AFRICA/IVORY COAST - Prayer for peace in Abidjan no longer includes the procession "due to security reasons"

Tuesday, 28 January 2020 peace   bishops  

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - It is an initiative scheduled since October 2019; unfortunately, the implementation of this project suffers from ambivalent, contradictory and ambiguous interpretations. This risks, if you are not careful, to distort both the strictly spiritual intention and the purpose of this laudable initiative", said Fr. Augustin Obrou, communications manager of the Archdiocese of Abidjan, in announcing the decision made by His Eminence Cardinal Jean Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan, to hold the prayer for peace exclusively in the Cathedral of St. Paul "for security reasons".
The prayer for peace in the Ivory Coast will be held on Saturday 15 February from 7am to 1:30pm, but there will be no procession from Place de la République on the Abidjan Plateau to the cathedral as originally planned (see Fides, 24 /1/2020).
After recalling that within the Catholic Church, processions, Via Crucis, prayers of intercessions are common practices, Fr. Obrou stressed that "the Church cannot be the sounding board for any group or association". Following the dangers of infiltration and concerned about the safety of his faithful, Cardinal Kutwa decided to limit the day of prayer exclusively inside the Cathedral. In fact, some political parties had invited their militants and supporters to join the procession, thus raising controversy over an initiative that must remain strictly pastoral. "His goal is to reaffirm the importance of living in a stable environment, supporting peace among young people, showing the need to live in fraternity and cohesion, to raise awareness among young people to non-violence during the election period", recalls Fr. Obrou.
"His Eminence understands the disappointment of all those who would like to live this moment of prayer as a pilgrimage. But "everything contributes to the good of those who believe", says Saint Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles", concluded Fr. Obrou. (S.S.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/1/2020)