AFRICA/DEMOCRATIC CONGO - “Congo is ours: the time has come for full commitment for democracy” say Catholic Bishops of Congo

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Kinshasa (Fides Service)- “The time has come for serious commitment to promote democracy” said the Bishop members of the Standing Committee of the Congolese Bishops’ Conference in a statement at the end of meeting in Kinshasa from 31 January to 5 February. In the statement, “Congo is ours”, the Bishops say that 2005 “is a year of decisive elections for the destiny of the people of Congo”. This year political elections should make the end of an interim period established with peace agreements signed in 2000 and 2003.
“This period of interim should be the last and it should open the way for a state of law and to guarantee political stability and lasting prosperity for our country” the Bishops affirm. They add that “the social and political situation in Congo shows signs of hope: increased awareness of belonging to the country and public opinion in favour elections for democracy; recourse to mediation in cases of conflict; a return of patriotism and rejection of war”. But there are also concerning signs on the social scene (“parties with no ideology or consistent programme; politicians not interested in the common good; state not interested in healthcare or education; explosion of the sad phenomenon of street children”); at the cultural and religious level (“negation of our traditional cultural values and disregard for human life; loss of the sense of the sacred and even acts of profanation of churches and the Blessed Sacrament”) at the level of security (“concerning reports from some provinces particularly in north Kivu where movements of troops are reported”).
“This means our country is in danger. Attitudes of irresponsibility or lack of interest are inadmissible” they Bishops state call for responsibility on all sides: parliament; government; international community; political parties; people and pastoral workers. “This responsibility involves all the people of Congo and all those involved in the transition of the Democratic Republic of Congo. And we encourage the faithful: may our words and actions, and the life of our Christian communities illuminate society and fight corruption in our country” the Bishops conclude. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 8/2/2005 righe 34 parole 413. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 8/2/2005 righe 34 parole 413)