Accra (Agenzia Fides) – Insecurity , terrorism, persecution of Christians, the migratory crisis, corruption and bad-government, manipulation of national constitutions by political leaders to remain in power; lack of respect for religious freedom. These were the concerns voiced by the Catholic Bishops of west Africa at the end of the Second Plenary Assembly of the Regional Catholic Bishops’ Conference of West Africa (RECOWA-CERAO) held in Accra, Ghana, 22 to 29 February (see Fides 25/2/2016).
In the final statement, sent to Fides, the Bishops denounce: “growing insecurity, in particular terrorist attacks, in some of our countries: Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Chad”; “Persecution of Christians” “lack of respect for religious freedom and state imposition of one religion for the whole population”; “the migratory phenomenon which leads large numbers of young Africans towards uncertain horizons, often putting their lives at risk ”; “bad government, corruption, social injustices and corollaries”.
Among the pastoral challenges the English, French or Portuguese speaking Bishops of West Africa indicate: “care for families subject to all sorts of upheaval, in particular same sex unions, forced legalisation of abortion, etc…”; “interreligious dialogue, formation for Catholic laity”; “religious syncretism and the problem of members of the faithful moving to other religious groups or movements; “commercial exploitation of religion”; “unemployed youth and impoverishment of populations”.
“In the face of these challenges – the Bishops urge: “Catholics to persevere in the faith”, “politicians to promote good government and equity in the management of the common good” , “young people not to lose hope but to believe in the possibility of living a good life here in Africa ”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 1/3/2016)