In that regard, the Church leaders stated, “It is up to us, Christians in particular, to help our Nation effectively walk in the footsteps of democracy, justice, peace and freedom in all its forms.”
Benin held its first multiparty elections in 1990, making the country the first in Africa to achieve democracy shortly after the Episcopal Conference was formed.
Despite this pace-setter role, the country has plunged into a series of political crises characterized by what critics have termed sham elections.
On its part, the Church in Benin has been accused of not resolving a political crisis that followed legislative elections in April last year.
Commenting on the coincidence between the country’s historical birth of democracy and the formation of the Bishops conference, the Beninese bishops said, “The sign is tall. God awaits us at the crossroads of our history. Let us learn to decipher the signs of the times to respond contextually and relevantly to our mission.”
“This message returns to the fundamentals of Lent times while at the same time establishing a link between this Lenten time and the thirtieth anniversary of the National Conference,” said Fr. Éric Okpeitcha, director of the CEB Communication Unit.
The Bishops in Benin urged the faithful to practice the theological virtues, faith, hope, and charity, as well as that of fasting, especially on Ash Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Bishops have reminded Christians to pay attention to the Scripture as Pope Francis asks in his Motu Proprio Aperuit Illis, An Apostolic letter that instituted the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God.
“Lent is the privileged time of God’s solicitude which calls us to conversion for a life all oriented towards eternal goods”, says the Bishops, taking lent to imply “a radical conversion and a total adherence to God who commits us to live our witness of faith at the political and social level.”