As a way forward, the Bishops call on politicians in Africa “to build better health systems and infrastructure, including the introduction of insurance health care coverage for all the people, and to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines to be used in Africa and the Islands are safe and effective.”
The members of SECAM further make reference to Pope Francis’ Message for the 52nd World Day of Peace saying, “Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest.”
They also refer to the Holy Father’s 54th World Day of Peace highlighting the need for “a Culture of Care as a Path to Peace” to be fostered by leaders of various entities in Africa.
In their collective statement signed by the President of SECAM, Phillippe Cardinal Ouedraogo, the Bishops in Africa say “violent conflicts and terrorist attacks were also experienced in a couple of African countries.”
Combined with COVID-19, the violent conflicts “resulted to the untimely deaths of several family members or loved ones,” the members of SECAM say.
“We reiterate our call on all perpetrators of violent conflicts and terrorist attacks everywhere on the continent and beyond to lay down their arms and seek to resolve all conflicts through mutual dialogue. The Year 2021 should be one of peace,” the Catholic Church leaders in Africa say in their New Year message circulated December 30.
They describe 2020 as “a traumatic year for numerous people across the continent, owing to domestic violence and other intolerable adversities,” adding, “As we begin a New Year 2021, many are still suffering and some may have lost hope even in God. A cloud of uncertainty still surrounds the COVID-19 crisis, nobody knows how long it may take before the sickness will be brought under effective control, and life would return to normal.”
“Dear sons and daughters of the African continent and the Islands, it is a rough, tough, cruel and puzzling moment on several fronts,” the Bishops acknowledge and making reference to Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti say, “The global health emergency experienced during the Year 2020, has demonstrated that no one can face life in isolation and that the time has truly come to dream as a single human family in which we are all brothers and sisters.”
“In this New Year 2021, therefore, let each one of us commit himself/herself to true brotherhood/sisterhood, fraternity, solidarity and care for one another everywhere on the continent and Islands; after all these are values common in every African traditional society,” the members of SECAM urge.
They express their solidarity with all those infected by COVID-19 in Africa and the Islands and offer their “condolences to the families that have lost loved ones.”