“Break down walls of hatred, violence ... build bridges of love”: Cardinal in Burkina Faso

Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo during the Eucharistic celebration to mark the 27th Archdiocesan pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Yagma on Monday, August 15. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Cardinal in Burkina Faso has called upon the people of God in the West African nation to “break down the walls of hatred, violence” and build bridges of love.

In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration to mark the 27th Archdiocesan pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Yagma on Monday, August 15, Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo said, “Religions never incite war or solicit feelings of hatred, hostility, extremism, or invite violence or bloodshed.”

“These misfortunes are the fruit of the deviation of religious teachings, of the political use of religions and also of the interpretations of groups of men of religion who have abused - at certain phases of history - the influence of religious feeling on the hearts of men to lead them to accomplish what has nothing to do with the truth of religion, for worldly and blind political and economic ends,” Cardinal Ouédraogo said.

He continued, “We must agree to do everything possible to break down the walls of hatred, hostility, misunderstanding, extremism, violence ... and to build bridges of understanding, mutual respect, tolerance, brotherhood and love.”

Addressing close to 20,000 pilgrims who gathered for the event marked on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Cardinal Ouédraogo further said, “Peace is a gift from God and the fruit of human efforts. Let us persevere in prayer, individually, in the family and in the community.”


“Every day, at every Eucharistic celebration, let us take up the prayer for peace. And to give wings to our prayer, we must extend it with gestures of solidarity and sharing,” the immediate former President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) said.

He continued, “All that we are and all that we have are gifts from God and we must share with our brothers and sisters in need.”

The 77-year-old Cardinal appealed for solidarity with the close to 2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Burkina Faso, saying, “Our displaced brothers and sisters live in poverty and in precarious situations.”

“Each parish, movement, association or spiritual or apostolic group is invited to intensify prayer for reconciliation, justice and peace, and to take initiatives of solidarity,” the Burkinabe Cardinal said in his homily August 15.

He also reflected on the conclusion of the Year of the Family proposed by Pope Francis and “lived throughout the year in our local Church”, saying the family is the “future of the Church and of humanity. We must therefore take great care of it, and defend it.”

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“Do not allow the family to be polluted by the poisons of selfishness, individualism, the culture of indifference, death (abortion, euthanasia...),” Cardinal Ouédraogo said, and added, “Instead, cultivate hospitality and the spirit of service and forgiveness.”

He called on the people of God in the West African nation to commit themselves “to reconciliation, justice and social cohesion, the guarantees of true and lasting peace.”

“Let us pray unceasingly for peace, reconciliation and justice, for the conversion of the forces of evil; for the Internally Displaced Persons; and not forgetting our brothers and sisters who have been kidnapped and held hostage! We plead for their release,” Cardinal Ouédraogo implored.

He added, “Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church and Mother of humanity, and St. Joseph Protector of the Church, may our families be blessed and become true communities of life and love.”

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.