Sunday, October 04, 2009

Pope: the spiritual treasures of Africa under attack from materialism and fundamentalism

» 10/04/2009 12:43

At the opening of the Synod for Africa, Benedict XVI highlights the value of the continent as a spiritual "lung” for humanity, but also the risks it is running faced with the first world’s cultural colonialism and exploited by religious fundamentalism, politics and economics. The primacy of God, marriage and children the most pressing challenges for evangelization. From the continent where in nearly 30 years the Church has tripled in size, the pope demands holiness that brings reconciliation and peace to society.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Africa, the continent that generally only makes the news for its material resources, wars, poverty, famine and ethnic conflicts, is now in the limelight because of its "spiritual and cultural resources, both "an immense spiritual 'lung', for a humanity that is in a crisis of faith and hope”. These resources risk being polluted by "practical materialism" and "religious fundamentalism" that require a new missionary commitment of the Church. This positive and realistic outlook was at the heart of Benedict XVI message delivered in his homily for the opening of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops on: "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 Mass in St. Peter’s basilica was attended by 239 Synod Fathers and 55 priest collaborators at the Synod as well as thousands of faithful from around the world. The celebration was animated by a Congolese choir who together with the Sistine Chapel choir performed the songs of the liturgy.

The pope, who visited Cameroon and Angola in March, began by restating the ideal unity between this synod and the first one that was opened 15 years ago by Pope John Paul II in preparation for the Jubilee of 2000 and immediately stressed 'one of the salient and unifying traits of African culture" that being its "recognition of the absolute Lordship of God. "

The "treasures of Africa," the pontiff said, of course include the "resources that are so abundant in its territory and which have sadly become, and sometimes continue to be, a cause of exploitation, conflict and corruption", but above all “mankind needs” its "spiritual and cultural” heritage “even more than its raw materials”.

But this "spiritual lung" that Africa is for a mankind "in crisis of faith and hope," risks "infection" from "two dangerous diseases": "First, a disease that has spread throughout the Western world, namely practical materialism, combined with relativistic and nihilistic thinking”. "The so-called 'first' world - explained Benedict XVI - at times has exported and is exporting spirituality toxic waste, which infects the population in other continents, including in particular those in Africa. In this sense, colonialism, which ended at a political level, never completely ended”.

See also from CNA, "Holy Spirit will set agenda for Africa Synod, Pope teaches" and "Pope Benedict calls for revolution of holiness in Africa."

And from YouTube-Vatican's Channel:

Pope: "Church in Africa, the leaven of reconciliation"
October 4, 2009


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