riassunto dell’intervento di un Padre
sinodale pervenuto dopo la chiusura del Bollettino 22 di questa
S. E. R. Mons. Zygmunt ZIMOWSKI, Arcivescovo-Vescovo emerito di
Radom, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per gli Operatori
Sanitari (CITTÀ DEL VATICANO)
1. Nonostante il fatto che, come ha affermato il Santo Padre
Benedetto XVI nell'omelia della Messa di apertura del Sinodo: "Dio è
il Creatore e la fonte della vita", la vita è oggi messa a dura
prova come valore, dalle politiche della salute riproduttiva. Di
conseguenza, i vescovi e le Chiese locali sono invitati a fare udire
la voce della Chiesa sulle tematiche riguardanti la vita dal suo
inizio alla naturale conclusione.
2. In Africa convivono molte religioni, da quelle tradizionali
africane alle grandi religioni monoteistiche, che influenzano tutte
insieme le culture africane. Negli ultimi decenni l'impegno corale
profuso dalle varie confessioni religiose per fronteggiare insieme
alcune grandi tematiche della salute come HIV/AIDS, malaria e
tubercolosi, sono la testimonianza dell'ecumenismo delle opere che
in sanità è particolarmente fecondo.
3. Per la loro stessa natura di opere della Chiesa, le istituzioni
sanitarie sono impegnate a promuovere la salute attraverso il
rispetto del diritto alla sua tutela, garanzia di giustizia ed
equità nell'accesso alle cure sanitarie specialmente per i malati di
4. Pur prendendo le debite distanze da false ed illusorie pratiche
di guarigione, la Chiesa in Africa è chiamata a riscoprire il ricco
patrimonio spirituale, dottrinale e sacramentale della Chiesa sulla
guarigione spirituale che si basa sulla preghiera e sui Sacramenti.
5. La medicina tradizionale è uno dei patrimoni importanti delle
culture africane. Essa ha un costo inferiore alla medicina moderna
ed essendo vicina alla popolazione, viene frequentemente utilizzata.
Si chiede ai vescovi di operare un discernimento per distinguere le
buone dalle cattive pratiche e di incoraggiare gli studi scientifici
sulla medicina tradizionale, dentro le istituzioni cattoliche.
6. Molti dei servizi sanitari della Chiesa in Africa vengono
riconosciuti e utilizzati per la loro importanza, ma essi soffrono
le pressioni ideologiche della globalizzazione e della
secolarizzazione con l'evidente calo degli aiuti finanziari che
possono metterli al rischio di fallimento.
7. Il Santo Padre Benedetto XVI riassume la specificità del servizio
che la Chiesa rende al malato in questi termini: “La salute
dell'uomo, di tutto l'uomo, è stato il segno che Cristo ha prescelto
per manifestare la prossimità di Dio, il suo amore misericordioso
che risana lo spirito, l'anima e il corpo”. Questo deve essere
sempre il riferimento fondamentale di ogni iniziativa della Chiesa
nella sequela di Cristo, che i Vangeli ci presentano quale “medico”
divino. (Benedetto XVI, Discorso ai partecipanti all'Assemblea
plenaria del Pontificio Consiglio per gli Operatori Sanitari, 2007).
[00277-01.03] [IN178] [Testo originale: italiano]
QUATTORDICESIMA CONGREGAZIONE GENERALE (MARTEDÌ, 13
OTTOBRE 2009 - POMERIDIANO)
- RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM
Alle ore 16.30 di oggi martedì 13 ottobre 2009, con la preghiera
dell’Adsumus guidata dal Santo Padre, ha avuto inizio la
Quattordicesima Congregazione Generale, per la Relatio post
disceptationem (Relazione dopo la Discussione).
Presidente Delegato di turno S.Em. Card. Francis ARINZE, Prefetto
emerito della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei
Sacramenti (CITTÀ DEL VATICANO).
Durante l’intervallo, il Santo Padre Benedetto XVI ha ricevuto in
udienza i gruppi dei Circoli Minori Gallicus E e Lusitanus.
A questa Congregazione Generale che si è conclusa alle ore 19.00 con
la preghiera dell’Angelus Domini erano presenti 223 Padri.
RELATIO POST DISCEPTATIONEM
È intervenuto in questa Quattordicesima Congregazione Generale il
Relatore Generale, S.Em. Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON,
Arcivescovo di Cape Coast (GHANA), per la lettura della Relatio post
disceptationem (Relazione dopo la Discussione).Nella sua seconda
relazione, a conclusione della discussione generale sul tema
sinodale in Aula, il Relatore Generale ha sintetizzato i vari
interventi succedutisi in queste giornate nelle Congregazioni
Generali e ha offerto alcune linee di orientamento per facilitare i
lavori dei Circoli minori.
Pubblichiamo qui di seguito il testo integrale in inglese della
Relatio post disceptationem. Nelle rispettive edizioni linguistiche
pubblichiamo il testo integrale in italiano, inglese, francese,
spagnolo e portoghese.
The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops
offers a singular opportunity for deepening the understanding of the
Church as Family of God and for reflecting on her on-going mission
in Africa and its Islands. In this sense, it may be desirable if
reference to the “Church in Africa” in the theme of the Synod might
read “Church-Family of God in Africa”.
When, in his apostolic discernment, the Servant of God, Pope John
Paul II, recognized that the time was ripe to pass from implementing
Ecclesia in Africa to convoking a Second Special Assembly for
Africa, he referred again to the “lights and shadows” on the
continent and its Islands to exhort the continent to a collaborative
effort and to strengthening its faith in Christ. “...Africa”, he
said, “ is always confronted by terrible scourges, such as armed
conflicts, persistent poverty, disease and its devastating
consequences, starting with the social drama of Aids, widespread
insecurity and lastly, the corruption that exists in many regions.
All this weakens Africa and exhausts her energy, decimates her young
generations and mortgages her future. To build a prosperous and a
stable society, Africa needs all her children to join forces ... May
the future special assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops also
encourage the strengthening of faith in Christ, our Saviour, our
This is that “future special assembly for Africa”, thanks to His
Holiness: Pope Benedict XVI, who graciously confirmed the project of
his predecessor and formulated a theme for it.
Surveying instances and reflections of these “lights and shadows”,
as the Synod Fathers expressed them, we shall consider them as
challenges and opportunities for conversion, in the light of our
faith in Christ, whom the first Synod called “our hope and our
resurrection”. The transformation of these “lights and shadows” in
Christ should lead us to the strengthening of our faith in Christ,
our saviour, our reconciliation, and our justice and peace (Instr.
GATHERED AGAIN IN A SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR AFRICA OF THE SYNOD OF
It is clear that most of the participants of our assembly are
African or related to Africa; but this may not detract from and
diminish the truly universally ecclesial character of our gathering
and of this collegial exercise. It is an exercise of ecclesial
communion; and our assembly was reminded of this quite a few times.
So, this Synod, like every Synod, celebrates the close bond/union
between the Supreme Pontiff and the Bishops, assists the Bishop of
Rome in his universal mission, and, together with the Holy Father,
studies and reflects on problems and issues related to the Church’s
activities in the world. Thus, either present to pray with the Holy
Father and the Synod Fathers and to express their views, or absent,
but united in thought and prayer with the Synod assembly, it is the
universal Church which is gathered in Synod about her presence in
Africa (Church in Africa). This is an exercise of a universal Family
of God and a Mystical Body...... belonging together and sharing a
common life in Christ. It is, therefore, not an exclusive African
affair and assembly with non-African participants. It is rather the
universal Church’s discernment about how to keep Africa’s enormous
spiritual lung healthy for humanity (cf. Holy Father’s Homily), in
fulfilment of her mission as salt and light.
OTHER STRUCTURES OF ECCLESIAL COMMUNION
Deriving from the nature of “Synod” as an exercise of ecclesial
communion, the Synod Fathers went on to observe and to underline the
necessity of the unity of Bishops (Instr. lab., 110), their living
in ecclesial communion, and their witnessing to it in their various
forms and organs of collaborative ministry. In this regards, many
Synod Fathers mentioned SECAM, and the necessity of the continent’s
Pastors to collaborate with this organ, which their predecessors
founded forty years ago, to promote “Evangelization in
Co-Responsibility”. CELAM, the FABC, and the CCEE look forward to
establishing and continuing ties with SECAM as well as the USCBC,
SECAM is expected to seek observer-status on the African Union and
regional conferences are to do likewise with regional and national
parliaments, as in South Africa.
A current witness of this desire to witness to and to live in active
ecclesial communion is the decision of the hitherto distinct
Regional Episcopal Conferences of English-speaking West Africa
(AECAWA) and French-speaking West Africa (CERAO) to form a single
Regional Episcopal Conference (RECOWA/CERAO).
In the same vein, Institutes of Consecrated Religious Life also
confirmed their need to live in communion, and, in their various
aggregated bodies (e.g. MAC, COSMAM etc.), to explore pathways of
collaborative ministries within the continental, national and local
THE SETTING OF THE SECOND ASSEMBLY: AFRICA’S WOES OR CHALLENGES?
Very many positive changes have been registered both in the Church
and in the larger society in Africa since the First Special Assembly
for Africa. Some of these positive changes are directly attributable
to the effects of the Synod. Nonetheless, there are still many
shadows within the Church and in society, fifteen years after the
conclusion of the First Assembly, which was otherwise described as a
Synod of Resurrection and Hope, and which was expected to mark a
turning point in the history of the continent.
The Synod Fathers have cited many instances and reflections of these
“shadows” at various sittings of this assembly. Thus, in the
The Synod Fathers candidly recognized insufficient appreciation for
the role of women and youth in their local communities, and their
poor faith-formation. Politicians and other civil servants have not
always enjoyed the accompaniment and formation that would have
enabled them to properly witness to their faith in their life and
work. The use of the media must be developed beyond the use of local
Radio stations. The witness of the Church is sometimes compromised
by the difficulty that some pastoral agents have in being faithful
to their vows, vocations and states of life.
The Synod Fathers had a lot to decry about the African society. Over
and above the lone mention of nomadism and the conflicts over water
and grazing pastures, much of the unhappiness of the Synod Fathers
has to do with emerging trends in society, which are divergent and
oppose traditional values and are of questionable moral character
and content. This occasioned the suggestion that, instead of
“conflict of cultures”, the Synod might rather consider the
experience as an “encounter/meeting of cultures”. Otherwise, most of
the observations were about the agents in society.
Many Synod Fathers bemoaned the fate of the family in Africa: “the
destruction of an authentic idea of marriage and the notion of a
sound family” (Instrumentum laboris, 31), and considered the
institution under serious threat of instability and dissolution by
poverty, conflicts, traditional beliefs and practices (witchcraft),
and disease, principally, malaria and HIV-AIDS. There were reports
of initiatives to liberate women from negative cultural practices.
But the Synod Fathers also described in various ways a ferocious
onslaught on the family and the related fundamental institution of
marriage from outside Africa and attributed it to diverse sources:
ideological (gender ideology, a new global sexual ethic, genetic
engineering) and clinical (contraception: Planned Parenthood and
Reproductive Health Education, sterilization), and emerging
“alternative” life styles (same-sex marriages, sexual unions). But
from outside Africa too have come such noble initiatives as: Jimmy
Carter Foundation against guinea worm in Africa, Tony Blair
Foundation for Interfaith Action against, e.g., Malaria.
Women, referred to at the First Special Assembly for Africa as
“beasts of burden”, have begun to emerge in certain countries to
prominence and to leadership roles in law, politics, economics and
engineering. But they are also “undeveloped resources” in certain
countries, suffering exclusion from social roles, inheritance,
education and decision- making places. They are defenceless victims
in conflict zones: victims of polygamous marriages, abused,
trafficked for prostitution, etc. But the NEPAD requires Governments
to accelerate the empowerment of women.
Children, “the suffering part of the African population” (cf. Holy
Father’s homily, 04/10/09), were described as abused
(child-soldiers, child labour and trafficking) and denied the rights
of education. Elsewhere, however, they are the beneficiaries of
vigorous school-computerization programmes.
The Youth came up for mention among Africa’s problems, because of
their exposure to drug abuse, HIV-AID infection, teenage
pregnancies, migrations, human-trafficking and travels, which landed
them in servile conditions. These woes also point to poor Government
educational and employment policies and programmes, and their poor
relationship with the Church, due to the poor quality of formation
and on-going formation, and their drift out of Church. But the
Hewlett Foundation is to establish centres of excellence in African
cities to stem migrations and the “brain-drain” also there
The issue of “migration” came up for special mention, on account of
emerging legislations in Western countries, which appear designed to
keep out Africans.
The Assembly was also invited to consider the issue of “ethnicity”.
When it develops exclusivist traits, it destroys community living,
becomes intolerant of other cultures and ethnic groups, like racism.
Apart from the lone mention of Senegal’s political stability, South
Africa’s democratic governance and Ghana’s increasing success with
democratic governance, most of the references to politics and
governance on the continent were very critical for various reasons,
and proposed that local Churches establish chaplaincies and
accompany politicians with formation in the “Doctrine of the Social
Teachings of the Church”. The great need was to have Governments and
politicians exercise “servant leadership” in a transparent and
accountable exercise of power, respect of human rights and the
administration of national wealth for public welfare.
But here too, the NEPAD, subscribed to by all the member-states of
the African Union, requires that there is respect for democratic
governance, no tolerance of coup d’etat, and the set up of a “Peer
Review Mechanism” to vet the performance of governments.
“Poor” and “poverty” were two recurrent expressions which the Synod
Fathers generally used about their countries, governments, people
and Churches. The poverty of the people had justified, in several
interventions, development projects undertaken by the Church. It had
inspired self-reliance initiatives (banks, real estate, insurance
companies, etc.), and had been the occasion of generous sharing of
experiences in the matter. But it was also the reason for the Synod
Fathers to appeal for support.
On the national and governmental level, the Assembly criticized the
incidence of corruption and bribery, and the negotiation of
contracts with investors, particularly of extractive industries,
which bring no profit to the people, but cause conflicts and
Industrialization is low in most African countries; and their
economies are agricultural and producers of raw material. Trade
conditions set by the World trade Organization and Western countries
mean life-and-death for many African economies.
Raw material producing economies are low income-earning economies,
who need foreign assistance, from foreign Governments, the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund to finance their budgets
and carry out development projects. This is the common cause (“les
origins calamiteuses”, as one Synod puts it), of the debt-burden
that was mentioned in the Assembly.
Here too, one may observe that the primary objectives of NEPAD, as a
strategic economic development framework, are to eradicate poverty,
to place African countries on the path to sustainable growth and
development, to halt the marginalization of Africa in the
Certainly, Africa is not out of the woods yet. The “shadows” are
still with it; but it has made some very modest gains. “While the
situation of the continent, its Islands and of the Church still
bears some of the ‘lights and shadows’ that occasioned the first
Synod, it has changed considerably” Thus, the shadows, not
withstanding, Africa’s hope, as declared at the first Synod, has
never deceived it; for “our hope is not deceptive” (Rm 5:5). Indeed,
it is “in hope (that) we are saved” (Rm 8:24), because we know in
whom we have believed (cf. 2 Tim 1:12). It is our faith in the risen
Lord that gives us this hope.
Accordingly, the Church may see the present and persistent shadows
in Africa as challenges and opportunities to grow in intimacy with
the Lord. The challenges above and the very many more which were
mentioned in the assembly (e.g. environment, arms-trafficking,
etc.), invite us to a true conversion of hearts: “wounded human
hearts, the ultimate hiding place for the causes of everything
destabilizing the African continent”, so that we may be effective
agents of the Holy Spirit and servants of reconciliation, justice
THE STRENGTHENING OF FAITH IN CHRIST
The Assembly was reminded once that “a Synod of Bishops cannot be
understood as a special session for Africa of the United Nations
with its public declarations”. This was a powerful reminder to the
Synodal assembly of its being a Church-gathering and a
faith-Assembly that, in the power of the Holy Spirit, professes
faith in God and in Christ, his Son, and has gathered to discern
God’s will and direction for his family in Africa.
This was followed by another invitation from the assembly to see
ourselves as “sons of God in Christ” (confiliation) with all of
The First Special Assembly, as it may be recalled, charged the
Church in Africa to inculturate, understanding herself as Family of
God. As a Church, however, this identity is realizable only in God,
who is communion (“family”), and through Jesus who reveals it,
through the proclamation of his Gospel. As the “firstborn of many
brothers”, it is Jesus, the Son of God, who shares his sonship with
us, constituting us all as sons (in him) and introducing us into the
life of the Trinity as Family of God.
The reference to the Church as Family of God is, therefore, not a
mere application of some anthropological thought-reference; it is an
expression of the truth of the Church and of its identity as sharing
in the life of the Triune God through Christ. The mission of Christ
which becomes the life and ministry of the Church derives,
therefore, from the life of the Triune God; and when this is
reconciliation, justice and peace, then they need to be seen as
deriving from God’s life. They belong to the Kingdom of God; and are
lived through faith in Christ, through whom we become sons (and
daughters) of the Kingdom.
Thus, the Synod Fathers variously affirmed in their interventions
the Christ-centeredness of the Synodal theme, and the need to
approach and to live it Christ-centred. The Instrumentum laboris
began its discussion of the Synodal theme with a chapter on the
“Theological Reflection of the Synod Topic” (pp.15-19), and followed
it up with a section on “Drawing Strength from Faith in Christ”
(75-86). The presentation of the Synodal theme in the Relatio ante
disceptationem was also strongly both God-centred and
Christ-centred. In their presentations, Synod Fathers and other
participants variously called for a Christological, Eucharistic,
Pneumatological, and even, Eschatological consideration of the Synod
The agents of the reconcilation, justice and peace, according to the
assembly, have to be evangelized, converted, formed in the faith and
be living witnesses in a life of discipleship of Christ (like
Charles de Foucauld); for it is our common sonship in Christ which
is the basis of our justice and reconciliation.
Thus all forms of experience and practice of the Synodal theme
(reconciliation, justice and peace) need to be “evangelized” by the
CHRIST OUR RECONCILIATION
It was observed in the Assembly (Relatio ante disceptationem) that
“in a Church, which is a family in communion, reconciliation becomes
not a state or an act, but a dynamic process, a task to be
undertaken everyday, a goal to strive after, an unending setting out
to re-establish, through love and mercy, broken friendships,
fraternal bonds, trust and confidence”. It is most importantly, that
which is required by our nature and identity: what we are with God
and before God in Christ. It is our relationship in Christ with God
and with one another which requires reconciliation; and its purpose
is to repair and to restore the communion that God’s covenant and
our sonship in Christ establish, but which sin threatens and breaks
It is in Christ, therefore that we have communion with God; and it
is in him that we have our reconciliation with God. Indeed, he is
our reconciliation; and it is through him and in him that we give
and receive reconciliation.
Thus, in the words of St. Paul,
1. “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation”. The relationship
and communion established between man and God by reason of man’s
creation in the image and likeness of God, is superseded by his
redemption and sonship. The relationship between God and man belongs
now to the regime of grace (unmerited work of God): redemption in
Christ. “We are saved by grace through faith in Christ” (Eph 2:8).
2. God, through Christ, reconciled us to himself, not counting our
trespasses against us.
Reconciliation is an act of unmerited pardon; and it is an exercise
of merciful love.
3. God has entrusted his message of reconciliation to us...., i.e.,
those who have made an experience of God’s reconciliation. “In your
light, O, God, we see light”. It is in the experience of God’s
reconciliation that we become ministers of reconciliation, feeling
the urgency of mending relationship and ties out of mercy and love.
The Synod Fathers listened to testimonies of the above-mentioned
urgency of reconciling enemies, and observed on its being an
exercise in truth and merciful love. The liturgy and Sacrament of
Penance offer privileged moments for their celebration.
The Synod Fathers also recounted several traditional methods of
reconciliation, and wondered whether elements of these traditional
celebrations could not enrich the forms of celebration of the
Sacraments in the Church. In doing so, there should be no confusion
about the efficacy of the celebration; for as it was said in the
assembly, it is “the Good News of the Precious Blood of Christ,
given for the redemption of the whole world which transforms the cup
of suffering of the very many victims of bloodshed on the
continent”. It requires a spirituality, and not a strategy!
CHRIST OUR JUSTICE
Reconciliation, as it was observed also in the Assembly, is the
restoration of justice and the just demands of relationships (Rel.
ante discept.). Paul also describes the fruit of our reconciliation
to God through Christ as becoming the justice of God (2 Cor 5:21).
In the present state of human sinfulness and wounded hearts,
however, the Old Testament is strong in its outlook that justice
cannot come to humanity through its own strength. It can only come
as a gift of God. And the New Testament develops this outlook more
fully, making justice the supreme revelation of the salvific grace
Again, as observed in the assembly, the sense of this justice of the
kingdom is not quite retributive justice, although that is sometimes
the sense of its attribution to God (Rev15:4; 19:2,11; 16:5-6; Heb
6:10; 2Thess.1:6), and several interventions in the assembly
reflected this sense of justice.. It also does not have the sense of
“conformity to a norm or a set of norms”. At least, this is not its
primary sense; and it can never be applied to God in that sense;
Again, some interventions reflected this sense.
The justice (righteousness) of God and of his kingdom is a
revelation of God, which is destined to be the righteousness of
human beings. It is the revelation of the justice/ righteousness of
God which justifies, rendering the sinner righteous and worthy again
of communion and covenant relationship with God. It is the
revelation of Christ, “who while we were still sinners died for us
(Rom 5:9)” to prove God’s love for us. It is, therefore, the
revelation of Christ as our justice/righteousness. The justice of
man, in this case, consists in his confession of sins, in admission
of his failure, and the acceptance in faith of God’s offer of
communion, namely salvation in Christ.
In Jesus and in his ministry, one sees the justifying grace of God
at work, overlooking the just demands of the covenant relationship
and re-instating humanity out of mercy and love, in a covenant
relationship. One also sees the constitution of a new covenant
community, the Church, endowed with the Holy Spirit and enabled,
therewith, to respond to God’s righteousness in faith through the
confession of sins.
The justice of Christian diakonia and the justice of our Christian
living in the Church in Africa is the justice of the kingdom; and
its principal characteristic is that it is justice exercised in love
It is this sense of justice that the Synod Fathers suggested be
cultivated first in the family, as a family virtue before becoming a
social one. There, all that is due a person by reason of his dignity
and vocation to the communion of persons is upheld and maintained
in mercy and love.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, the
National Reconciliation Commission of Ghana and others (Nigeria,
Sierra Leone, Togo), which the Synod Fathers mentioned, aim
primarily at this sense of justice. Compensation is not their main
purpose. They aim at healing through admission of guilt and pardon.
CHRIST OUR PEACE
Peace is the one term whose definition (as “education”, as
“development” and as “justice”) was popularly cited by the Synod
Fathers. Recognizing, that both respect for and the development of
human life require it, and that it is the “necessary condition
for the true progress of men and society” Synod Fathers and
other participants passionately called for the cultivation of a
“peace culture” in Churches, homes, communities and nations. A
particular mention was made of such institutional structures for
peace in nations as “The National Peace Council” of Ghana and the
“Peace and Reconciliation Commission” of Liberia and Togo; and their
diffusion advocated for.
In women and children, who are the easy victims of domestic violence
and the deprivation of peace, due to conflicts, Synod participants
saw material for organization into formidable peace advocacy groups
all over the continent and its Islands. And where the absence of
peace is due to oppressive traditional customs and practices, the
assembly called for the set up of “Culture Study Centres” to
spearhead their review and their reform.
But Peace, which emerged from the Synod assembly as the most
cherished condition of human life and activity on the continent and
its Islands, is ironically beyond the reach of man and his world.
The Instrumentum Laboris, therefore, asks the Synod assembly about
the peace it seeks! (46).
Its own view is that “the peace which the world gives is fragile and
unsure”; for peace is not primarily the fruit of structures and it
does not take place outside the person. Peace is primarily born from
within, in the interior of individuals, and from within the
communities they build.
Peace, then would seem to be the fruit of the “spiritual
disposition” of a person; and if it thrives where there is justice,
then, like both justice and reconciliation, it is also the fruit of
When St. Thomas Aquinas taught that peace and harmony are preserved
by justice, he also held that in order to preserve peace and justice
among men, the prescriptions of justice do not suffice. It is
fundamental that there is love between them. Accordingly, the
“Catechism of the Catholic Church”, drawing on Scripture and on the
rich tradition of the Church, also teaches that “peace is the work
of justice and the effect of charity”; and it is in this sense
that Christ is identified by Scripture as our peace.
The “peace” that is Christ does not have just a secular sense, it
being the absence of conflict (Gen34:21; Jos 9:15; 10:1,4; Lk
14:32), the presence of harmony in the home and within the family
(Is 38:17; Ps 37:11; 1 Cor 7:15; Mt 10:34; Lk12:51), individual and
communal (national) security and prosperity (Judg18:6; 2 Kg 20:19;
Is 32:18). “Peace”, is not just when human beings and their
societies fulfil their respective duties and recognize the rights of
other persons and societies”; and it is not just one of the
results of working for justice. “Peace” essentially transcends
the world and human efforts. It is a wholeness determined by God
and bestowed on the man/woman of justice. It is a gift of God (Is
45:7; Num 6:26) for the “righteous/just”: “those on whom his favour
rests” (Lk 2:14).
It is as such righteous bearers on earth of Christ’s peace that Paul
exhorts us in his Christian communities to pursue peace (Rm14:19;
Eph 4:3; Heb 12:14) and to be at peace with each other (Rm12:18; 2
Cor13:11). But it is also as such righteous bearers on earth of the
peace of Christ that we need to recall, as we did with “justice”,
that “peace” is an activity that goes beyond strict justice and
requires love. It derives from communion with God and is aimed
at the well-being of man (humanity).
The first Synod invited the Church in Africa and on the Islands to
live in the communion of Church-family of God. This second Synod now
invites the Church-family of God, in all the details of her
composition, to make an experience of those virtues which establish
our communion with God and to witness and live the same
(reconciliation, justice, peace) out of love and mercy on the
continent and its Islands.What follows is the presentation of some
of the components of the Church-family of God as they serve
reconciliation, justice and peace on the continent, as the Synod
Fathers envisaged them; and the implications of their ministry are
what is set out in the symbolisms of salt and light: salt of the
earth and light of the world.
DISCIPLES, SERVANTS OF RECONCILIATION, JUSTICE AND PEACE
Illuminated and transformed by the paschal mystery of Christ and
filled with the Holy Spirit, the community of disciples is sent
everywhere and missioned to announce to everyone everything that
they have seen, heard and touched of the Word of Life (cf. 1 Jn
1:1). This mission consists in making Christ visible in every place
and circumstance where the “Spirit” prompts them (cf. Acts 13:2).
They are aware of being a community which shares material and
spiritual goods without taking account of ethnicity or culture.
Impelled by “the Spirit of the Lord”, the deacon Philip converted an
Ethiopian functionary who himself became a missionary to his own
people (cf. Acts 8:26-39). This confirms that Africa is a homeland
for Christ who continuously remained present in the ecclesial
community born there and recounted by the Patriarch to the Synod
Fathers. The Church-Family of God in Africa is proud of its
apostolic roots and its ancestors in the faith whose example
instills courage to continue proclaiming the Gospel of
reconciliation, justice and peace.
The Church grounds her action in the contemplation of Christ her
Master “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), “who came not to
be served but to serve and give his life in ransom for many” (Mc
10:45). His self-emptying raises us up into the Family of God, in a
renewed humanity, reconciled and animated by his Spirit (cf. Phil
To ensure its mission of reconciliation, justice and peace, the
Church- Family of God in Africa should become aware of her identity,
ponder her being and act attentively to the truth and faithfully to
her mission. Her members should themselves be reconciled within her
and be a model of Christ the Servant. The communion among pastors,
the witness of their life, their relationships with co-workers and
their treatment of employees, are several areas which deserve
The Synod Fathers took the time to listen to one other and became
aware of different aspects of this mission and the different agents
who are involved: individuals, the family, children, youth, Small
Christian Communities, lay people, religious, the clergy....
Besides the social issues identified for careful examination in the
Instrumentum laboris (the family, the dignity of women, the
prophetic mission, the media and new technologies of information and
communication, self-sufficiency), a new sector emerged from several
interventions of Synod Fathers: the socio-religious.
The Synod Fathers saw the first task of the Church-Family of God in
Africa to be the rehabilitation of the African family in its dignity
and its vocation, for it is threatened by dangerous ideologies
(gender ideology). All African cultures hold the family in great
esteem and so, for good reason, the Church in Africa defines herself
as “Church-Family of God”, an expression consecrated by the previous
Synod but which would be further enriched in giving the “Family” a
solid Christian anthropological foundation, better able to manifest
its identity and open itself to the dimension of the universal
Church. The Synod Fathers vigorously denounced the ideology and
international programmes which are imposed on African countries
under false pretexts or as conditions for development assistance.
They are harmful for the family. Competent persons must be trained
and enabled, when necessary, to form Catholic family associations
and other lay movements which defend the interests of the family and
engage in public discussion (conferences, radio programmes...). A
contextualized socio-pastoral analyses should be introduced in
seminaries, novitiates and other houses of formation in order to
discover, evaluate and prevent whatever risk or danger which could
threaten the family institution.
Finally, there is the urgent need to re-define the family as the
“Domestic Church” and the primary place for education in love,
reconciliation, justice and peace. In this way, Christian families
would become the solid foundation of vibrant Eccelsial Communities
that would in turn form “family communities” into true schools of
evangelization. The apostolate of the family must integrate and
embrace these elements.
THE DIGNITY OF WOMAN AND HER ROLE IN SERVICE TO RECONCILIATION,
JUSTICE AND PEACE
Women engender life and train other members of the family to be
truly human. But her personal growth and development remains
thwarted, frustrated by cultural traditions (genital mutilation) and
her dignity wounded by modern situations (pornography, prostitution,
violence and many kinds of humiliations in society).
The Synod Fathers have heard the cry of women which has been echoed
by some of their own members. . . The Church-Family of God is
invited to do something about the grave injustices which have been
meted out to them. Women need to be recognized in society as well as
in the Church as active members engaged in the life of the Church.
Their contribution to the development and the protection of the
human family, even in times of conflicts, must be recognized and
As mothers, they are the first teachers of their children about love
and social life. As wives, they are the trusted partners of their
husbands . . . The Synod Fathers are called upon to give serious
consideration and thought to women and to courageously highlight the
potentialities of women already demonstrated in the management of
their family life . . . they are certainly capable of doing a lot
for the Church.
Consequently, an in-depth evangelization of traditional culture will
help free them from certain customs and practices that are contrary
to the Gospel, but which are still very much in vogue in certain
societies today (polygamy/polygyny, domestic violence,
discrimination with regard to inheritance, forced marriage...women
as the first victims of HIV and AIDS . .. .).
Their self-development (love, respect and the recognition of their
rights . . . ) will make their contributions more effective and
sure, especially in engendering and sustaining a culture of peace.
They are naturally well-disposed to this by their own “genius”:
their gifts of patience, hospitality and the ability to listen as
THE SOCIO-RELIGIOUS SECTOR
Fear and insecurity characterize the life of faith among many of the
peoples of Africa (doubt, suspicion, self-defence, aggression, fear
of evil spirits, divination, occultism, syncretism . . .). An
in-depth analysis reveals an insatiable desire to amass wealth
selfishly, which is the root of all conflicts present in various
regions of Africa. The Catholic faithful find the sects appealing,
because of problems in society that they may have, and because of
their desire for quick solutions to their physical and psychological
problems. The sects abuse the weaknesses or ignorance of the
faithful. Certain groups attack the Church through occult practices.
The Synod Fathers were invited by some speakers to return to
teaching basic elements of the Christian faith in order to help the
faithful to live their daily lives in coherence with their faith. A
balanced spirituality can help Christians to resist the pressures of
As for injustices suffered (armed conflicts, violence…), the Synod
Father heard moving testimonies by persons who have experienced
Pardon – which show that Justice-Forgiveness-Truth are inseparable.
What has been an injury inflicted cannot be repaired, unless the
evil is recognized and confessed. Upon confession, forgiveness,
requested and granted, frees both victim and perpetrator to
establish a new and stronger relationship. This power to love and to
forgive is a gift of God (testimony given in the synod hall).
The faithful will learn to base their relationships and their
- the assurance which Christ gives of his permanent presence in
their heart: “I am with you always until the end of time” (Mt
- the fullness of life which He alone can give by sacrificing his
own (cf. Jn 17:2-3);
- peace which Christ alone can give, not as the world gives it (Jn
- Christ’s justice which surpasses all human justice (Mt 5:38).
The sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Penance, are
inexhaustible sources of strength to build the Church-Family of God.
God is the only source of life, “Christ, … first-born from among the
dead, has reconciled us with God by his blood on his Cross… (cf. Col
1:15ff). We are linked by a blood-tie with Christ who inducts us
into the great brotherhood of which he is the eldest.
It is crucial to convince the Christian faithful that the fraternal
bonds established by Christ through the waters of baptism and
through his blood which are stronger than blood ties. He is the
eldest of a multitude of brothers and sisters, thus establishing a
shared sonship, which restores the dignity to every person in
Africa, reconciles him within himself and with others, heals him
personally, socially, culturally, politically and economically.
Consequently, the sacred character and dignity of each person are
recognized and respected no matter who a person is and whatever the
situation in which he finds himself. This requires solidarity,
sharing, respect for one another, hospitality, gathering-together
(assembly) and reconciliation for a restorative justice…
The Eucharist as source and summit of Christian life should be where
reconciliation and peace are best expressed (cf. Eucharistic Prayer
III). The same Body of Christ feeds us and the same Blood of Christ
flows in our veins.
A more thorough catechesis on the sacraments can help the faithful
live the Eucharist with greater depth and benefit -- for in many
communities, the “Mass” remains a parenthesis in the day or the
week. The Eucharist has not yet penetrated the daily life and
activity of many of the faithful…as we see at the kiss of peace
which is overlooked or void of meaning. At the Eucharist each
participant is sent on a special mission of reconciliation, healing,
justice and peace to others.
The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation (Penance) should
vividly manifest its double aspects: personal and communitarian. In
certain cases everything points to the communitarian celebration of
reconciliation in order to dress and heal the wounds of families and
societies ripped apart by situations of violence, conflict and war.
As sin has a social dimension, so reconciliation should also engage
the whole community.
THE PROPHETIC MISSION OF THE CHURCH FAMILY OF GOD IN AFRICA
The Church-Family of God, by her nature, her coherent social
doctrine, her geographical extension and her solicitude for the good
of the human person is in a better position than other organizations
to assume the work of reconciliation, justice and peace in Africa.
The Synod Fathers recognized the great need for the Church’s active
presence, at forums, at the national, regional and continental
levels, where decisions and questions are made, which affect human
development (socio-economic), the establishment of harmonious
relations between conflicting parties (mediation) and the
re-establishment of relations guaranteeing peace in the future.
To speak of reconciliation, justice and peace and to guarantee a
more sensible and better coordinated engagement between conflicting
parties, bishops must speak with one voice within their Episcopal
Conferences (national, regional or continental). It is necessary to
create a synergy between all ecclesiastical institutions (SECAM,
COSMAM, continental associations and organizations of lay people) in
order to engage the Church’s many aspects of life and activities in
the service to reconciliation, justice and peace on the continent.
Some specialized offices (watch posts) are to be created, if it is
necessary, to be able to deal with new challenges, to develop
actions or to follow the evolution of certain situations or issues
such as foreign interference, greed, ethnicism...all potential
causes of ethnic conflicts. All the root causes of ethnic conflicts
in Africa must be confronted without fear or favour and ought to be
objects of a continental, pastoral plan of action or some precise
The Bishops of Africa should also show a great interest in
reinforcing their presence at continental organizations (AU), in
harmony with the Holy See (Vatican Diplomatic Corp), with a view to
stimulating, encouraging and guaranteeing initiatives which promote
reconciliation, justice, and peace.
The tragedy of the pandemic of HIV-AIDS was not overlooked by the
Synod Fathers, who encouraged those who work in this matter to
continue in their work in order to bring hope to persons infected by
this disease and to encourage them to resist the temptation of
losing hope. The mission of the Church-Family of God in Africa, in
living fidelity to the Gospel of Christ, is committed to the fight
for the reduction of the social stigmatization of the persons
affected by HIV/AIDS, as it is in the effort to replace violence
through building bridges of reconciliation, justice and peace and as
it is committed to engaging public authorities in order to speak in
the name of and on behalf of those who have no voice. An appeal was
made for synergy and solidarity among all, so that diseases in
Africa receive the same attention (treatment) as those of Europe
In the struggle to preserve human life and for the ensure greater
peace among all human beings, more voices were raised to demand the
closure of factories which make arms and exacerbate conflicts in
Africa. Besides conflicts over space and territory and those
concerning the exploitation of minerals in Africa, a conflict over
water is looming large on the horizon. Consqeuently, it is necessary
to remain vigilant concerning the degradation of the environment and
its effect on climate change.
The Synod Fathers are also aware that the causes of armed conflicts
in Africa are not only tribalism but the lust of some multinational
corporations in their desire for exclusive rights over strategic
resources (Petroleum, uranium, coltan, etc.) which engender
conflicts. The Synod Fathers ask that there be put in place an
international judicial system which would aim at controlling the
activities of multinational and transnational mining companies.
The conflicts in Africa force a look at their recent history (the
danger of exaggerated nationalism and the concept of race which are
anti-Christian). Many Christians are in public offices, in political
life and in places where decisions are taken (the Parliament).
Despite this, however, some laws contrary to Christian morals have
been passed, especially concerning the family. Consequently, there
is the need to train Christian men and women politicians and to
provide them with a solid Christian formation (the Bible, moral
theology, the social teachings of the Church, Church History…) and
with juridical tools that will enable them to defend Christian
values (especially the family) and thus contribute positively to the
formulation of legislative texts which respect Christian moral
values. The Synod Fathers recognized that it is not enough to train
the lay faithful in political leadership in various countries on the
continent, but it is also necessary to support them in their work…
in order to make them agents of change in the society (good
management of families, social responsibility and political
Some lay apostolic movements can contribute to the service of
reconciliation, justice and peace. Through her specialized
institutions, the Church can cooperate with the civil society and
serious NGO’s or other religious confessions, to face the common
challenge of the integral promotion of human rights.
The coverage of African conflicts and their instrumentalization by
the media constitute a challenge to the Church-Family of God in
Africa. The Synod Fathers were informed of the efforts being made by
many Dioceses to establish diocesan radio stations. These stations
help promote the ideal of fraternity and peaceful coexistence,
reconciliation, justice and peace among the people. The power of the
media can also be useful in spreading the Good News in a continent
that is still largely characterized by the oral tradition and
A good technical and religious formation of Catholic agents of
communication (especially in the social teachings of the Church) is
a priority. At the same time, it is necessary to train the Pastors
themselves and all pastoral agents in the language of the media and
its good use. Generally speaking, the lay faithful ought to learn to
exercise discernment and a critical spirit, when faced with the
ideologies propagated by the media.
Particular attention is to be given to youth. They are the first to
be victimized by the devastating effects of globalization on their
moral standards and value system. Consequently, an integral,
complete education is needed at all levels (children, youth and
adults) in the practice of those social values which are
indispensable for harmoniously living together, namely, the
promotion of human life, the unity of the human race, the equal
dignity of the persons and respect for the common good and the
rights which all enjoy.
This begins in the family and continues in Catholic schools and
institutions, which are still the best places for forming the values
of Christian life, especially a culture of tolerance, harmonious
co-existence, service to others, reconciliation, justice and peace.
The formation of seminarians ought to be taken care of. A good
blending of philosophy and theology will ensure an adequate response
to the questions posed by the world. It is necessary to create a
ratio nationalis institutionis sacerdotalis, to help favour
discernment and spiritual and affective formation, adapted to
circumstances and persons. This rigorous discernment and a
spiritual, affective formation adapted to situations will make of
priests persons firmly rooted in their cultures and faithful to the
teaching of the Church.
The concern for competent and well-trained formators should be a
priority. The involvement of the family and the Christian community,
faithful to the evangelical counsels, will assist them to base their
life on their belonging to Christ alone.
THE CONSECRATED LIFE
The consecrated life is rapidly growing in the Church-Family of God
in Africa. As in the case of the clergy and priestly vocations,
there are shortcomings in the area of discernment and formators. The
Synodal Fathers are called upon to help religious life remain
faithful to its prophetic mission by supporting it to carry out its
mission ad Gentes and to encourage it through a witness of
communion. They were made aware of the practice of young African
girls sent to Europe to be trained in religious life, sometimes with
a disappointing outcome: some refuse to return and end up in
troubles. This subject needs to be addressed by the Synod Fathers.
The COSMAM has become a reality on the continent as a supporting
structure for religious life in Africa and a forum for dialogue with
the Bishops on the continent (SECAM).
ONE CHURCH-FAMILY OF GOD WITH MANY FACES
The Church-Family of God, either north or south of the Sahara, has
the same mission of service. The Church-Family of God in the north
of the Sahara has the same mission of service as the Church south of
the Sahara. However, it is still not entirely integrated in the
Church-Family of God in Africa. It is a “crossroad” Church (with
many paths coming together), which, however, is called to be the
«Church of the Pentecost», because it becomes a multicultural Church
on account of the increasing number of sub-Saharian students. They
learn how to live their faith in a new context and to face the
future with courage, despite various injustices.
Despite its situation of being a Christian minority in the midst of
Muslims, the Church has good dialogue rapport with Islam and is
involved in different services to society: social, cultural and
educational. The Synod Fathers from these Churches invited their
brother-bishops to engage and to dialogue with other religions
without “complexes”: to overcome their fears and past burdens
(relationships between the Arab world and black Africa), and to
establish partnerships with Muslims of good will, so as to reduce
- as a Christian minority in a Muslim milieu, to be associated to
the Synod of Bishops of 2010 (Middle East);
- the organisation of a continental workshop for the exchange of
experiences concerning different kinds of relationships with Islam
(from Tunisia to Johannesburg).
- the Saints, Blesseds and Martyrs of the Church-Family of God in
Africa need to be remembered.
Apart from the Saints and Blesseds of Africa, whom the Holy Father
never forgets to mention, the Synod Fathers have recalled the memory
of bishops, priests, religious, sisters, lay faithful and
seminarians who remained faithful to their service until the end, to
the point of giving their life, like Christ.
Other people have also died tragically in the service of the common
good. They must be remembered along with the Church’s members. All
these heroes of service and reconciliation should be presented to
young people as role-models.The attention of the international
community should be drawn to the injustices and violence committed
in Africa each day, inviting it to a stronger solidarity.
The international community needs to be invited to commit itself to
the reconstruction of the countries destroyed by war.
“Salt” and “Light” are the metaphors/images with which the Servant
of God, Pope John Paul II, once described the mission of Christ’s
faithful, in the multiplicity and diversity of their identities and
roles, in Africa and on its Islands. He said: “In the pluralistic
society of our day, it is especially due to the commitment of
Catholics in public life that the Church can exercise a positive
influence. Whether they be professionals or teachers, businessmen or
civil servants, law enforcement agents or politicians, Catholics are
expected to bear witness to goodness, truth and justice and love of
God in their daily life. The task of the faithful lay person is to
be salt of the earth and light of the world, especially in those
places where only the lay person is able to render the Church
The reference in the theme of this Synod to the invitation of Christ
to his disciples to be “salt of the earth and light of the world”
does not only refer to the witness that the Church-family of God in
Africa, like the disciples of Jesus (Acts 1:8), must give on the
continent, its Islands and in the world. It is also a reference to a
method for credible evangelization and apostolic mission, prescribed
by the Lord after the manner of his own mission.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn.3::16); and
the mission of the incarnate Son of God in the world was described
by Paul as the self-emptying of the Son of God to become man:
“Though he was in the form of God..... (he) emptied himself, taking
the form of a slave” (Phil.2:6-7). As such, Jesus carried out his
mission on earth, bringing his self-emptying to its highest
expression in his suffering and death on the cross, in fulfilment of
the servant God prophecies in the Old Testament (Is.52-53 etc.).
This is the character of the servant role that the Synod theme
evokes for bringing reconciliation, justice and peace on the
continent and on its Islands.. “Servant (in the service) of
Reconciliation, Justice and Peace”, as the theme of our Synod,
invites the Church-family of God in Africa to a paschal life in
being agents of reconciliation, justice and peace; and that is what
the metaphors of salt and light stand for. It is the rooting of our
method of apostolic action of serving reconciliation, justice and
peace in the sacrifice we make of our lives and in that of Christ.
For, the same must be in us that was in Christ Jesus (cfr.
In this Synod, the sense has been variously expressed that the
Church-family of God in Africa must be transformed from within; and
that she must transform the continent, its Islands and the world
like salt and like light. She envisages an apostolic mission, which
her pastors and other pastoral workers have variously articulated in
this assembly as:
- Liberating the continent’s people from fear of all sorts;
- Ensuring a conversion that is deep and permanent, and a “solid”
formation of all kinds (faith, catechetical, moral, media, culture
of love, peace, justice, reconciliation, good governance,
- Dialogue on all levels, including the environment;
- Advocacy roles for various social concerns and needs, especially
the place of women in society, the education of the children and the
- Migration and various forms of population movement and the which
require our pastoral care;
- The challenging ministry of changing attitudes and mentalities,
freeing them from effects of of a past of colonialism, exploitation,
- Positioning the continent and its people to resist the onslaught
of globalization and the attendant challenges of a global ethic,
unjust trade conditions, ethnocentrism, fundamentalisms, etc.
The polyvalent symbol, salt, expresses the very many forms of
paschal existence, under which the Church-family of God in Africa
must serve reconciliation, justice and peace (and now also truth,
which this assembly has closely associated with them); and the light
of the Gospel leads us on.
 Emphasis is mine. Cf. Letter of Pope John Paul II to Archbishop
Nikola Eterovic on the occasion of the Meeting of the Special
Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of
Bishops, Vatican, 23 Feb., 2005.
 On 26 June 2006, at a Press Conference in the Vatican, addressed
by Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Special Council for Africa of the
General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops made public the
Lineamenta of the Second Special Assembly for Africa; and on 19
March 2009, at Yaoundé, the Holy Father presented the Instrumentum
laboris of the Second Special Assembly for Africa.
 FIRST SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR AFRICA, Instrumentum Laboris, 1993,
 SECOND SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR AFRICA, Lineamenta, “Preface”.
 JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio
et Poenitentia, 2.
 The “wicked” )רשע) is the opposite of the righteous. He destroys
communion and community by failing to fulfil the demands of
community relations. (The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible,
 Pope John Paul II defines “mercy” as “a special power of love,
which prevails over sin and infidelity of the chosen people” (Dives
in Misericordia , 4.3).
 Thus, Pope John Paul II teaches that in relationships between
individuals and social groups etc., “justice is not enough”. There
is need for that “deeper power, which is love” (cf. Dives in
 The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 3, 63.
 THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 2304.
 BENEDICT XVI, Homily, St. Peter’s Basilica, Sunday 4/10/09.
 ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, Contra Gentes, 1, III, c. 128.
 JOHN XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 72.
 SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Gaudium et Spes, 84.
 Although it is a task, something to work for, “peace” is a gift
of God, something our earthly peace only dimly anticipates.
 SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Gaudium et Spes, 78.
 JOHN PAUL II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in
1. How aware is the Church-Family of God in Africa and its Islands,
and the rest of Catholic world of the incidence of this Synod? What
could been done; and what needs to be done?
GATHERED AGAIN IN A SPECIAL ASSEMBLY FOR AFRICAOF THE SYNOD OF
2. What is your appreciation of this Synod as an “exercise of
ecclesial communion” of the universal Church? Is there room for
improvement of this sense of the Synod?
OTHER STRUCTURES OF ECCLESIAL COMMUNION
3. Pope John Paul II said: “..... To build a prosperous and a stable
society, Africa needs all her children to join forces...”. How do
you evaluate the various forms of collegial and collaborative
ministry in the Church-family of God in Africa and its Islands?
THE SETTING OF THE SECOND ASSEMBLY: AFRICA’S WOES OR CHALLENGES?
4. Pope John Paul II said: “Wounded human hearts (are) the ultimate
hiding place for the cause of everything destabilizing the African
continent”. What is your assessment of this statement? Can you
adduce examples and evidence?
5. The Instrumentum laboris, 66 says: “Some think that a more basic
reason for the instability of societies on the continent is linked
to cultural alienation and racial discrimination, which have
engendered along the course of African history an inferiority
complex, fatalism and fear”. What is you view on this? How does the
Synod theme help you deal with this?
6. Do you agree with the characterization of the wrongs and problems
Synod Fathers observed about Africa and its Islands as “challenges”?
How real have you found the description of the First Special
Assembly of Bishops for Africa as “Synod of hope and of the
7. How true is it that Synod Fathers tended to generalize,
amplifying local Church and National issues to apply to all of
Africa? What specific situations in your local church and Country
are resonate with the Synod theme or find solutions therein?
THE STRENGTHENING OF FAITH IN CHRIST
8. To what extent would you agree that the Synod theme is first and
foremost a “programme of spirituality”, and then an activity?
9. Several interventions in the assembly deplored the quality of
Christian witness and the commitment of people to their faith
(before sects, witchcraft etc.). How do you evaluate our existing
methods for bringing people to faith and into the Church? What would
do to ensure a conversion that is deep and permanent?
CHRIST OUR RECONCILIATION
10. What positive aspects of African tradition and culture can be
useful in the Christian catechesis on reconciliation, justice and
peace? Can the Sacrament of reconciliation be made meaningful to our
faithful through the adoption of such aspects?
11. What elements in our tradition and culture constitute obstacles
to the Christian understanding and celebration of reconciliation?
12. “Bien des Chrétiens ont temoigner jusqu’au martyre en faveur de
l’évangile de la fraternité générée par l’eau du baptême’’. What is
your experience of the opposition between ethnic ties and ecclesial
bond in your local Church?
CHRIST OUR JUSTICE
13. Whom would you identify as victims of injustice in your local
Church area and country? How can you bring them justice? Is it
possible to set up structures in the grass-root levels for
co-operation with other religions in conflicts prevention and
resolution and in the formation of a culture of justice and
peace?14. What practical steps ought to be taken in order to form
our lay faithful for the apostolate of Christian leadership within
15. In what ways can women be allowed to apply their various talents
in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and reconciliation
within the Church and in the larger society?
CHRIST OUR PEACE
16. “In truth is peace” (Pope Benedict XVI). This teaching of the
Holy Father was echoed several times in the assembly and related to
justice and the rule of law. How will you teach this to the rank an
file of your local church?
17. “Christ is our peace!” How can we make this faith assertion real
in our lives? How can it be celebrated ordinarily in our Christian
communities and lives?
18. What strategic plan should be put in place on the continental
level to safeguard and protect the African Family? The Church-Family
of God would in this way make its own contribution to the universal
Church to help other Churches where the process of the decline of
the family is already well underway.
THE DIGNITY OF WOMAN AND HER ROLE IN SERVICE TO
RECONCILIATION, JUSTICE AND PEACE
19. How should a plan of action be put in place to return dignity to
African women and strengthen their capabilities so that they can be
more consciously engaged in the building up the Church-Family of God
in Africa? What concrete programmes should be put in place in order
to make women more active participants and responsible agents of
guidance in the life of the Church?
THE SOCIO-RELIGIOUS SECTOR
20. Why are blood-ties (human alliances) taken into account more
than the Blood of Christ (the new and eternal Covenant)? How to
develop the spirituality of the Eucharist lived in daily life? (A
continental Eucharistic congress?)
21. How can “Reconciliation” be celebrated in the Eucharist and the
Sacrament of Penance that it can lead to genuine mending of
relationships and transform us into ambassadors of reconciliation?
THE PROPHETIC MISSION OF THE CHURCH FAMILY OF GOD IN AFRICA
22. How do we build on the positive experiences of justice and peace
commisions or other similar intiative to search for a pedagogy of
reconciliation, which can respond to the traumatisation of
often-forgotten communities and can assist those responsible for
these traumas to positively repent of their actions? A pastoral plan
of action has been proposed by the Episcopal Conference of
23. Why do Christians have so little influence in political life?
Has the Gospel anything to say to these Christian leaders in their
24. How do we re-establish the positive power of the WORD as a
medium of formation in reconciliation, justice and peace, given that
the WORD has been disfigured and devalued by abuse, lies and hate or
derogatory propaganda by some media agents?
25. How are our pastors “servant leaders” in our Churches and
communities? How do they, as agents of evangelization, consider
themselves as servants of reconciliation, justice and peace?
[Text by the General Secretariate of the Synod of Bishops]
[00241-02.11] [RE000] [Original text: English]
DONO DEL SANTO PADRE
La nuova “Liturgia delle Ore” per l’Africa è il dono che il Santo
Padre Benedetto XVI ha voluto offrire ai Padri sinodali e ai
Partecipanti di lingua inglese. Il testo liturgico è stato reso
disponibile in occasione della II Assemblea Speciale per l’Africa
del Sinodo dei Vescovi e dell’Anno Sacerdotale. La sua preparazione
è cominciata quattro anni fa, dopo la richiesta dei Vescovi
dell’Associazione dei Membri delle Conferenze Episcopali in Africa
Orientale (A.M.E.C.E.A.). La Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la
Disciplina dei Sacramenti ha incoraggiato il progetto e ha chiesto
alla Conferenza Episcopale del Kenya di approvare i nuovi testi
liturgici e proporli alla stessa Congregazione per la “confirmatio”,
giunta nel febbraio di quest’anno. La nuova edizione contiene
diverse novità. Le Lodi e i Vespri della Domenica sono stati
arricchiti dalle nuove antifone al “Benedictus” e al “Magnificat”,
per una profonda connessione tra la Celebrazione Eucaristica
domenicale e la Liturgia delle Ore. Aggiunte inoltre le Memorie dei
Santi che negli ultimi anni sono entrate a far parte del Calendario
Generale Romano (Il Santissimo Nome di Gesù, Santa Josephine
Bakhita, San Pio da Pietrelcina, ecc.) ed un Calendario Proprio per
il Kenya. L’edizione completa si compone di quattro volumi, e segue
l’impostazione e lo stile dell’edizione latina. È stata approntata
anche una versione ridotta in due volumi. L’edizione è curata dalla
“Paulines Publications Africa”.
[00278-01.03]  [Testo originale: italiano]