Pope and Patriarch Appeal for Unity Among Religions in Africa


  • Category:

(06 Oct 09 - RV) The morning session of the second day of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa focused on dialogue with other religions and the role of education in fostering reconciliation.

Work got underway after morning prayer, the first to address the Synod Fathers was Patriarch Abuna Paulos of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who gave an eloquent testimony to the antiquity and tradition of the Church in Africa.

He also called to mind the wounds of Africa, marked by pandemics and famines and stressed its wealth in natural resources and their exploitation to the benefit of nations outside of the continent, as a form of economic colonisation:

"Many, still today, have their rapacious eyes on it and remember Africa only when they need its resources. They haven't supported the continent in its struggle for development at all".

He went on to denounce the consequences of this exploitation; civil wars and perhaps Africa's most horrific wound, the use of child soldiers:

Then he asked for increased collaboration among Christian Churches and denominations in their fight against this scourge of wars, and the subsequent migration of people:

"We must speak out in unity to oppose it. Therefore, I would like to urge all religious leaders to work for peace and protect the natural resources God gave us, and defend our children".

In his intervention Cardinal Wamala, Archbishop Emeritus of Kampala, denounced what he termed as a "new breed of dictators" in Africa, practised in "political engineering" that leads to a "Godless politics":

"We must go to the root-causes of the conflicts and wars" he said, adding that leadership without sound principals in his view was the main cause and that he sees no other way than education to address the problem.

In this endeavour Bishop Lucas Abadamloora of Ghana stressed the need to strengthen the use of media and new technologies.

Pope Benedict who was present for the duration of the morning session also underlined the importance of inter-religious collaboration and an education to reconciliation:

"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", said the Pope "In Christ we know that reconciliation is possible, justice can prevail, peace can endure!".