Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The social situation remains worrying, in the first place in light of the persistent insecurity in some areas, in particular at the borders of three countries", say the Bishops of the Standing Committee of the Association des Conférences Episcopales de l'Afrique Centrale (ACEAC), in the final communiqué of the ordinary meeting which was held in Bukavu (in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo), from 15 to 18 January.
ACEAC, which brings together the Bishops of Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC, also denounces that in their three countries, "the purchasing power of the population has decreased further, forcing many families to live below the poverty line".
"And since bad luck never comes alone, the Ebola virus and torrential rains in recent months have caused several victims and significant material damage and left several people without shelter" continues the statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Bishops appreciate the "dynamism" of Caritas and the Commissions of Justice and Peace which, despite the scarce resources available, have brought relief to the affected populations, and invite Christian communities to continue to be in solidarity with the victims.
The Bishops deplore the deterioration of the climate of trust among political leaders in the region, which risks increasing the possibility of armed clashes to the detriment of local populations: "We appeal to the conscience of rulers to keep in their hearts and minds the duty to protect the populations and to work for the prosperity of people who must fully enjoy their rights as creatures created in the image of God".
The Bishops renew their commitment in 2013 to work with other religious denominations to establish lasting peace in the region "through the testimony of life, gestures and words". To this end, in the coming months they will publish their own pastoral program for the conversion of hearts and the promotion of social cohesion, and invite the faithful to recite the prayer for peace of Saint Francis of Assisi every day. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/1/2020)