During the Bishops’ weeklong assembly, which had concluded October 13, the Apostolic Nuncio in Congo-Brazzaville and Gabon Archbishop Francisco Escalante Molina briefed the participants on the Framework Agreement signed between Congo and the Holy See, on relations between the Vatican State and the Catholic Church in Congo and which was ratified on July 2, 2019 in Rome.
“On the social level, immorality has taken over the values that once characterized the Congolese, who are now practicing more than surprising practices,” the Prelates lamented, giving examples such as “non-respect for the dead and the elderly, cases of witchcraft, family denial, greed, enthusiasm for illicit enrichment, easy gain, shameful use of corruption and theft, selfishness and individualism.”
The Church leaders attributed the unfortunate turn of events in their country, a former French colony, to the “moral and spiritual corruption of its citizens” and cautioned members of society about the “serious consequences” the country is struggling with, 59 years after independence, which include poor delivery of social services.
“In the field of education, the level continues to fall, despite the efforts of recent years that have reduced the scale of fraud,” the Bishops said and regretted inadequacies in places of learning, including, “the lack of teachers and benches, large rooms, the purchase of notes and passages in the higher class, the traffic of influence during exams and competitions.”
This was not the first time they were “calling Christians for testimony of life through concrete acts in society and in the church,” the Bishops recalled, pointing to their previous Plenary Assemblies with similar themes in 1972, 1983, 1990, 2000, 2003, 2012, 2013 and 2018.
“Today, we are back on this question, because our responsibility for guides ... for the Church, mother and educator, in the service of man asks us to be good pastors in the image of Christ, come to serve and not to be served,” the Bishops stated, citing Mark 10:45.
“We are also sensitive to the call from Pope Francis who invites us to be shepherds who smell like your sheep,” the Bishops reflected.
The Assembly held at Interdiocesan Centre for Works (IOC), Brazzaville also included a brief presentation on the Golden Jubilee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), held during the last week of July in Kampala, Uganda.
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