“We have to clear the way in order to travel the roads of brotherhood and build bridges between men and between peoples, in a world where so many walls are still being built out of fear of others,” Catholic Bishops in Africa continue.
They invoke the help of the Holy Spirit and the related gifts in addressing violent conflicts in Africa, saying, “As many countries on our Continent are plagued by armed conflicts, claiming many innocent victims, let us ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten the decisions of our leaders so that they are taken with intelligence, wisdom and discernment for the good of all African peoples and for the establishment of a more just and fraternal society.”
“We join in prayer with all our believing brothers and sisters in asking the Holy Spirit to fill us with his gifts so that we can break down the other barriers that threaten living together and social peace on our continent, such as ethnic barriers, the persistent inequalities that characterize our societies and the culture of indifference,” they add.
Reflecting on the events of Pentecost during which the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, SECAM members recall, in juxtaposition, the Genesis account of the Tower of Babel, and the modern reality.
“The fact remains that mankind's dream of building a tower like that of Babel has not died out: indeed, the progress made by the industrialized countries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries shows the extent to which the myth of Babel has remained alive in people's minds,” SECAM members say.
They explain, “Globalization, the modern version of Babel, thus appears to be the realization of the imagination of the designers of development, which conveys a Promethean vision of the world in which the idea of progress and happiness is envisaged without any reference to transcendence or the existence of God.”
“Globalization claims to erase linguistic and cultural diversity with the support of information and communication technology (ICT), resulting in a tendency towards uniformity: a single language as a means of communication, a single culture as a vector of values,” they further explain.
Still, Catholic Bishops in Africa note, “the Holy Spirit continues his work in the Church so that it can transmit the message of the Gospel to all peoples through the use of vernacular languages.”
They call upon the people of God in Africa to “listen to the Spirit of Pentecost who transformed the crowd of curious onlookers in Jerusalem Square into a people of believers living communion in diversity, so that we can make our mark with our Christian faith and our cultural values emphasizing the family, solidarity and a sense of the sacred in this globalized world where opportunities for interaction between cultures open up new perspectives for intercultural dialogue.”
“May the Blessed Virgin, Queen of Africa, intercede for our Continent so that the Lord may put an end to fratricidal wars and so that every nation may live in peace,” SECAM members implore in their Pentecost 2023 Message shared with ACI Africa.