Pope plans synod on problems of Africa

Pope Benedict announced yesterday that he would summon a special synod of Roman Catholic bishops to discuss the church's role in solving the problems of Africa.

According to Reuters, Benedict told pilgrims at his weekly general audience that he planned to follow through with the intention of his predecessor, John Paul, to hold such a meeting.

"I hope this meeting will mark another impulse for the African continent for evangelisation, the consolidation and growth of the Church and the promotion of reconciliation and peace," he said of the synod.

It would be the second synod on Africa called by the Vatican. The first was held in 1994 under John Paul, who made frequent visits to the continent during his 26-year papacy. It was not clear when the African synod would be held but since the gatherings take much time to prepare, it was not likely to held before next year.

The Vatican applauded earlier this month when the world's wealthiest countries clinched a deal to wipe out more than $40 billion of impoverished nations' debts. But it called for more steps by developed countries to help Africa. Proposals for increasing aid will be a main element at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, next month.

The 1994 synod ended with an appeal by African bishops to the United Nations and the West to stop their continent from "burning and bleeding." They called for debt relief, an end to arms shipments and greater solidarity for the poor.

Catholicism is growing faster in Africa than any other continent.

Pope says to convoke big Vatican meeting on Africa (Reuters 22/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorced by Church Resources)
Benedict XVI General Audience 22 June 2005
Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference | HIV and AIDS Office

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23 Jun 2005