Making reference to Luke’s Gospel, the members of CECA liken the situation in the country to that of the paralytic who, though still alive, was immobile and could not care for himself due to his malady.
The evils of anger, manipulation, lies, destruction, violence, among others, are paralyzing CAR and preventing it from “promoting the great values of fraternity, justice and peace,” the Bishops say and urge the people of God in CAR to foster good relationships and put their faith in Jesus in the example of the paralytic who needed the help of others and the person of Jesus Christ to get on his feet again.
“Today, we need to meet Christ the Redeemer so that he may heal us. God's love is the true strength that can set us on our feet and move us forward,” the Bishops say in their January 17 message.
Jesus’ forgiving and healing words to the paralytic man bring about “liberation, resurrection, human reconstruction and a new life,” they say.
“God does not tolerate people holding others captive; God helps those paralyzed by sickness and sin to regain their freedom of movement, to stand up, to take care of themselves and to serve God and humankind,” the members of CECA emphasize.
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Referencing Pope Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Africae munus, the Bishops affirm that Africa “needs to meet Christ who heals, raises up and restores the true dignity of all who are bruised” and is in need of “multifaceted support to get up again.”
As a way forward, the Catholic Church leaders in CAR call on the citizens to be inspired by the country’s motto: “Unity – Dignity – Work” and the principle of “Zo-kwe-zo” (every human being is a person) of the founding father Barthélemy Boganda.
“Let us not forget that coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together ensures success. Let us be united forever to save our nation,” they add.
The Bishops further encourage CAR citizens to “make use of the Central African genius through honest, organized and courageous work so that the nation’s riches will benefit without exception the daughters and sons of our country as well as the socio-economic development of the entire nation.”
They express the hope to see investigations of the country’s Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission (CVJRR), yield the necessary results and lead to uncovering truths about the events and tragedies of the nation’s history.
“Reconstruction is a long-term task that requires determination, patience and participation of all the daughters and sons of our country,” the Bishops say and add, “Stand up! Let us change our mentality, our minds and our hearts to move forward.”
They add, “We are aware that the struggle for our freedom and the safeguarding of our sovereignty continues. Indeed, the Central African Republic has the sovereign right to freely choose its partners and to revise or even terminate agreements concluded with certain States when its sovereignty is threatened.”
“This is why we call for strong, constructive and beneficial diplomacy to occupy a respected place in the concert of nations and put an end to all the parallel and mafia-like networks of certain predators. It is up to the Central African Republic to make the right choice, not to enrich its leaders, but to develop,” the Bishops reiterate.
They further say and implore, “In truth, love remains the supreme law of the Christian. May this love be translated in us by the search for the good of others, solidarity, benevolence, forgiveness, self-sacrifice for the common good.”
“May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Central Africa, direct our steps and accompany us towards her Son Jesus, Redeemer and Prince of Peace!” the members of CECA further implore.
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.