AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Bishops call for a week of reconciliation ahead of the 2020 elections

Wednesday, 4 December 2019 peace   reconciliation   bishops   elections  

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - In view of the 2020 elections, there is a climate of widespread fear among the population in the Ivory Coast; fear linked to the recurrence of conflicts between communities or land occupation, the illegal occupation of forests and widespread insecurity.
This is what the Catholic Bishops of the Ivory Coast had emphasized at the conclusion of their 113th Plenary Assembly, which was held from 17 to 23 June 2019 (see Fides, 24/6/2019). The theme of reconciliation and the preservation of peace was also one of its priorities established in the Strategic Plan 2019-2023 of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Ivory Coast (CECCI).
In the perspective of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Africae Munus" of Pope Benedict XVI on the commitment towards Africa, the Ivorian Bishops have long established a National Week of "Reconciliation" which begins every first Sunday of Advent, this year the second Sunday.
The goal of this week is to make everyone aware of the need for reconciliation among Christians to work for the good of the human community in the Ivory Coast, to be men and women of unity and peace.
"Reconciliation goes beyond elections. We must do all we can to ensure that the Ivorians reconcile and go to elections in peace, tranquility and search for the common good for all", declared His Exc. Mgr. Ignace Dogbo Bessi, Bishop of Katiola and President of the EBishops’ Conference of the Ivory Coast.
To the question of how the Church intends to involve Ivorian political actors in this week of reconciliation, Mgr. Bessi replies: "They have not been forgotten. Every member of the population is taken into consideration so as to gather together in prayer, listening to the Word of God and making concrete gestures of reconciliation: politicians will be asked to encourage rapprochement and meetings between the leaders and activists of the various political parties, who will then live a mass together, with a fraternal sharing of all this, in some cities, such as Abidjan, Katiola, Korhogo, etc." (SS) (Agenzia Fides, 4/12/2019)