AFRICA/BENIN - Bishops appeal for Lent: "Let us fast from lies"

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Cotonou (Agenzia Fides) - "A fast of lies that inundate and poison interpersonal and social relations". This is what the Bishops of Benin propose in their Lenten message, in which they exhort the faithful to remain silent and to listen to the Word of God. A silence that is extended to social media.
In the message titled "the truth will set you free", the Bishops emphasize that the divine Word is capable of "transforming thoughts, words and actions" not only on a personal but also on a social level. "Even though prayers and worship are personal and can be relegated to a private space, living Christian faith and values must shine through social life and the Christian's political commitment".
An invitation to conversion is all the more urgent because, according to the Bishops, "there is a preferential option for the lie in the political arena. Christians around the world have found that their leaders and governors are increasingly discrediting themselves with their lies".
In order to fully understand the importance of the Episcopal Conference document, it is necessary to describe the context in which it was published. In Benin there is tension because of the legislative elections of 28 April.
On March 5, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Cena) published a list of parties that could participate in the elections. Only two parties, were selected, both close to President Patrice Talon. This gave rise to strong reactions from opposition parties.
In January, the Bishops had urged voters to vote "according to conscience" and denounced "a climate of fear that could paralyze many citizens from going to the polls". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/3/2019)