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


15 - 09.10.2009





At 16:30 today Friday, 9 October 2009, with the prayer Adsumus, led by the Holy Father, the Ninth General Congregation began, for the continuation of the interventions by the Synod Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. “You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13,14).

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

At 18:00 the President Delegate gave the floor to the Specially Invited Guest Rodolphe Adada.

At this General Congregation that ended at 19.00 with the Prayer Angelus Domini, 215 Synod Fathers were present.


The following Fathers intervened:

- H. Em. Card. Leonardo SANDRI, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Jean-Pierre BASSÈNE, Bishop of Kolda, President for the Foundation John Paul II for Sahel (SENEGAL)
- H. Exc. Mons. Henryk HOSER, S.A.C., Archbishop-Bishop of Warsaw-Prague (POLAND)
- H. Em. Card. Bernard AGRÉ, Archbishop Emeritus of Abidjan (IVORY COAST)
- Rev. Pierre Noël NIAVA, National Military Chapelain (IVORY COAST)
- H. Exc. Mons. Denis Komivi AMUZU-DZAKPAH, Archbishop of Lomé (TOGO)
- H. Exc. Mons. Ignatius CHAMA, Bishop of Mpika (ZAMBIA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Benedito Beni DOS SANTOS, Bishop of Lorena (BRAZIL)
- H. Exc. Mons. Peter J. KAIRO, Archbishop of Nyeri (KENYA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Boniface LELE, Archbishop of Mombasa (KENYA)

Below are the summaries of the interventions:

- H. Em. Card. Leonardo SANDRI, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY)

I give thanks to the Lord who permits us to draw near to the Church of God that is in Africa. In its unique ecclesial variety Africa can also count the Patriarchal Catholic Coptic Church of Alexandria and the Alexandrine Catholic Church of Ge’ez rite of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Egypt, along with the Latin Church, boasts the presence of the Armenian, Chaldean, Greek-Melkite, Maronite and Syrian communities. I offer my greeting to the Oriental brethren present here, and I extend this to all the Oriental and Latin pastors of Africa, spiritually united at this assembly to begin with His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Catholic Copts: I would like to thank you all for the immeasurable apostolic commitments. It is a Church experiencing growth. The social merit of her religious mission may be measured in the faith that is particular to her: to heal man completely, whose vocation goes beyond the earthly. The first impulse by Bishops, priests, religious and faithful men and women is that of promoting reconciliation, thanks to personal conversion because also in Africa God continues to accomplish that “divinization” of all people and of everything, placed in the light by the Greek Fathers. The Synod intends to re-propose the theme “service of reconciliation, of justice and of peace”. The proposal is urgent. Its effectiveness, however, will always be measured by the theological and pastoral vision that cannot be renounced which will accompany it. Without fear the Churches in Africa, sensing themselves in communion with the Successor of Peter and with the universal Church, should continue to profess the holy name of Christ God, the work of salvation, that he carried out once and for all, and its grace flows over us unceasingly, witnessing that the true name of reconciliation, of justice and of peace coincides with the name of Jesus Christ, the Risen Crucified, giver of the Spirit, Cornerstone and Bridegroom of the Church. Only with a strong Christological and ecclesial conscience may the Synodal reflection proceed profitably. Without ever renouncing this, steps must be taken to make it possible to redesign ecumenical and interreligious strategies more harmonious with the spiritual and social progress of Africa. The situation is different now in respect to that of the 1994 Synod, but serious problems linger from the past. It is most important that African Christians, pastors and faithful, have a true conscience that Africa has given much blood, sweat and tears, in witness of faith, hope and love, that is a lot to say in response to holiness. I would like to highlight an Ethiopian/Eritrean characteristic: indeed, amongst the Saints mentioned in No. 36 of the Instrumentum laboris, Giustino De Jacobis (1800-1860) does not appear, the Lazarist that understood the importance of the Ge’ez liturgy for Christianity in the Horn of Africa and that was “inculturated” (cfr. § 73). Indeed, Africa must not tire of working for an inculturation adjusted to the Christian message. It is the Apostolic Exhortation Orientale lumen that presents the Oriental Churches as an “authoritative example” of “successful inculturation” (O.L. cfr n. 7). A healthy and balanced relationship between the “African Religions and Traditions” will allow the Church with the civil community to heal the wounds of Africa. Health, education, socio-economic development, watching over human rights, recovery from the wounds of tribalism, the battle against emigration using economic programs in place that limit the flight of young persons (§ 25; § 65); exploitation and neo-colonialism (§§ 12, 64, 72, 140), illiteracy (§ 31), corruption (§ 57), the situation of the subjection of women, all require answers of industrious charity and formation in all areas (cfr. §§ 54, 60, 85,93,97, 111, 116, 123, 126-128, 129, 133-136). Sincere cohabitation and collaboration between all Catholics of various rites is necessary. Without this understanding, ecumenical dialogue will be prevented, that will give strength to Christians in the defense of personal and community freedoms and in the public profession of faith, allowing the Church to be free and missionary and for Africa to be a “plural society”. Far from being an obstacle to unity, inserted as they are into local situations and mentalities, the Oriental Catholic Churches may “build bridges” (cfr. § 90) in view of the reconciliation, of justice and of peace and of the encounter with Islam that is already underway in some countries. This is also my wish, while with the communities of Ethiopia and Eritrea I consider the symbolic gate of that “strip of African land” that they may boast about within the Vatican walls: the Church of Saint Stephen of the Abyssinians and the Ethiopian Pontifical College. I see in this the image of the Church which, at the end of the Synod, will launch itself with strength and hope on the path of reconciliation, of hope and of peace in Africa, joyfully feeling herself to be “sub umbra Petri”.

[00159-02.07] [IN126] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Jean-Pierre BASSÈNE, Bishop of Kolda, President for the Foundation John Paul II for Sahel (SENEGAL)

Nine countries are members of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Chad.
This Foundation, created in 1984, is twenty-five years old today. Its goal is to promote the formation of persons for service to their countries and for their brothers, without any discrimination, in a spirit of integral and solid human promotion, to fight against the aridity of its consequences.
Born of the concern for the well-being and development of the populations of the Sahel, the John Paul II Foundation registered early its actions in the intervention in favor of ecology and the safe-keeping of the environment. In doing this, it makes its contribution to the emergence of a more rational management of natural resources, and participates in the fight against poverty.
A work of the Church, the John Paul II Foundation supports, through the financing of projects, states, associations, groups or cooperatives, whatever the religious beliefs of the promoters in the Sahel region. For this, she contributes effectively to the culture of peace and reconciliation between peoples.
The John Paul II Foundation always counts on the fraternal aid from the outside to pursue its mission., However, she is now resolutely committed to promote a spirit of co-responsibility and solidarity in the people of Sahel.
The positive responses, already seen in this sense, make us hope that, parallel to the fight against aridity, a true civilization of love inspired by the Gospel could find its place in the hearts of the people in Sahel.

[00140-02.03] [IN101] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Henryk HOSER, S.A.C., Archbishop-Bishop of Warsaw-Prague (POLAND)

The teaching of family values is an urgent necessity in the world and especially in Africa, at a time when growing external pressures dismiss responsible parenthood to a merely health and hospital domain, and in doing this denying its dual nature, spiritual and sensitive, of conjugal love. Family pastoral care and in particular the transmission of life have been almost completely abandoned by the medical and technical world.
And yet some programs are already in existence: twenty-six African countries benefit from the programs teaching about family life and natural planning (IVF and NFP) at the embryonic or structural stage. But we are too weak to allow progress to occur in a scattered way. The Federation for African Family Action created in Cotonou in 2001 offers, at the request of the bishops, sessions for the formation for teachers and for couples.
The preceding Synod “considers evangelization of the African family as a major priority, if we want it to take up its role as the active subject in the perspective of evangelization of families for families.

[00141-02.03] [IN102] [Original text: French]

- H. Em. Card. Bernard AGRÉ, Archbishop Emeritus of Abidjan (IVORY COAST)

Like many organized countries, the young nations of Africa, South America, etc... had to call on international banks and other financial bodies to realize the many projects on the way to their development. Very often the inept directors were not careful enough. They fell into the traps of those that the people in the know call “financial assassins”, the jackals ordered by severed organisms in the markets of ruses aimed at enriching international financial organizations deftly supported by their states or other instances drowning in the plot of silence and lies.
The staggering profits go to the financial assassins, to the multinationals as well as to some powerful nationals who act as screens with the foreign negotiators. Thus the majority of nationals continues to drown in poverty and the frustrations it generates.
The “financial assassins” bearers of plethoric financing manage with their local partners so that large loans using the system of complex interest can never be reimbursed quickly or entirely. The contracts of execution and maintenance are regularly assigned, under the form of monopoly, to the loaners nationals. The beneficiary countries mortgage their natural resources. The inhabitants, from generation to generation, are locked in, prisoners for many long years.
To reimburse these always threatening inexhaustible debts, like the sword of Damocles over the heads of the states, the “service of the debt” weighs heavily on the national budget, in the order of 40 to 50% of the Gross National Product.
Thus tied up, the country has trouble breathing, it must tighten their belts to investments, the necessary costs for Education, Health, and general development.
This debt further becomes a political screen to not fulfil legitimate requests, with their parade of frustrations, social problems, etc... The national debt appears like a sickness programmed by specialists worthy of courts who judge crimes against humanity, evil conspiring to suppress entire populations. John Perkins (Al Terre Editions) described the underpinnings of international aid very well: never effective in terms of lasting development.
The key problem today is the desire, the will to abolish all slavery.
Upright generations, young boys and girls in certain developed countries and those in countries of the Third World, have become conscious that to change the world, its myths and is ghosts, is a realistic project and is possible. Some NGOs emerge to protect the material environment and defend the rights of oppressed peoples.
For the Church, light of the world, to play her prophetic role she should concretely commit herself in this fight with a view to finding the truth.
The experts have known for years that most of the debts have been effectively reimbursed. To purely and simply suppress them is no longer an act of charity but one of justice.
Thus today’s Synod should have the ability to take into consideration this problem of annulling the debts that weigh too heavily on the population.
For this not to be a merely sentimental, my proposition would be for an international commission made up of experts from the high finances, notified pastors, men and women of the North and South to take the dossier. This Commission would be entrusted with the triple mission:
- To study the feasability of the operation because it is obvious that all, everywhere is not the same.
- To take all possible steps to not fall into the same situation again.
- To solidly watch over the transparent use of sums, saved to be used effectively for all the elements of the entire social pyramid: rural and city. To avoid falling again into this juicy manna of the century, being beneficial for both local and foreign peoples.

[00142-02.03] [IN103] [Original text: French]

- Rev. Pierre Noël NIAVA, National Military Chapelain (IVORY COAST)

Within the framework of searching for the solution to the crisis in the Ivory Coast, several meetings have been organized under the aegis of the economic community of West Africa and the international community. Meetings have been organized, initiated by the warring forces.
On March 4th 2007, new agreements were signed at Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Direct dialogue was established between the two warring factions. Since then, the process has progressed enormously with many positive effects such as disarmament, demobilization of former fighters, the integration of rebels into the army, the suppression of trust areas, etc.. and especially the setting of the date for the presidential elections to next November 29th.
The Episcopal Conference has worked enormously for reconciliation. The bishops had several meetings with the political leaders and the warring forces to make them see reason. They also addressed, since the beginning of the crisis, several messages for the peoples. We will only mention four (4) of these messages with their great ideas:
- 1st message: a call for calm: this is a plea to stop the popular protests and the acts of vandalism, to end the paralysis of public services and never-ending marches. Each must stay calm and work towards the return of peace.
- 2nd message: a plea of conscience: the bishops invite each Ivorian to take conscience that the country needs to be built; therefore we must avoid falling into error and lies to avoid catastrophes to the country.
3rd message: Exhortation to the inhabitants of the Ivory Coast and the international community, the bishops exhort the Ivorians to avoid hatred, vengeance and lies and to make an effort to live in love, justice, truth and mutual trust. They also exhort the international community to work openly in its participation in the search for peace.
4th message: message of reconciliation and peace: the bishops say this and I quote: “Today, peace is possible and within our reach... There is no more time for accusations and condemnations. In soiling this country with human blood, we all have failed, acted badly. We should humbly and sincerely ask for forgiveness to God and to each other, publically; and for this we propose the organization of a national day of mourning, of fasting, of prayer for all, without distinction for religion or beliefs. All of us, in the pure African and religious tradition of the fear of God and respect for life, must beg forgiveness for the human blood shed.”

[00143-02.03] [IN104] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Denis Komivi AMUZU-DZAKPAH, Archbishop of Lomé (TOGO)

Chapter II of the Instrumentum laboris puts us at the heart of the problem of reconciliation, justice and peace, which constitutes the true urgent need for Africa. It goes without saying that truth should be added to this imperious trinomial.
The need for faithfulness to the Lord calls its disciples, which we are, to be ambassadors of reconciliation, understood as gifts from God and proclamation of salvation He gives us starting now (cf. Cor V, 11-21). Achieving this mission is inscribed in the duration and requires a certain number of conditions that we must keep in mind throughout all our work:
1. The elaboration of a realistic plan for education to the culture of peace for all of our structures of education and formation in Africa.
2. The creation of a databank of socio-cultural and economic elements capable of helping the promotion of reconciliation, justice and peace in love and truth.
3. The creation of an observatory for the prevention, the management and the resolution of conflicts, implicating more deeply the Church-Family of God in Africa.
4. Ensuring a very large and judicious spreading of the social doctrine of the Church, a mark of the creation of a new socio-cultural, economic and political order that is more just, more human and more fraternal; propitious to the establishment in Africa of the Kingdom of God; Reign of justice, of reconciliation, of truth, of love and of peace.
5. Very obviously the Bible, the Word of God, in the sense is presented everywhere as the inexhaustible source of reconciliation, justice and peace; welcomed and lived with coherence, it can become the surest means and the most effective one for the establishment of the Kingdom of God in Africa and in the world.
In this optic, the Conference of Bishops of Togo would have loved that the theme of our second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was formulated as follows: “The Church - Family of God in Africa, at the service of reconciliation, justice and peace.”

Nevertheless, this is not serious, since we understand each other and we hear each other perfectly, even with the “underlying innuendoes”.

[00150-02.03] [IN105] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Ignatius CHAMA, Bishop of Mpika (ZAMBIA)

I want to emphasise here the local economic crisis that I and my people experience in our rural diocese in northeastern Zambia. This is the crisis when crops our local hardworking farmers have grown fail to reach markets or fail to get just prices. It is the crisis felt when foreign investors supply their commercial supermarkets with crops imported from outside Zambia. It is the crisis caused by trade practices, both domestic and international, that mean subsidised goods brought in from Europe curtail fair competition with local goods.
Moreover, in Zambia today our rural areas also face the campaign to move toward a genetically engineered model of farming, something rightly criticised in # 58 of the Instrumentum Laboris.
These unfair dynamics are signs of the deeper urban-rural split that threatens overall integral and sustainable development in Zambia today. Our own Government tells us that while urban poverty has declined in recent years, rural poverty has significantly increased.
But what can a Synod do about all this? I want simply to remind my brother Bishops that it was the 1994 Synod which heard a similar plea for economic justice in the call for the Synod to support the Jubilee Campaign to cancel the debts of struggling African countries. The Church heeded the call and spoke for debt cancellation, which became a significant step in Zambia and elsewhere toward the humanisation of the economic order. We need some similar call for justice today, for example, in addressing issues of trade policies such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between Africa and Europe and environmental concerns such as global warming.
So I ask that our Assembly support the calls for a more just economic order that protects the rights and future of our rural populations.

[00152-02.02] [IN107] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Benedito Beni DOS SANTOS, Bishop of Lorena (BRAZIL)

The theme of this Synodal Assembly “The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace” in some respect pertains to Brazil. Because of a past marked by injustice towards to those who left Africa to come to Brazil.
We need a “purification of memory” expressed by concrete acts especially in the areas of education, jobs and politics. Some governmental measures have been taken for this. They need to be deepened and broadened.
In the ecclesial area, we have an African pastoral ministry, organized at a national level by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.
Also in the ecclesial area, a special sensitivity exists for the image of the Church “Family of God”. That approaches the ecclesial experience of the Church in Africa. This image of the Church speaks not only to our intelligence, but also to our emotions, to our heart and our imagination.
This understanding of the Church has a Eucharistic centrality and a Trinitarian dimension. In fact, the Eucharist and the meal that the Father prepared for his Family, which is the Church. Above all it is in the celebration of the Eucharist that the Church recognizes itself as the “Family of God”. In turn, the bread and the wine become a Eucharistic nourishment by the power of the Holy Spirit, invoked in the Epiclesis.
Because of all the things I have mentioned above, I believe that the fruits of this Synodal Assembly will nourish the life and the mission of the Church not only in Africa but also in Brazil. This Synod will help to give a new impetus to missionary collaboration, which the Church in Brazil already offers to different dioceses of Africa.

[00153-02.03] [IN108] [Original text: Portuguese]

- H. Exc. Mons. Peter J. KAIRO, Archbishop of Nyeri (KENYA)

Nomads have been alive and active for centuries in 52 dioceses within AMECEA countries; they are also present in both West and North Africa.
Sometimes they provoke and start armed conflict because of water and grazing pasture shortage especially during drought.
The Church has to promote dialogue between these different tribes where the role of elders is very important because the warriors cannot go to raid without the blessings of the elders.
The government should also be involved in providing boreholes, dams in arid areas. Health facilities and education should also be provided and promoted within pastoralist. The justice and peace commission should provide education on human rights to the Nomadic people. Parents should be encouraged to educate the girl child.
Within these parishes it becomes extremely difficult for a priest to give the people proper pastoral attention. Hence the nomads who are moving about often remain beyond the ordinary, traditional parish activities. There is needed for the church to put in place new forms of evangelization and of pastoral attention to the nomadic population. This should include appointing nomadic priests, nomadic pastoral coordinators, nomadic catechists, mobile schools, clinics herdsmen and mobile church centers.
It is also proposed that in our Catholic Church there can also be engagement in supra diocesan structures and cross border relationships in order to implement peace initiatives from both sides of the borders and beyond the limit of the dioceses. Regular meetings of pastoral coordinators for the nomadic apostolate from the neighboring dioceses and countries can also help, as well as putting common strategies and showing human solidarity and Christian unity.

[00154-02.02] [IN109] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Boniface LELE, Archbishop of Mombasa (KENYA)

The stigma associated with AIDS is too heavy for people as individuals or as communities to carry alone. I have seen fear and despair in the eyes of our people. They should find courage and hope from us. They hear from religious leaders, their families that in one way or another, that they are responsible for their illness.
We need to help our people to know that HIV AIDS is a sickness and that it is wrong to blame themselves. They may have not been prudent with their lifestyles but illness calls us to have compassion.
I have seen where families send away their daughters -in law and children because of their suspicion. Family rejection of children is an abomination. It is a grave sin in the eyes of God. It is a distortion of the Gospel message of Jesus which is love, forgiveness, reconciliation, the return to the family of God.
We should be with our young and old people to help them avoid being infected by HIV/AIDS. We should help families to know that children who are left without parental love and guidance will be much more vulnerable to infection than those who have family support.
HIV AIDS is a Kairos to challenge us to reveal how deep some of our sins are. There was a man who was dying from AIDS and I was honoured to be with him during his last days. I watched him struggle with his life decisions and with the shame of his illness; the stigma that society had given him. I began to understand my own humanness and sinfulness when he reached up to touch the Cross I was wearing. I felt his acceptance of himself and God’s forgiveness and healing. It was at this moment that he asked me to take care of his children that he could no longer do. I felt his trust in me, as his brother and shepherd. God challenged me to accept myself, to be reconciled to myself.

[00155-02.02] [IN110] [Original text: English]


The following Fraternal Delegate intervened:

- His Excellency Barnaba EL SORYANY, Bishop of the Copt Orthodox Church in Italy

The Fraternal Delegate’s summary is published below:

- His Excellency Barnaba EL SORYANY, Bishop of the Copt Orthodox Church in Italy

We have cherished memories of Africa, from the moment our father Abraham arrived and when Jacob and his sons came to live in Egypt, the land where Moses grew up and from which, by the hand of God, freed the people of Israel. The dear land which welcomed the Holy Family fleeing from persecution. The Egypt of St. Mark and his evangelization of the peoples. The country where the monasticism of Saint Anthony Abbot was born. Saint Athanasius and Saint Cyril the Great and many Saints and Martyrs who sacrificed their lives to defend our Christian faith.
We all know that this continent has suffered greatly from colonialism which exploited its natural resources and was not concerned with its populations, who were left in poverty, illness, hunger, complete abandonment. Not to mention the wars which have stained our beloved Africa with blood and still continue to devastate; the exploitation of child soldiers, persecutions and day-to-day violence of Christians in the social sphere, the destruction of family values.
Here lies the Church’s duty in evangelization through the culture of charity, the promotion of peace and love which is concretized in healing the sick, helping the poor, defending the oppressed, in short, raising up the human being. Of fundamental importance is the care of worship, catechesis for children and their families, to make them feel welcomed in the one family of Christ.
Brothers, let us go! Let us complete the path of the apostles, those who set forth into the world to evangelize without owning anything yet full of faith in the work of the Holy Spirit. Let us bring the living message of Jesus to all these countries who live in need and poverty but which are spiritually rich with the grace of Jesus.
Let us join in prayer for the accomplishment of the work of God in service to these countries, strong in patience and in the hope that tomorrow will be better than today and that the world might hear the voice of those who suffer so that Divine Providence may extend them a hand.
Let us go! Let us leave the many difficulties aside and look at the most important thing which is the building of the Kingdom of God in this continent, to bring the Word of God to each and every one, this is our goal.
My wish is for a good conclusion to this Holy Synod, that it may echo greatly in the world, so that the works it produces may be achieved.

[00160-02.02] [DF003] [Original text: Italian]


Furthermore, the following Auditors intervened:

- Mr. Laurien NTEZIMANA, Licensed in Theology, Diocese of Butare (RWANDA)
- Bro. Armand GARIN, Little Brother of Jesus (France), Regional responsible of Little Brothers of Jesus for Northern Africa (ALGERIA)
- Prof. Raymond RANJEVA, Vice-President Emeritus of the International Court of Justice (Netherlands), Member of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace (Vatican City) (MADAGASCAR)
- Dr. Elena GIACCHI, Gynecologist of the Center for Studies and Research on the Control of Fertility, Catholic University "Sacro Cuore"; President of W.O.O.M.B.-Italy (National coordination of the Method of the ovulation - Billings-Italy) (ITALY)

The summaries of the Auditors are published below:

- Mr. Laurien NTEZIMANA, Licensed in Theology, Diocese of Butare (RWANDA)

I would like to briefly recount my adventure as a lay theologian searching for a spirituality that gives justice to the “indoles saecularis”, that “sign of secularity” that makes a layperson a child of the Church living in a world to transform it from within as the leaven, salt, breath and light.
In 1990, at the end of my studies in the third cycle of theology at the Catholic University of Leuven, I wrote a book which was published eight years later by Karthala Editors entitled Libres paroles d'un théologien rwandais: joyeux propos de bonne puissance. The good power I speak about in this book is that of Christ, the other being false powers, that is, lures that lead those that believe in them astray. The good power is a trinomial whose first aspect is assurance or non-fear, the second force is living or non-resignation and the third, absolute acceptance of others or non-exclusion. What I call “the principle of good power” thus is a translation in practical terms of the theological virtues.
Between 1990 and 1994, I used the principle of good power in the theological service of leadership entrusted to me by the bishop of the Diocese of Butare, Mons. Jean Baptiste Gahamanyi, of happy memories, to form those responsible for the Christian communities in the public dimension of faith; between April and July 1994, the principle of good power allowed me to withstand genocide and help, to the best of my abilities, my Tutsi brothers and sisters; between September 1994 and September 1999, I used the principle of good power to form the leaders who then brought the Good News to the hills of Butare during the terrible situation of the immediately post-genocide; the Peace Award of Pax Christi International in 1998 came to recognize the universal value of this work; when in 1999, what happened between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:39) happened between the clergy and myself, the principle of good power allowed me to found the Modest and Innocent Association ( which, since February 2000, despite prison and other tribulations, works with success towards reconciliation among the Rwandans. The “Theodor Haecker Preis fur Politischen Mut und Aufrichtigkeit” in the German town of Esslingen am Neckar came to realize the solid foundations of this commitment in February 2003.

[00133-02.03] [UD005] [Original text: French]

- Bro. Armand GARIN, Little Brother of Jesus (France), Regional responsible of Little Brothers of Jesus for Northern Africa (ALGERIA)

In the nearly completely Muslim countries of the Maghreb, according to the example of Jesus of Nazareth and following Charles de Foucauld, in fidelity to the Gospel, Christians strive to live as brothers with their Muslim friends and neighbors. They believe that it is possible to live an authentic life of sharing, listening, welcome and service in drawing near to the Muslims, especially the young and the poor. That supposes knowing the other in an interior way in his cultural and religious traditions. The foreigner, without knowing it, moves us to deepen our faith and to live the Gospel in a more real and radical way. The parables or the examples of Jesus’ life appear to us as a new day. And a veritable spiritual solidarity may be born, therefore, with Muslim friends, believing in a single God, by means of gestures which are at times the taste of eternity and are the sign of a genuine communion.
This is possible because as Christians and Muslims, we strongly believe in the fraternity of Adam (we are all creatures of God) and in the fraternity of Abraham. But, since the coming of Jesus, for us, fraternity between all men takes its source in our faith in Jesus died and raised so that all might have life. We believe that Jesus is mysteriously present in our encounters.

[00134-02.02] [UD006] [Original text: French]

- Prof. Raymond RANJEVA, Vice-President Emeritus of the International Court of Justice (Netherlands), Member of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace (Vatican City) (MADAGASCAR)

Aspects of the Truth
- truth of facts - prevention against malicious revelations, a material and sensible
- Truth of commitments - pacta sunt servanda
- Truth in the exercise of responsibilities - active witness
Truth and its functions in reconciliation
- refusal of instrumentalization to the profit of hatred and manipulation of political Justice
- knowledge and measure of unjust situations and of the breakdown of peace
- to implement: - correction and suspension of the unjust situation
- eradication of causes which created false justice in false truth
Inadequate character of a purely human approach to the Truth:- absence of a guarantee about relativism: power struggle, scheming, cunning
- taking into account the necessary religious consideration of faith
- eliminating the veneer of the religious effect
- permanent interpolation on the basis of the Word of God.
Social Doctrine of the Church
- doctrinal and intellectual framework of the analysis of the aspects of reconciliation, justice and peace
- three-tiered plan: ethical, institutional, prescriptive
- in the setting of the modification of mentalities and of structures
- matter of the entire Church - permanent interaction, horizontal and vertical

[00135-02.00] [UD007] [Original text: French]

- Dr. Elena GIACCHI, Gynecologist of the Center for Studies and Research on the Control of Fertility, Catholic University "Sacro Cuore"; President of W.O.O.M.B.-Italy (National coordination of the Method of the ovulation - Billings-Italy) (ITALY)

Spreading and teaching the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) all over the world, has always been joined to the proposal of a lifestyle that promotes conjugal love, unity of the family, respect for women and generous opening to acceptance of new life. Because of its effectiveness and simplicity the BOM can be used by all couples in different contexts, regardless of culture, religion or social status; the method has been well accepted not only by Catholic people but also by Muslims, Hindus, and people of other faiths and beliefs. The couple can manage their fertility naturally, whether it is their desire to achieve or avoid a pregnancy, in every situation of a woman's fertile life: including irregular cycles, breast feeding, pre-menopause, etc. The BOM contributes to: l) family promotion and responsible procreation in regard to life, conjugal love and fidelity; 2) promotion of a woman' s dignity; 3) prevention of abortion; 4) prevention from recourse to assisted reproductive technologies, allowing sub-fertile couples to achieve a pregnancy naturally, according to ethical values; 5) prevention of STD's by teens and youth education to mature sexuality integrating spiritua1, physica1 and psychological dimensions. Teaching the BOM can contribute to promote and spread human and Christian values supporting evangelization and pastoral care.

[00144-02.02] [UD008] [Original text: Italian]



It is a great honor for me to address, in the presence of Your Holiness, this Areopagus of Princes of the Church, Assembled in this sacred enclosure.
As you know, I am no longer in charge of the MINUAD and the opinions I express now are mine alone. The discussion on Darfur has become so polarized, making it difficult to remain objective. This is even more regrettable because only a neutral approach could guarantee lasting solutions.
I would like to bring the most impartial witness possible before you, Your Holiness. I know that I may speak in all serenity because the Church is the force of peace and that peace requires truth.
At the end of 2005, Congo was elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations for the years 2006-2007 and in January 2006, the President Denis Sassou-Nguesso was elected Acting President of the African Union. These two decisions made the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Congo, which I was at that time, a privileged observer of the serious problems shaking Africa to its foundations, the crisis in Darfur being the most serious.
Thus, I was able to follow the evolution of the Dossier very closely. When the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon and the President of the Commission of African Union Mr. Alpha Oumar Konare chose me as the person entrusted with directing the first United Nations/African Union hybrid mission and that President Denis Sassou-Nguesso agreed to this, I considered myself as honored with a threefold trust. I had to be worthy of it.

The Conflict

It is generally agreed upon that the conflict in Darfur exploded in February 2003 when a rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army - SLA - lead by Abdulwahid Mohammed Al Nur attacked Gulu, the main town of Jebel Marra. Later, in April, this group attacked the airport in El Fasher, the capital of Darfur. A second group known as the Justice and Equality Movement - JEM - led by Khalil Ibrahim was then created.
The Sudanese government’s response then takes the form, which nobody would have defined as a “low-key counter-insurrection”, with extreme violence, exploiting the ethno-sociological rivalries, using the infamous “Janjaweeds”.
The consequences are terrifying: hundreds of thousands of dead, millions of displaced persons (IDP and refugees), numerous human rights violations. An unprecedented humanitarian crisis .
Taking place less than 10 years after the genocide in Rwanda, the Darfur crisis immediately raised the “genocide” question. You know the controversies around this sensitive point.
This is a rapid summary of the situation.
However, a deeper analysis would show that the Darfur conflict has its roots in the history of Sudan. The history, the marginalization of surrounding areas and their under-development, the degradation of the ecosystem should all be taken into consideration. This is a “Sudanese crisis in Darfur”. This crisis was also linked to the history of neighboring Chad. For example, the FROLINAT created during the ‘60s to fight President Francois Tombalbaye of Chad was founded in Nyala, in Darfur and it was no coincidence that the first Mediator in this conflict was the President of Chad, Idriss Deby. The lengthy conflict in Chad also contributed to the flow of light weapons into Darfur.
It has been said that “the Darfur of the 1990s lacked water, but was on the other hand inundated with rifles.”
Well before 2003, today’s crisis actually begins with a civil war between the Fur and the Arabs, where each faction accused the other of attempted genocide.
Here are two quotations:
1. “This dirty war which has been imposed on us began as an economic war but very quickly took on the characteristics of genocide, having as its goal chasing us from our ancestral land (...). The aim is a total holocaust and (...) Complete annihilation of the people of Fur and all that was Fur.”
2. “Our Arab tribe and the Fur have coexisted peacefully for the entire known history of Darfur. But the situation was destabilized towards the end of the ‘70s when the Furs launched the slogan ‘Darfur to the Furs’... The Arabs were depicted as foreigners who were to be expelled from Darfur. It is the Furs who, in their quest for expansion of the alleged “African belt”, want to chase all Arabs from this land”.
These hate-filled words were spoken at the Conference on Reconciliation held at El Fasher from May 29th to July 8th 1989.
So, this ethnic dimension is only the tip of the iceberg. This conflict is much more complex than the Manichean description which is commonly given.

The International Community’s response

Apart from the humanitarian organizations that continue to work admirably at the service of the Sudanese people of Darfur, the African Union was the first to react. In April 2004, it organized the talks which ended in the signing of the humanitarian Cease Fire Document of N’Djamena between the Sudanese Government and the two rebel groups, the SLA of Abdulwahid El Nur and the JEM of Khalil Ibrahim. This pact would allow the creation of the MUAS, (Mission of the African Union in Sudan), with the support of many donors among which, it is only right to mention, the European Union, the United States of America and Canada.
The MUAS began with 60 observers and a peace force of 300 soldiers, which later was increased to 7,000 men. This was the first mission to guarantee peace as organized by the African Union and it was not one of the easiest.
The MUAS was the object of a lot of criticism by the Western media. This criticism was unjustified and unjust.
The work accomplished by this mission was enormous and is praiseworthy. Under conditions other peoples would not have accepted, these Africans ensured the presence of the International Community in Darfur with abnegation and devotion.
They bore witness to human compassion. They created the foundations of what is today the MINUAD. Sixty one of them made the supreme sacrifice.

From the MUAS to the MINUAD

From the end of 2005, it became difficult for the African Union, faced with complexities of all types in the management of the MUAS, to continue to take on this responsibility. The African Union then made the decision to transfer this burden to the United Nations, whose mission this really is. The Sudanese Government firmly opposed this decision. All of 2006 was spent in convincing the Sudanese Government of the need to transfer this responsibility.
Only on November 16th 2006, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, almost at the end of his term, proposed a hybrid mission. So the Sudanese Government accepted and this is the act that gave birth to the MINUAD, the Mission of the United Nations and the African Union in Darfur.
MINUAD was formally created by Resolution 1769 of the Security Council of the United Nations, on the Joint Report by the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the Commission of the African Union. It was to be comprised of 20,000 military, 6,000 policemen and the same number of civilians, thus becoming the largest peacekeeping force in the world. It was to have all the necessary equipment to accomplish its mandate provided for by Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations. In fact, it was to be preceded by two “support packages” (light support package and heavy support package) for the MUAS to reinforce it before the transfer of authority.
By its mandate, MINUAD:
- Contributes to the re-establishment of security conditions necessary to bring humanitarian aid,
- Ensure protection for the civilian population,
- Follow through and verify the application of the various cease-fires,
- Contribute to the enactment of the Abuja Peace Pact and of any later pacts.
Deployment of the MINUAD was a great challenge. It is the largest mission in the world in the most inaccessible enclave of the largest country in Africa. In Africa, the furthest point from the sea is Darfur. The infrastructures for transportation are non-existent. The MINUAD follows the MUAS, which did not benefit from the promised “support packages”. This all created a series of obstacles that had to be overcome.
The reticence, if not the resistance of the Sudanese Government, to the presence of a United Nations Mission in Darfur was another problem to be resolved. The conditions of the international debate on Darfur were stigmatized by the Sudanese Government who, for its part, only saw the “international community” as a force whose goal was to overthrow the regime. However, with the help of the African Union, it was possible to alleviate the suspicion with regards to the MINUAD. For this, they had to work closely with the Government. I believe that today, the Sudanese Government is convinced that the MINUAD is a peacekeeping force and not a forerunner of invasion. A triple Commission (UN-AU and Sudanese Government) was created to resolve all problems concerning the deployment of the MINUAD.
My commitment towards the Sudanese Government was not always looked on favorably or understood.
Most peacekeeping missions are deployed in “failed states”, where government is non-existent, or powerless. (Bosnia, Kosova, Timor, etc...). In those cases, the Mission of the UN becomes a true government and the special representative almost the head of government. This is not the case in Sudan. In this case, the United Nations must carry out a true “cultural revolution”.
Today, we can consider that the most of the troops will be in place by the end of the year. However, we must note that certain promised technical means, promised since the “support packages” have not always been supplied and in particular the military helicopters which would permit increased mobility in a territory the size of France, have not been delivered. This is one of the results of the decisions of the international community.
The MINUAD also had to face the mistrust and even hostility of the displaced persons. To make the displaced persons and armed movements trust the MINUAD was more difficult. Many of them refused to accept their “African-ness”.
On the other hand, their hostility towards the Abuja Agreement, which the MINUAD was to enforce, complicated the situation even more, as did our actions on the ground, and especially during the crisis in the Kalma camp where a “police operation” led to the death of 38 displaced persons, the expulsion of 13 international ONGs and the battle of the Muhajeriya and Umm Baru between the JEM and the government armies. The MINUAD brought in aid for the wounded of both factions, while protecting the thousands of civilians who had found refuge there. Our action on the ground, as I was saying, convinced the displaced persons of MINUAD’s impartiality in the exercise of its mandate. In a moving letter, they declared that we were considered truly valuable.
Today the MINUAD is present throughout Darfur. All those making up the Mission, the military, the police, the civilians (political affairs, civil affairs, human rights, and the DDDC [Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultations]), maintain regular relations with all the parties and civil society as well as the population in general. They observe the situation on a day by day basis and can give a faithful rendering of events. They successfully participate in the resolution of local quarrels.

The situation in Darfur today

During the 26 months I was in Darfur at the head of the MINUAD, I saw a progressive improvement in the security situation in Darfur and this despite the persistence of two major threats: the continuation of military operations between the JEM and the government forces on one hand and the worsening relations between Chad and Sudan on the other. To this we should add inter-tribal confrontations and the rise in banditry, basically caused by the collapse of law and order.
Criminality and banditry are today the main concerns regarding security. We also have seen a new tendency of kidnaping people for ransoms. The MINUAD’s strategy for the protection of civilians aims at attacking all these sources of danger for innocent civilians. This means that the MINUAD must reinforce its presence in the camps for displaced persons (it is now present 24 hours a day in 15 camps) and increase the number of military and police patrols in the villages and towns.
Having said that, the situation has changed radically since the intense period in 2003-2004 when tens of thousands of people were killed. Today, in purely numerical terms, we could say that the conflict in Darfur is a low intensity conflict. I would not like to insist on this macabre accounting which the media thrives on; one death is one too many and the numbers quoted to the Security Council were only to support the analysis.
In no way does this mean that the conflict in Darfur has ended! In fact, the conflict in Darfur continues. Civilians continue to run unacceptable dangers. Millions of persons are still in camps for the displaced or refugees. As for the lack of security, they cannot return home and return to normal life. No solution has yet been found for the serious injustices and crimes committed, especially during the heavier hostilities in 2003-2004.
The progress we have seen on the ground must be consolidated by an agreement for peace that is all inclusive. It should consider not only the armed movements but also all those making up society in Darfur, including the civil society, the displaced persons, refugees, without forgetting the Arabs who too often are assimilated into the Janjaweeds. In fact, only a political agreement accepted and shared by all would be able to bring lasting peace to Darfur.
In reality, this is what MINUAD is missing most today: an agreement for peace. In fact, this peacekeeping mission has no peace to keep.
There is no military solution to the problem in Darfur, this is simply not possible. Nobody has the means to win a military victory. Therefore, the only option is a political agreement and this agreement must take into consideration all the aspects of the problem, local, regional, political, socio-economic, without forgetting the serious humanitarian question.
The different attempts at negotiation since 2003 have not reached a solution. The Abuja Agreement, signed May 5th 2006, was not all inclusive and was rejected by a majority of Darfurians. Today’s UA-UN mediation must keep this in mind and get everybody’s participation.
The next two years will be crucial for Sudan. General elections will take place in April 2010, and in 2011 there will be a Referendum for the self-determination of Southern Sudan. Darfur must participate in just and transparent elections for the self-determination of the South to progress under the right conditions, the Darfur problem should be resolved. Time is pressing.

Peace, Justice and Reconciliation

Terrible violations of human rights were committed in Darfur, especially in 2003-2004. These problems have not been dealt with. Peace and justice are the two faces of the same coin. The question is not in knowing if justice must come, but how.
The Procurator of the International Penal Court (IPC) asked for and obtained an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan.
The MINUAD has always insisted on the fact that this question was outside of its mandate and never commented on this decision of justice. However this question dominates the discussion and the entire process of dealing with the problem of Darfur. The African Union, while stating that it will not tolerate any case of impunity, asked that the arrest warrant be deferred to give more chances for peace, but the Security Council of the United Nations did not reach an agreement on the application of article 16 of the Statute of Rome. This led the African Union to ask its members not to execute the arrest warrant.
On a strictly personal level, I consider that today we are at a standoff. The implementation of an arrest warrant against an active Head of State is not an easy thing to do, we can also understand a reticence to negotiate, expressed by certain armed movements. “Why negotiate with a criminal who is about to be arrested?”
The African Union established the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur, presided by President Thabo Mbeki (former President of South Africa) and including among others President Abdulsalami Aboubakar (former President of Nigeria) and Pierre Buyoya (former President of Burundi), to study this question of Peace, Justice and Reconciliation and to give advice. The Panel is composed of eminent specialists and people who know well the problems of Darfur, Sudan and Justice. The Panel listened to me, as well as 3,000 other persons. The MINUAD and in particular its Darfur-Darfur-Dialogue and Consultations component gave this Panel its support.
The Panel was to present its Report yesterday, October 8th. This Report was to include the paths to break this deadlock. The international community should consider this Report with an objective and constructive spirit. The Church, a peace force, a major moral authority, could look into the work of this panel. Perhaps we could find a way out of this deadlock.


The MINUAD is an exceptional instrument of peace, unique in its typology inasmuch as it was born by the will of two organizations, the African Union and the United Nations. The “international community” must use it properly. There was a time when hybrid was synonymous with bastardization and defects, but today, when we speak about hybrid cars, we are at the forefront of progress.
The MINUAD represents the International Community in its whole and not only this or that other country.
Therefore, the MINUAD must be reinforced, giving it the means it needs, and especially a Peace Agreement. The men and women who serve the international community on this front never cease to demonstrate their devotion and abnegation.
The most important fact is that the cooperation between the promoters of the MINUAD, the African Union and the United Nations, is a sincere one. The hybrid nature of the MINUAD, which was the United Nations’ entry visa into Darfur, must not be seen as a simple ruse, like the “Trojan horse”. The African Union should not be a mere “sleeping partner” but should play its role. Otherwise, failure is certain.
Sudan is the largest country of Africa. It is the crossroads of two worlds, Africa and the Arab World; it borders nine African countries. Since its independence on January 1st 1956, we could say that it has only known peace sporadically.
The Global Peace Agreement (WPA), which ended more than 20 years of civil war between the North and South, has created great hope. For the first time a democratic Sudan could be glimpsed.
At a time when violence seems to be decreasing in Darfur, it is worrisome to note that now in the South killings have begun again; is Peace the “Rock of Sisyphus” that, to the great misfortune of the Sudanese, rolls back down the moment we think we have reached the summit?
Sudan is one. The international community must look at “Sudan” and not at “Darfur and Sudan”. In this holistic vision, the Church has a major role to play in a plural Sudan, between the Christian and animist South and the Muslim North, that is, Darfur.
This was the dream of a great Sudanese man, John Garang, the dream for a new Sudan, in peace, in an Africa at peace.

[00112-02.04] [RE000] [Original text: French]


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