“With concerted good will efforts, we can overcome”: Bishops in Liberia on Challenges

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL)

As Christians across the globe live the Advent Season, the Catholic Bishops in the West African nation of Liberia have used the occasion to call for collective efforts and reliance of God in facing the socio-economic challenges, encouraging dialogue and the nurturing of peace and security.

“It is an open secret that our current socio-economic realities are challenging. However, we believe that with concerted good will efforts we can overcome,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL) stated in their Advent Pastoral Message dated Monday, December 9 availed to ACI Africa.

There is a currency crisis in Liberia, which, according to a BBC report, “is rooted in the alleged disappearance of close to sixteen billion Liberian dollars -- more than one hundred million US dollars -- in banknotes last year.”

While the government has denied the missing money allegations, there seems to be scarcity of banknotes in the country and President George Weah’s intention to implement a Pro-Poor Agenda for Development (PPAD) aimed at lifting a million Liberians out of poverty has not been successful.

The annual loss of about $300 million during the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak, slowed global trade, and static commodity prices have combined to contribute to less revenue receipts and the spiraling of inflation, negatively affecting the operation of the West African country.


Recalling the unpleasant past when their country was engulfed in civil war and in more recent times during the Ebola virus outbreak and the collective efforts made toward normalcy, the Bishops have reflected in their Pastoral message, “These challenges are not insurmountable. Just as in the past with collective efforts and by the grace of God, we were able to sail through the darkest moments of our history; we can also do the same in our current socioeconomic realities.”

“There is a need to approach these challenges by means of dialogue,” the Prelates have stated and calling on professional assistance added, “The expertise of those with the requisite knowledge and technical know-how should be sought and implemented.”

In their considered view, the “socioeconomic problems should be de-politicized and looked at with lenses of patriotism.”

They have also called on the citizens of their country and especially those in leadership to be guided by constitutional provisions in resolving the challenges they are facing.

“The respect for constitutional authority is paramount to our current socio-political situation,” the Bishops have noted and explained, “History demonstrates that non-violence is the golden way towards finding a solution to any problem. Violence always begets violence; creating a vicious cycle. Hence dialogue remains our best and only option.”

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Emphasizing the value of peace in tackling any challenges, the Bishops in Liberia have stated, “As a nation, peace has been our most cherished and yearned for 'word' for decades. It eluded us. We prayed and worked for it. We have made some gains. We all need to collectively solidify these gains we have made in order to ensure the survival of our nation.”

Considering the Season of Advent, the main context of their message, the Bishops encouraged the craving for “total peace and security” ahead of the festive season.

“Our prayers, words and actions should be towards this noble goal,” the Prelates have stated in reference to efforts toward nurturing peaceful co-existence and emphasized, “With peace and security, we gain. In the absence of these, we lose all.”

The Church leaders have recommended a special prayer for peace in their country saying, “As we prepare for the birth of the Prince of Peace, we humbly ask all Catholics, and men and women of goodwill, that the prayer of peace of St. Francis of Assisi, be recited, interiorized and lived.”

While the realities may appear gloomy and dark, our hope is reassured in the coming of the Son of God at Christmas,” the Bishops have reassured and expressed the desire that the Season of Advent remains “a time of sober reflection, to prepare ourselves for the great event of the Incarnation, God becoming man to live among us.”


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.