For Pope Francis, peace is not only the absence of war, SECAM leaders say and reiterated the Holy Father’s message that in order to make reconciliation possible, it is necessary to overcome times of division and violence, of xenophobia and tribalism.
“In this connection, we need to take up the challenge of welcoming and protecting migrants who arrive in search of work and in search of better living conditions for their families, of defending the ecumenical and interreligious meetings and finding ways to promote collaboration among all - Christians, traditional religions, Muslims - for a better future for Africa,” SECAM leaders say.
The leaders also express their commitment to Pope Francis' call to the Church to participate actively in social issues that impact the well-being of the people of God.
“Religion can no longer be said to be limited to the private sphere, which serves only to prepare souls for heaven. We know that God desires the happiness of his children on this earth too, even though they are called to eternal fullness, because he created all things for our benefit, so that all may enjoy them,” SECAM leaders say in their latest statement.
Pope Francis told Madagascar’s bishops that the Catholic Church should participate in public life in order to promote the common good and that the Bishops should not be afraid to voice their opinions on matters affecting members of their society.
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“Christian conversion demands reviewing especially those areas and aspects of life ‘related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good,’” the Pope said in his September 7, 2019 address in the Cathedral of Andohalo in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar.
The Holy Father added, “Consequently, no one can demand that religion should be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting society.”
As for fighting poverty, SECAM leadership has expressed the concern that Africa is a rich land yet with so much poverty, “full of natural and cultural riches, but paradoxically with a huge amount of its population below the poverty level.”
Echoing Pope Francis, SECAM leaders say that the only way out of poverty for Africa and Madagascar is a greater effort in the fight against corruption, which drags the population into a spiral of poverty from which it is difficult to escape.
And touching on the need to conserve the environment, SECAM leadership asserts that development cannot happen without paying attention and taking care of creation, “our Common Home”.
Meanwhile, the Church in Mozambique is concluding its week of faith and social commitment that was organized to commemorate the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to the Southern African country.
The leadership of the Social Department of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM), which includes different social commissions, explained to ACI Africa that the week-long celebrations expected to end on Saturday, September 5 will be marked with spiritual reflections in all Dioceses of the country.
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.