Catholic Archbishop Decries “Moral Depravity” in Cameroon, Urges Respect for Human Dignity

Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Cameroon's Douala Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Douala/Facebook

The Catholic Archbishop of Cameroon’s Douala Archdiocese has, in a pastoral letter, expressed concerns about what seems to be indications of declining moral values in the Central African nation.

In his pastoral letter circulated Sunday, August 8, Archbishop Samuel Kleda's calls for the respect of human dignity amid the spreading of obscene videos featuring popular figures in the country’s economic capital, Douala.

Archbishop Kleda says the dissemination of "these unhealthy publications and these notorious attacks on modesty and good morals, in open contradiction with the Word of God and ancestral values, are taking on worrying proportions in our society every day.”

These acts, the Cameroonian Archbishop continues, “are added to the long list of irresponsible, immoral and even unnatural acts committed throughout the country.”

The Archbishop cites the publication of the images of sick or deceased people online, putting people's private lives online, cyberbullying, the initiation of young people to perverse morals through soap operas, prostitution, sexual slavery and exploitation, pornography, incest, pedophilia, homosexuality and ritual crimes as illustrations of attacks on the dignity of the human person in Cameroon.


“These moral wounds inflicted on the dignity of the human person and on our social body are caused, among other things, by the widespread depravity of morals, moral relativism, hedonism, the lack of role models and values, and the crisis of moral values,” Archbishop Kleda explains in the five-page pastoral letter dated July 29.

On June 16, a sex tape scandal involving the Cameroonian sport commentator, Martin Camus Mimb, went viral on social media sparking widespread condemnation.

In July, some gendarme officers were detained in Douala after reportedly recording and sharing videos of naked youths in a private residence in the Bonamoussadi neighborhood. 

Cameroon’s Defence Minister ordered their arrest after the video in which the officers are seen filming the youth went viral. 

In his pastoral letter, Archbishop Kleda says, “The Church, to whom Christ the Lord has entrusted the deposit of faith, cannot remain indifferent to the increasing and galloping corruption of morals that has been observed in our country for some time and which is sowing confusion in people's minds, leading to a decline in morals.”

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Making reference to the Code of Canon Law, the Local Ordinary of Douala Archdiocese says, “It is the duty of the Church to proclaim at all times and in all places the principles of morality, also with regard to the social order, as well as to pass judgment on every human reality, insofar as this is required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls.”

“As Pastor of the Church of God in Douala, I cannot remain silent before this depravity of morals,” the Cameroonian Archbishop adds.

He notes that “all these multiple and recurrent attacks on the dignity of the human person are contrary to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, the Church and even the natural law.”

“The dignity of the human person is the heart and foundation of the Church's entire social doctrine. A just society can only be achieved through respect for the transcendent dignity of the human person,” Archbishop Kleda says in the letter shared with ACI Africa. 

He continues, “Respect for the human person implies respect for the rights that flow from his or her creaturely dignity. These rights are prior to society and are imposed on it. They are the basis of the moral legitimacy of all authority, as the Church teaches.”


As such, Archbishop Kleda says, “The recording and dissemination of indecent, shocking or violent images or videos through social media or other platforms seriously undermines human dignity, physical and moral integrity, modesty, public morals and decency.”

“The publication of obscene images has serious repercussions in personal, community and social life,” he adds.

In the light of what has been circulated virtually, Archbishop Kleda launches a “vibrant appeal for everyone to get involved in the moral recovery that our country needs to restore the dignity of the human person, moral values and responsible citizenship.”

He urges the government to “intensify the fight against cybercrime, raise awareness on responsible citizenship, promote moral education in schools and in the community and to punish the perpetrators of such acts without complacency.”

The Catholic Church leader also invites the forces of law and order to “respect the dignity and physical integrity of every human being and to ensure the protection and safety of all.”

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Addressing himself to parents, Archbishop Kleda encourages them “to be responsible for the education of their children and see to their moral education and their human and spiritual formation.”

The Archbishop also invites young people to “seek the life that is in Jesus Christ and not in the life-destroying social media and to resist, with the help of Christ, the exogenous technological and cultural influences that initiate perversion.”

To the people of God in the Central African nation, the Archbishop invites them to “to respect the dignity of every human being, to accord unconditional respect to all human beings, regardless of age, sex, physical or mental health, social status, religion, race or ethnic origin and to use the new information and communication technologies with great discernment and a high sense of responsibility.”

He cautions Cameroonians against indecency saying, “Refrain from producing, disseminating or relaying images or facts, videos or other content likely to go against morality, decency, and human dignity.”

“We believe that we can do something if we all commit ourselves to this struggle, and if we join forces by trusting in the Lord,” he says and implores, “May the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother and Teacher of the Holy Family, who bore the Son of God in her womb, help us to live according to God's will and to glorify Him in our bodies.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.