Catholic Bishop in Angola Urges Government to “give spaces, land for building churches”

Bishop António Francisco Jaca of the Catholic Diocese of Benguela in Angola. Credit: Radio Ecclesia

Bishop António Francisco Jaca of the Catholic Diocese of Benguela in Angola has called on the government of the Southern African nation to support the activities of the Church by providing spaces where churches and other infrastructures can be developed.  

In his homily during his pastoral visit to St. Paul Bela Vista Parish of his Episcopal See, Bishop Jaca decried persecutions and condemned the erection of obstacles that hinder the growth of the Church in the world and in his Diocese.

“We have difficulties here in Angola even to have a space or land to build a church, as if Christians didn't have the right to pray,” the Angolan Catholic Bishop said during the June 16 pastoral visit.

He added, “This is the time to remind those who govern, who administer the territory, that Christians are also citizens; they have rights like all other citizens and one of those rights is to profess and live their faith and for that they need spaces to be able to pray.”

“Sometimes we forget that a church is a public good and that those who want can have access to it, because it is a right; and if it is a right it is the duty of the State to give the spaces, land for building churches,” Bishop Jaca said.


The Local Ordinary of Benguela Diocese, who doubles as President of the Episcopal Commission for Culture and Social Communications of the Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe (CEAST) further said, “Cities are built, neighbourhoods are built and urbanization must include spaces for churches, as well as for schools, nurseries, and public gardens because citizens need all of this.”

The Angolan member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) went on to highlight persecution as one of the challenges the people of God face across the globe, saying, “The Church has been persecuted over the centuries and persecution continues. In many places, it continues to hinder the natural growth of Christian life.”

 “All these difficulties can cause some Christians to become discouraged,” he said, and added, “We must continue to fight and live our faith and work so that the Gospel continues to be proclaimed.”

The Bishop of Benguela Diocese since June 2018, following his transfer from Caxito Diocese encouraged faith in God, who he said owns the Church.    

“God is faithful and the difficulties we may encounter today will certainly disappear in the future because this Church is God's Church and it will last for centuries,” Bishop Jaca said.

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He continued, “We must show the joy of our faith, our hope to everyone and commit ourselves without discouragement so that this land full of Christians may truly be a country blessed by God, a country where Christians are an example, a light, a beacon.”

João Vissesse is an Angolan Journalist with a passion and rich experience in Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate.