CEPACS Golden Jubilee Ends with Calls for Church in Africa to Embrace Digitality

Delegates at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS). Credit: CEPACS

The Golden Jubilee of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), an entity of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), has ended with calls on the Church in Africa to embrace the digital culture.

The November 18-21 event was held in Nigeria’s Lagos Archdiocese under the theme, “CEPACS at 50: Towards Promoting a Synodal Church in Africa through Social Communications.”

Bishop Bernardin Francis Mfumbusa of Kondoa Diocese in Tanzania said, “The Church in Africa would do well to come to terms with the fact that linear media models that allowed for more centralized and regulated government control were over.”

Bishop Mfumbusa added, “Also gone is a Church that had more control over content through instruments such as Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur and by having its own printing presses producing family-worthy Christian magazines.”

“Today, the Church in Africa and elsewhere has to contend with a Babel mediascape with no gatekeepers,” he continued in his emphasis that the people of God in the world’s second-largest and second most populous content embrace digitality.


In this era of digitality, the Tanzanian Catholic Bishop further said, “the young, sometimes untrained Influencers and content creators reign supreme.”

“It is in this media environment of fake news, misinformation and doxxing that a revitalized CEPACS will need to find its place. It cannot be business as usual for CEPACS,” Bishop Mfumbusa went on to emphasize.

The Catholic Bishop who specialized in communication said CEPACS “needs to hit the ground running, especially in designing training packages for young African Catholics with regard to media literacy.”

Without this, he warned, “young people think everything that goes viral or is trending on social media is true.”

The Church in Africa must also pay attention to “developing its own laity, Priests and Sisters who are conversant with programming and have coding skills,” the Catholic Church leader, who has been at the helm of Kondoa Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in May 2011 said.

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“Increased cooperation and guidance with young Catholic Influencers could also be explored,” he added.

On his part, Archbishop Andrew Fuanya Nkea of Bamenda Archdiocese in Cameroon challenged members of the Clergy, women and men Religious and all the people of God in Africa to get involved in the use of modern means of communication.

Addressing participants in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of CEPACS on the third day of deliberations, Archbishop Nkea said, “A good number of the Dioceses in sub-Saharan Africa still have to arise from the lethargy which is not alert to what is happening in the media world.”

The Catholic Archbishop of Bamenda who doubles as the President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) added, “There are many Priests and Bishops who are not on Facebook, Twitter (X), WhatsApp and other new media platforms.”

“Understandably, many Bishops and Parish Priests are busy people. However, we can allow others to handle our diocesan social media accounts,” the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in Cameroon’s Mamfe Diocese as Coadjutor Bishop in August 2013 said.


Archbishop Nkea continued, “We don’t necessarily have to do everything ourselves.”

He went on to underscore the need for the Church in Africa to equip members of the Clergy and women and men Religious with digital skills, and who take up this apostolate “full-time”.

“Today, we need Priests and Religious who are well-trained media specialists and who are given full-time ministry in this respect,” Archbishop Nkea said.

Meanwhile, in his closing remarks on Monday, November 20, the President of SECAM, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo, said, “It was impossible to imagine evangelisation in Africa without at the same time thinking of communication.”

“Unfortunately, Africa’s presence is not really felt in terms of communication. We are an important institution but in terms of communication, in terms of visibility, we risk being marginalized if we do not ameliorate our communication system,” the Local Ordinary of Kinshasa Archdiocese in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) said.

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“We give the mandate to CEPACS to help the Church in Africa ameliorate its system of communication,” he added.

The Congolese Cardinal continued, “The vocation of CEPACS is to become in the future a true network of communication in Africa.”

The member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) stakeholders of the entity that brings together Catholic Bishops at the helm of communication in the world’s second-largest and second most populous continent to make “CEPACS a strong and visible communication tool in Africa.”

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.