Sunday 11 October 2009

CISA: Congo Bishop forced to leave Special Synod for Africa... After a parish is burnt down, hostages taken

(South African Catholic; c.f. CISA [Catholic Information Service For Africa] (Catholic; Independent; African [Continental]) Friday 09 / 10 | October / 2009 ; Friday 09 / 10 | October / 2009 ; CNA [Catholic News Agency] (Catholic; Independent; American) 10 / 10 | October / 2009 )

Central African archbishop, withdraws from the Vatican hosted: Special Synod for Africa, due to hostage situation in his home archdiocese.

According to the CISA news service:

"VATICAN, October 9, 2009 (CISA) - The reality of political violence in [parts of] Africa hit the ongoing Synod in Rome in its first week when a Congolese bishop-delegate was forced to cut short his participation and return home following attacks at a parish where priests were taken hostage.

The Synod is discussing justice, peace and reconciliation in Africa.

Archbishop François Xavier Rusengo [Archbishop François-Xavier Maroy Rusengo] of Bukavu in the war-torn eastern DR Congo [Democratic Republic of Congo] told the [Special] Synod [for Africa] that uniformed men last Friday burnt down one of his parishes, attacked priests and took others hostage. The archdiocese had to pay a huge ransom for release of the hostages.

'Through these acts, it is the Church, remaining the only support for a terrorized, humiliated, exploited and dominated people who they would reduce to silence. Lord, may your will be done, may your kingdom of peace arrive', the Archbishop said on Tuesday.

The Synod issued a statement of solidarity with Archbishop Rusengo and the Christians of Bukavu, and expressed the hope that reconciliation and the Good News of the Gospel, as we are reminded during these days of Synod reflection, may be welcomed as the path shared by all to accomplish conditions of human life founded on the values of justice, reinforced by peace, which is a gift from God.

At the same time, the Synod called on the government to do everything possible to bring back order in justice to establish and guarantee peace, necessary for a normal life of the dear population."
(CISA [Catholic Information Service For Africa] (Catholic; Independent; African [Continental]) Friday 09 / 10 | October / 2009 ;)

Meanwhile, another archbishop, Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Ababa, who is situated in the same city as the headquarters of the African Union (AU), suggested that the church appoint a permanent representative to the body, with the same credentials as an Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican Ambassador to a political power).

This suggestion was supported by the SACBC (Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference), but possibly not by SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagasca), which Ethiopia is a member of- which is not mentioned as supporting the idea, but may well support it.

The Archbishop, however mentioned, that SECAM in particular, in his opinion: needed a representative on the AU for its mission, if not only an observer. He claimed that 50% of the AU members (possibly, this seems to refer to the representatives at the headquarters of the AU, as Africa is not 50% Catholic?) are Catholic, and that the Apostolic Nuncio in Ethiopia has been given permission to sit in on all meetings in Addis Abbaba as an observer.

It is unclear who the Archbishop would recommend for the job, which would happen in his proximity.

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