The Holy See Search



4-25 OCTOBER 2009

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

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

English Edition


06 - 06.10.2009





At 9.00 today Tuesday 6 October 2009, in memory of the monk, St. Bruno, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the Hour of Terce, the Third General Congregation began, to vote on the Commission for the Message and to begin the interventions by the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. “You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13,14).

The President Delegate, His Eminence Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, OFM, Archbishop of Durban (SOUTH AFRICA) presented His Holiness Abuna Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church (ETHIOPIA), with the following words: "I am certain that I express the sentiments of all of you when I say that we are very grateful to the Holy Father for inviting His Holiness Abuna Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, to address this Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.
In His Holiness Abuna Paulos we will hear the voice of a Church that for nearly two thousand years has lived and borne testimony to the Gospel in Africa, giving rise to a Christian civilization of holy men and women, of social and cultural values and institutions that have farmed and informed the people and the nation at their very heart.
Just as the continent of Africa faces enormous challenges, so too do the Churches in Africa face painful tests and trials. His Holiness has personally experienced the rigours of jail and exile. The rich monastic, spiritual, liturgical and cultural life of the Ethiopian Church is a heritage of the Christian tradition to be cherished and loved by all of us.
Your Holiness, we will listen to your words with appreciation and gratitude.”

[00031-02.03] [IN000] [Original text: English]

Then His Holiness Abuna PAULOS offered a Reflection, which we publish below.

At the end, the Holy Father Benedict XVI greeted the Patriarch, with the following words: "Your Holiness, I thank you wholeheartedly for your thoughtful presentation and for accepting my invitation to take part in the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. I am sure that my gratitude and appreciation are shared by all the members of the Assembly.
Your presence bears eloquent witness to the antiquity and rich traditions of the Church in Africa. From apostolic times, among the many people yearning to hear Christ's message of salvation were those coming from Ethiopia (cf. Acts 8:26-40). Your people's fidelity to the Gospel continues to be shown not only by their obedience to his law of love, but also, as you have reminded us, by perseverance amid persecution and the supreme sacrifice of martyrdom for the name of Christ.
Your Holiness has recalled that the proclamation of the Gospel cannot be separated from the commitment to build a society which conforms to God's will, respects the blessings of his creation and protects the dignity and innocence of all his children. In Christ we know that reconciliation is possible, justice can prevail, peace can endure! This is the message of hope which we are called to proclaim. This is the promise which the people of Africa long to see fulfilled in our day.
Let us pray, then, that our Churches may draw closer in the unity which is the Holy Spirit's gift, and bear common witness to the hope brought by the Gospel. Let us continue to work for the integral development of all Africa's peoples, strengthening the families which are the bulwark of African society, educating the young who are Africa's future, and contributing to the building of societies marked by honesty, integrity and solidarity. May our deliberations during these weeks help Christ's followers throughout the continent to be convincing examples of righteousness, mercy and peace, and a light to guide the path of coming generations.
Your Holiness, once again I thank you for your presence and your valued reflections. May your participation in this Synod be a blessing for our Churches.”

[00032-02.04] [RE000] [Original text: English]

At this General Congregation, which ended at 12.30 with the prayer Angelus Domini, 226 Fathers were present.


In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit One God, Amen!
Dear participants of this great congress of Cardinals and Bishops.
I feel honoured and privileged to be invited to this grand Synod and deliver a brief speech about Africa and Churches in this continent. I am especially grateful to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, who wanted me among you today and who personally witnessed to me his love for Africa and his respect for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, during our last fraternal meeting here in Rome last June.
Africa is the second largest continent. It is home to all kinds of people with a great variety of colours who live in harmony and equality.
This spectrum of colours is a gift from God to Africa and it adds beauty to the continent. It is furthermore the proof that Africa is a continent where all kinds of people live in equality regardless of difference in colour and race.Anthropologists, philosophers, and academicians confirmed that Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular is indeed the cradle of mankind. And the Holy Bible confirms this profound conviction. History, according to the Ethiopian calendar starts from Adam and Noah. That is to say that for the Ethiopians the beginning of mankind, our present and our future is marked today and for ever by God and His salvation.
Africa, whose people’s ancient dignity is written in the stones of the Axum obelisk, Egyptian pyramids, of monuments as well as manuscripts, was not only a source of civilization. According to the Holy Bible, Africa was also a refuge for people who were hit by hunger: this is the case of the Jews at the time of Jacob when they spent seven years in Egypt.
The Holy Bible states that the Jews and the prophet Jeremiah who suffered a lot from the aggression of the Babylonians were saved in Ethiopia and Egypt. People who were living in Middle Eastern parts of the world had been relieved from their hunger in Ethiopia and Egypt.
Jesus Christ Himself and Saint Mary were welcomed in Egypt, while fleeing the cruel threat of Herod. It is clear that Africans do care for humanity!
Africa remains a religious continent whose people have believed in the Almighty God for centuries. Queen Sheba had taught her compatriots about the Old Testament which she learnt from Israel. Since then, The Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia, in the city of Axum.
The son of queen Sheba, Manlike I, had followed her example and managed to bring the Ark of the Covenant of Moses to Africa, Ethiopia.
The history of the Ethiopian eunuch and the strong, well organized Law of Moses, and the religious practices and cultures in depth that exist in Ethiopia indicate that the Law of Moses used to be practiced in Ethiopia better than that of in Israel. Still this can be witnessed by studying culture and living style of Ethiopians.
It is in Alexandria, Egypt, where the Holy Bible was translated into non-Hebrew languages. These African translations are known as the “Translation of the Seventy Scholars”. (‘Sebeka Likawunt’)
Holy Scripture indicates that like the ancient times in the Old Testament, Africans have the custom of worshiping by the law of conscience in the New Testament period.
The then Ethiopian king of kings, emperor Bazen, was one of the kings who went to Bethlehem to worship the child Jesus.
The Gospel tells us that it was an African, a man from Libya, named Simon of Cyrene took upon himself the Cross of Jesus as He was going to Golgotha.
And behold, an Ethiopian eunuch had come to Jerusalem in 34 AD to worship God in accordance with the Law of Moses. By the order of the Holy Spirit, the eunuch was baptized by Philip. Upon his return to Africa, the eunuch preached Christianity to his nation. Then Ethiopia became the second nation after Israel to believe in Christ; and the Ethiopian Church became the first Church in Africa.
Great stories of faith have marked the first centuries of Christianity in Africa because Africans have always lived a profound charity and a great devotion in the New Testament.
Africa is the region from where celebrated scholars and religious fathers , such as St. Augustinos, St. Tertulianos, St. Siprianos as well as St. Athnasius and St. Kerlos come from. These fathers are celebrated both in the continent and world wide.
St. Yared who has composed beautiful Church hymns and whom the world recognizes for his outstanding creativity, was also originally from Africa. St. Yared is a son of Ethiopia. St. Yared’s hymns are among the wonders of the world for which Ethiopia is known to the world. The deeds of all these Fathers characterize Africa.
According to scholars it is in Africa that the first Canon of the Holy Bible was defined.History also reminds us of the martyrdom of Christians in North Africa when, their kind, a non-believer, raised the sword against them in the effort of completely destroy Christianity. At the same time Christians who were mistreated and persecuted in different parts of the world came to Africa, especially to Ethiopia and have lived in peace in the region.
Devoted Ethiopians have also demonstrated their outstanding hospitality to the nine Saints and other tens of thousands of Christians who were persecuted from Eastern Europe and came to Africa in groups. The residences and the tombs of those persecuted Christians have been kept as sacred shrines in various parts of Ethiopia.
In Africa and in Ethiopia we have pieces of the Holy Cross. The right part of the Cross has been kept in Ethiopia, in a place called Goshen Mountain.
The Cross of Christ was carried also by the Christians of Africa. I am thinking about my Church that recently suffered a hard persecution during the communist dictatorship, with many new martyrs among whom the Patriarch Theophilos, and before him, Abuna Petros, during the colonial period. I myself, then a bishop, spent long years in jail before being exiled. When I became Patriarch, after the end of communism, there was much to be rebuilt. This has been our work, through the help of God, the prayer of our monks and the generosity of the faithful.
Africa is a potentially wealthy continent, with fertile soil, natural resources, and a variety of plants and animal species. Africa has a suitable climate and possesses several precious minerals. For it has been a continent with many untapped natural resources, many have still their eyes on it. It is also undeniable that the civilization gains in other parts of the world is the result of labour and resource from Africa.
Africans have done such blessed works for the world. What has the world done for them?
Africa had been badly colonized and its resources have been exploited. The rich nations who developed exploiting African resources remember Africa only when they need something from it. They haven’t supported the continent in its struggle for the development at all.
Each and every nation of the continent have various problems and challenges. The problem could be social, political, economic, as well as spiritual.
While the living standard of the African peoples is lower than that of the rest of the world, there are some reasons why such poor living standards get worse and expand all over the continent. The lack of access to education is the major problem in which the youth as a result fail to get enough education. No country and people do achieve development and prosperity without education and knowledge.
As we all are well aware, the HIV/AIDS pandemic could not be averted despite relentless efforts. However, we should encourage all those experiences that show us how to heal and resist evil, to give hope by creating synergy and by providing to Africa the same treatments Europe itself has received. At the same time other kinds of diseases are currently threatening badly. We call the world to work in harmony in this regard. The Council of All African Churches is exerting efforts to curb the problems being occurred in the continent especially the chaos which extremists are creating. Religious leaders of Christianity and the faithful in general should join hands in this endeavour.
Africa is enchained by heavy global debts that both the current generation nor the future ones can bear.
In what way should we condemn the civil war that is usually fought by child soldiers who are also the victims of these tragic violent acts. How to condemn the overtly and covertly displacement and migration of people?
The International Human Rights Law clearly states that any person under the age of 18 cannot be a member of any fighting group because he is a ‘child’. However, some countries are currently forcing children under 18 into military service. This is a clear violation of human rights. Therefore, it is mandatory for leaders of African Churches to cry out as one voice that these behaviours have to stop at once.
Therefore, I would like to use the floor to urge all religious leaders to work for peace and protect the natural resources God gave us, and defend the life and innocence of children.
In a significant number of African countries, basic necessities such as food and potable water and shelter couldn’t be realized. Generally speaking, most Africans live in a situation where there is a shortage of most of the basic human necessities and services. Though Africa declared its freedom from colonialism long ago, there are still many circumstances which make it dependent on the rich countries. The enormous debt, the exploitation of its natural resources by few, the traditional agricultural practice and unsatisfactory introduction of modern agricultural systems, the dependency of its people on rain which impacted negatively in ensuring food security, migration and brain drain of its people greatly affecting the continent.
I am hopeful that as their Graces African cardinals and bishops had discussed this issue previously, today this great synod would discuss the issue and propose possible solutions.
I believe that we, religious leaders and Heads of Churches, have a very unique task and responsibility: to acknowledge and sustain, when we deem it necessary, the suggestions that come from the people, as, on the contrary, to reject them when they contradict the respect and love for Man, that has its roots in the Gospel.
Christians are expected to be messengers of change in bringing justice, peace, reconciliation and development. It is what I saw pursued with determination and humility by the Community of Sant’Egidio in all of Africa: fruits of peace and healing are possible, and they undermine all forms of violence, with the strength and the Christian intelligence of love. African religious leaders not only have to worry about the social works but also answer to the great spiritual needs of the women and men of Africa.
Apostleship and social works cannot be treated separately. Social work is the meaning of apostleship. Every word has to be translated in practice. Hence, after every word and promise, practical actions need to follow. Religious fathers are also expected to enhance the awareness of the public to honour human right, peace and justice. Society needs the teachings of their religious fathers in a bid to help them solve their problems in unity and to free themselves from being the target of a problem.
Thus leaders of African Churches, with the power of the Almighty God and the Holy Spirit, need to voice the language of the Church. It is also necessary to realize when, how and to whom to speak. This should be done for the safety of the Churches.
I am really very happy to participate to this Synod of the Catholic Church on Africa. I am an African. My Church is the oldest of Africa: a Church of Martyrs, Saints and monks. I carry my support as a friend and a brother to this endeavour of the Catholic Church for Africa. I thank His Holiness for the invitation and I wish to him a long life and a fruitful ministry.
Let us speak of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the heart of the Africans and Jesus will return to Africa, as he did when he was a child together with the Virgin Mary. And peace, mercy and justice will come together with Jesus!
May God bless the Churches in Africa and their pastors! Amen!

[00014-02.07] [RE000] [Original text: English]


After the interval, the first ballots for the election of the Commission for the Messagewere cast, presided by pontifical nomination by H. Exc. Mons. John Olorunfemi ONAIYEKAN, Archbishop of Abuja (NIGERIA) and Vice President H. Exc. Mons. Youssef Ibrahim SARRAF, Bishop of Cairo of Chaldean Rite (EGYPT). The voting took place electronically.

Electronic Voting System

To vote electronically, the Synodal Fathers use a device, which is also used for attendance purposes. This device can manage two types of voting: simple vote and multiple vote.
Simple vote. When voting on a single motion where a consensus is required, one uses “PLACET”, “NON PLACET”, “ABSTINEO” or “PLACET IUXTA MODUM”. Once the choice is made, it is confirmed by pushing the green button “CONFIRMO”.
Multiple vote. When a vote requires a preference between various motions, one uses the numerical buttons, pushing the number corresponding to one’s choice and confirming with the green button “CONFIRMO”. In case of an error in buttons, “No Valido” will appear on the display.
In case of an error or one wishes to change the choice, push the red button “DELEO” then push the correct button for the correct choice and confirm with the green button “CONFIRMO”. This can be repeated until the President decides that the available time has ended.


After the reflection of the Patriarch the following Fathers intervened:

- H. Em. Card. Angelo SODANO, Head of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Em. Card. Polycarp PENGO, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (S.E.C.A.M.) (TANZANIA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Lucas ABADAMLOORA, Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, President of the Episcopal Conference (GHANA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Fidèle AGBATCHI, Archbishop of Parakou (BENIN)
- H. Em. Card. Franc RODÉ, C.M., Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Maroun Elias LAHHAM, Bishop of Tunis (TUNIS)
- H. Exc. Mons. Simon-Victor TONYÉ BAKOT, Archbishop of Yaoundé, President of the Episcopal Conference (CAMEROON)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

- H. Em. Card. Angelo SODANO, Head of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)

On September 15th 1965, the greatly-missed Paul VI established a new organ of ecclesial communion between the Bishops and the Successor to Peter. This is our “Synodus Episcoporum”.
1. This institution is now 44 years old and it seems to me that its assemblies (22 so far) have contributed greatly to the specific aims that the Legislator attributed to them in the tradition indicated by the Second Vatican Council. These are the aims that the new Code of Canon Law, in 1993, synthesized into the three that follow:a) to favor a close union between the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops;
b) to help with the mission of the Roman Pontiff;
c) to study together problems to do with the Church’s activity in the world (Canon 342).
I have personally witnessed the great importance of these meetings, having participated in the last 12 Synodal Assemblies, some of which were general and others special.
Now the Holy Father has invited me once more to the Synod, almost as a representative of the College of Cardinals, the other millenary ecclesial institution that is called in the same manner to assist the Roman Pontiff in his mission as Pastor of the Universal Church (cf Canon 349).
Of course, we already have present among us a number of Brother Cardinals, from Africa above all. But I am delighted to be here symbolically representing all the 185 Cardinals of the whole world who in this moment are close to us in their prayer and shared apostolic efforts.
2. Every Synod, like every Consistory, is thus destined to be a moment of intense ecclesial communion. In this context I would like to mention Chapter IV of our “Instrumentum laboris”, where it speaks of the Catholic people and institutions called on to operate in the reality of Africa, in favor of reconciliation, justice and peace. That chapter underlines the need for the collaboration of the Bishops with the Episcopal Conferences and for them, in turn, to collaborate with the Symposium of the Conferences of Africa and Madagascar.
It would be good to remember, though, in the first place that there is a need for close collaboration with the Apostolic See, that is, with the Roman Pontiff and his Collaborators.
As has been noted, in the various countries of Africa Pontifical Representatives are also present: 26 committed Apostolic Nuncios who maintain contact with the Bishops of the continent and also establish a constructive dialogue with civilian authorities, to favor the freedom of the Church and contribute to the task of reconciliation, justice and peace: the three aims of this Synod.
In recalling here the mission of the Pontifical Representatives, I would also like to render homage in front of you to the greatly-missed Apostolic Nuncio Mons. Michael Courtney who was brutally murdered in Burundi on December 29th 2003, as he was attempting to seek reconciliation among the country’s various ethnic groups. Unfortunately he was forced to pay with his own blood for his self-sacrificing service in trying to bring peace to that region.
3. And for this reason, I was pleased to note that the theme of reconciliation has priority among the three great themes that are being studied at this Synod: reconciliation, justice and peace.
In truth, today we can see more clearly the enormity of the disasters provoked by nationalism and the exaltation of the concept of race. We here in Europe have had our own sad experience of this down through the centuries, up to the last World War, that in five years was responsible for 55 million deaths!
Now we all have to work to ensure that such historical tragedies do not re-occur. How can we forget that in Africa too homicidal rage between different ethnic groups has devastated entire countries? We need only think of Rwanda and the countries that border it! In 1994 and the years that followed, nationalist ideology was responsible for more than 800,000 deaths, including three committed members of the Episcopate, along with other clergy and members of various religious congregations.
I believe we should repeat to everyone, with greater insistence, that love of one’s nation (concretely, of one’s people, one’s compatriots) is certainly a Christian duty, but we also have to add that the deviation of nationalism is wholly anti-Christian. Of course the concept of nation is very noble. This was formed in a Christian setting, according to many historians, since in ancient times the prevalent systems tended to be the small tribes on the one hand or the massive empires on the other. Instead Christianity favored the coming together of the peoples of a certain region, giving life to the concept of people or nation, with its own specific cultural identity. Christianity, though, has always condemned every deformation in this concept of nation, a deformation that frequently descends into nationalism or even racism, the true negation of Christian universality. In reality, the two basic principles of the Christian community have always been as follows: the dignity of each human person, on the one hand, and the unity of the human species, on the other. These are two inviolable frontiers, within which various concepts of nation can evolve, depending on time and place. And in reality we see today in Europe that many nations are integrating with the aim of a more solid cohabitation, and this is with the support of the local Episcopates and the Apostolic See itself.
4. In conclusion, I would like to say that the present 53 African nations will have a great future in the concert of the 192 nations that today make up the entire human family, if they are able to overcome their divisions and cooperate together for the material and spiritual progress of their peoples. For its part, this Synod wishes to demonstrate yet again to our brothers and sisters in Africa that the Church is close to them and wishes to help them in their mission of being the creators of reconciliation, justice and peace throughout the continent.

[00024-02.03] [IN001] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Em. Card. Polycarp PENGO, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (S.E.C.A.M.) (TANZANIA)

The theme of this Synod is of great urgency today for the Church in Africa. In order to develop and deepen the theme as required, questions like selfishness, greed for material wealth, ethnicity resulting in ethnic conflicts and others which are the root-causes of lack of peace in many Africans Societies must be confronted without fear or favour and be followed up with specific pastoral directives. The wars and conflicts affecting our continent are dividing our people, sowing a culture of violence and destroying the spiritual, social and moral fabric of our societies. It is sad to have to state that there are allegations against some of us pastors being involved either through our omissions or even by direct commissions in these conflicts. In this Synod we must have the courage to denounce even against ourselves things like the misuse of the role and practice of authority, tribalism and ethnocentrism, political partisan of the religious leaders etc... The Church in Africa will not be able to speak with one voice about reconciliation, justice and peace if there is a clear lack of adequate unity and communion and appropriate responsibility for SECAM on the part of individual bishops and national as well as regional Episcopal conferences. We are in need of greater communion and pastoral solidarity within the Church in Africa.
It was planned that just before this Second Special Assembly, SECAM was to hold its 15th Plenary Assembly in Frascati on the theme "Self-reliance the Way Forward for the Church in Africa." Unfortunately and to our embarrassment the assembly had to be called off at the last minute due to lack of financial support from so many of the member Episcopal Conferences - all this while we are celebrating 40 years of SECAM.
It is my hope and prayer that this Synod leads everyòne of us to greater commitment for SECAM!

[00026-02.03] [IN002] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Lucas ABADAMLOORA, Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, President of the Episcopal Conference (GHANA)

Often we have political and economic roles and we must contribute to education and health issues in the light of one's faith. As an individual the Christian is coming from a distinct cultural background which may have some hard lines and it may be opposed to one's faith. Often the individual may find himself opposed by many factors, which as such do not allow him to do anything. It is obvious that the Christian belongs concurrently to the Church and society in its various dimensions. As such a multifaceted member with many fronts, he may sometimes find it difficult to know what to do and which front he should respect.
In the first Synodal Assembly we focused on the Church as the universal family of God. The Assembly set a number of conditions to add credibility to her witness: reconciliation, justice and peace. In this light it has therefore, recommended among other things: the formation of Christians in justice and peace, which is an assertion of the prophetic role of the Church. It touches on the following issues: a just salary for workers and the establishment of Justice and Peace Commissions.
The principles underlying the document Ecclesia in Africa stand out very clearly and have been quoted by many particular Churches as guidelines to their reflections. But particularly it does not touch the bottom of the matter. It is not the experience of many Bishops, priests and laity of Africa, who travel to the U.S.A. and Europe and some parts of the world. Our experience of the Church in Europe and America and even by some of our Brother Bishops and priests suggest that we are second class family members, or that we belong to a different Church. The impression is created that we need them but they do not need us. Theory of fraternity and community is strong but the practice is weak.
The dynamic of the Church which insists that the Church community be practically integrated in theory and practice in such a way that all belong and feel at home, should be continued even in this second synod. The present Synodal Assembly should consider it opportune to continue the dynamic of the preceding Synod. This is the case with not only the subjects to be discussed collegially but also the Christian perspective is required.
For this to happen, some suggest using the radio, the printed word and the new technologies of information and communication. Efforts should still be made to receive its message, which always remains pertinent and timely.

[00025-02.03] [IN003] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Fidèle AGBATCHI, Archbishop of Parakou (BENIN)

It is clear that the present Assembly is a joyous replica of the one in 1994. If that one ended with the Post-Synodal Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, this one expresses its theme: The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. This topic, as positive as it is, does not try to hide the family contrasts, the inter-ethnic tensions within the historical background, and the vast scale of corruption that undermines the continent.
In pursuing positive actions in favor of this continent, which the Synodal Fathers envision, using the practical aspects abundantly underlined in the Instrumentum laboris, as how to exegetically and theologically base reconciliation, justice and peace on the one Trine God and on His works during Revelation, after the Old Testament up until the day of the Son of Man. Such a task carried out by the Synodal Fathers would help Africa take up her historical responsibility before the Gospel that she has received and that she has the duty to give of herself by placing herself in the dynamic of the metanoia. This responsibility would help her rid herself of fear.
In fact, Africa is afraid and lives in fear. Jealously keeping her discoveries about the world and nature, she naturally falls into mistrust, suspicion, a self-defensive attitude, aggressiveness, charlatanism, divination, occultism and syncretism, so many facets that contribute to obstructing the search for the true God during the millennia. So much is expected on this continent, mother of us all, the even more radiant luster of the light of the crucified and risen Christ! What I wish for this Synod is a Paschal future and, after so much suffering, the resurrection of Africa.

[00027-02.03] [IN004] [Original text: French]

- H. Em. Card. Franc RODÉ, C.M., Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (VATICAN CITY)

Instrumentum laboris, no. 113, points out the religious “strong growth of vocations”“sign of the Church of Africa’s dynamism” and together the spiritual energy that comes from the Monasteries of contemplative life.
African bishops visiting ad limina give evidence to the irreplaceable apostolic and missionary commitment of the consecrated, men and women, who offer their own lives for the Gospel. Even more today the presence of the consecrated is absolutely predominant, particularly in the field of health, teaching and charity.
This meritorious commitment must bear in mind the great challenges of the Church of Africa, above all the vocational discernment and initial and permanent formation. Therefore consecrated life in Africa needs prepared teachers and, together with them, of an educating community: the witness of religious life of the Community, faithfulness to the Gospel councils, to Constitutions and to one’s own charism, representing the necessary condition to train true disciples of Christ.
Moreover, African religious are called to fully live the value and the beauty of evangelic councils, in a culture where it is difficult to be witnesses of poverty, obedience and chastity, lived freely and for love. Conferences of the Major Superiors on a national basis, and two international organisms deal with the animation of the African consecrated persons and represent a valid instrument for dialogue with Bishops.

[00028-02.03] [IN005] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Maroun Elias LAHHAM, Bishop of Tunis (TUNIS)

My intervention is on the topic of the relations with Islam in Africa. The first point is, the Instrumentum laboris talks about Islam in only one paragraph (102), in generic terms and only touching upon Islam in sub-Saharan Africa. Now, the vast majority on African Muslims live in North Africa, a geographic area completely absent in the Instreumentum laboris. Another point is that almost 80% of the 350 million Muslim Arabs live in Northern African countries.
This is just to point out that Islamic-Christian relations in North Africa are different from those in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, and even from the Arab countries in the Middle East. This summary of the Churches of North Africa when we speak about Africa, and especially Islam, surprises us; we have informed the competent offices.
The specificity of Islamic-Christian relations in the Churches of North Africa could enrich the experiences of dialogue lived elsewhere (in Europe or in sub-Saharan Africa) and defuse the reactions of fear and the rejection of Islam that we begin to experience in certain countries. We all know that fear is a bad counselor.What does this specificity of experience of the North African Churches consist of?
- It is a Church of encounter. Even if she does not have the freedom she would hope for, she is not persecuted.
- It is a Church that lives in almost 100% Muslim countries, and where the overwhelming majority of faithful are made up of foreigners who only stay there for a few years, for the most part.
- It is a Church that, since the independence of the North African countries, is strongly engaged in human, social, cultural and educational services in the host countries.
- It is a Church that rejoices in a large enough margin of freedom in the exercise of Christian worship for thousands of its faithful, in Tunis for example.
- It is a Church that lives in Muslim countries where there is the beginning of critical thinking with regards to rigorous and fanatical Islam. There is even a “Maghreb” school for the rational study of the Muslim texts and traditions.
- The Church’s collaboration is also called upon in this new way of thinking and living Islam. This request is directed at priests or bishops who have spent several years in the Maghreb countries, and this has increased since the nomination of Arab bishops to certain episcopal sees.
Two propositions:
- May the Synod for the Middle East, scheduled for October 2010, also include the dioceses of North Africa, especially with regards to the Christian minorities and relations and dialogue with Islam.
- A discussion about Islam in Africa and that bears in mind the variety of African experiences, from Tunis to Johannesburg.

[00029-02.03] [IN006] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Simon-Victor TONYÉ BAKOT, Archbishop of Yaoundé, President of the Episcopal Conference (CAMEROON)

The Bantu in Southern Cameroon give great importance to community life. One may get cut as a punishment for a serious error and try to return to the communion with all. This is the meaning of forgiveness given or received depending on whether you are the offended party or the guilty one.
We reach this through a ritual that has three phases, which are as follows: addressing the argument, public confession, the ritual words of granting pardon, reconciliation and the community meal. This is what we call the culture of peace and reconciliation. The clan group knows how to re-establish this every time the community is out of equilibrium.
The Eucharist, the source and the summit of Christian life, promotes peace and reconciliation, but has yet to attain the same ability to convert among Christians participating in it, since the peace offering during the mass reveals some rather clear differences between the faithful. One can even turn one’s back to the person offering peace.
The shepherds should take up a good and appropriate catechesis to allow all to understand that having become blood brothers and sisters, since the same blood of Christ taken during communion flows through our veins, we must understand that this blood purifies us of all our filth and should speak more strongly than the clan tradition. Unfortunately, this is still not the case. We should lean towards this more and more.

[00030-02.03] [IN007] [Original text: French]

Furthermore, after the voting for the Commission for the Message, the following Fathers intervened, whose summaries were not received before the closing time for the present Bulletin. The summaries will be published in the following Bulletin.

- S.Em.R. Card. Zenon GROCHOLEWSKI, Prefetto della Congregazione per l'Educazione Cattolica (CITTÀ DEL VATICANO)
- S. Em. R. Card. Emmanuel WAMALA, Arcivescovo emerito di Kampala (UGANDA)
- S. E. R. Mons. Vincent LANDEL, S.C.I. di Béth., Arcivescovo di Rabat, Presidente della Conferenza Episcopale Conférence Episcopale Régionale du Nord de l'Afrique (C.E.R.N.A.) (MAROCCO)
- S. E. R. Mons. Jean-Noël DIOUF, Vescovo di Tambacounda, Presidente della Conferenza Episcopale (SENEGAL)
- S. E. R. Mons. Giorgio BERTIN, O.F.M., Vescovo di Djibouti, Amministratore Apostolico "ad nutum Sanctæ Sedis" di Mogadiscio (SOMALIA)
- S. E. R. Mons. Michael Dixon BHASERA, Vescovo di Masvingo (ZIMBABWE)
- S. E. R. Mons. Sithembele Anton SIPUKA, Vescovo di Umtata (SUDAFRICA)
- S. E. R. Mons. Jean MBARGA, Vescovo di Ebolowa (CAMERUN)
- S. E. R. Mons. Thomas KABORÉ, Vescovo di Kaya (BURKINA FASO)




A delegation of synodal Fathers will be received, at the Capitol, by the Honorable Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome. This meeting is scheduled for the day after tomorrow, 7 October 2009 at 9:30, in view of the day that the Municipality of Rome is dedicating to Africa. In fact, next 19 October, a Convention in the Capitol’s Protomoteca Hall is planned (from 9:00 until 13:00), whose theme will be “Africa: What partnership for reconciliation, justice, and peace?”. Also that evening, there will be a concert-recital (at 21:00) at the Auditorium of Conciliation entitled “Africa: a Cross in the midst of the sea”.

The participants in the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops will attend a concert, “Youth against War - 1939 - 2009", scheduled for Thursday 8 October 2009 at 18:30 in Rome’s Auditorium of Conciliation, in the presence of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. This event, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, the German embassy to the Holy See, and by KulturForum of Mainau. It is supported by the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations. It is financed by Italian and German organizations. The orchestra is composed of young musicians from ten nations, who will present musical pieces by Gustav Mahler and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, both Hebrews by birth who were then baptized. Mahler and Mendelssohn, Catholic and Protestant, respectively, experienced anti-Semitism. For the event, the afternoon General Congregation will end at 17:00.

[00023-02.05] [00000] [Original text: Italian]


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

The names of participants will be announced soon as possible

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

The next Press Conferences will be held on:
- Friday 23 October 2009 (following the Nuntius)
- Saturday 24 October 2009 (following the Elenchus finalis propositionum)


Second Briefing for linguistic groups will be (in the places and with the Press Attaché indicated in Bulletin N.2) tomorrow, Wednesday 7 October 2009 at about 13.10. The audio-visual operators (cameramen and technicians) and photographers are kindly requested to apply to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for their entry permit (very restricted).

The following briefings will take place, at about 13.10:
- Thursday 8 October 2009
- Friday 9 October 2009
- Saturday 10 October 2009
- Monday 12 October 2009
- Tuesday 13 October 2009
- Thursday 15 October 2009
- Saturday 17 October 2009
- Tuesday 20 October 2009


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.- Thursday 8 October 2009
- Friday 9 October 2009
- Saturday 10 October 2009
- Monday 12 October 2009
- Tuesday 13 October 2009
- Thursday 15 October 2009
- Saturday 17 October 2009
- Tuesday 20 October 2009
-Thursday 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 photoreporters 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 photoreporters and TV camera teams). Suitable dress is required.


The eigth issue of the Bulletin - with summaries of the speeches made in Parliament by the Synod Fathers in the Fourth General Congregation - will be published at the opening of the Fifth General Congregation of Wednesday, October 7, 2009.


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:
- Saturday 10 October 2009 (18.00): Rosary Prayer with University Students from Rome (Paul VI Hall)
- Sunday 11 October 2009 (10:00):Solemn Concelebration of the Eucharist with Canonizations (Saint Peter’s Square).
- Tuesday 13 October 2009 (9:00) : Part of the General Congregation during which the Relatio post disceptationem is presented.
- Sunday 25 October 2008 (9:30 ): Solemn Concelebration of the Holy Mass at the conclusion of the Synod (Saint Peter’s Basilica).

Any updates 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 Friday 9 October 2009: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Saturday 10 October: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Sunday 11 October: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- Monday 12 October: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Tuesday 13 October: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
- From Wednesday 14 October to Saturday 17 October: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Sunday 18 October: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- From Monday 19 October to 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
[English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish]