2009-03-18 15:02:32

Pope Tells Cameroon Bishops to Defend Poor

(18 Mar 09 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI’s first major appointment on his first full day in Cameroon, was a meeting with the nation’s bishops. We have this report: RealAudioMP3

Following a brief private meeting with Cameroon’s President, the Pope was driven through the streets of Yaoundé to Christ the King Church in the heart of the capital.

He was there to speak to the nation’s 31 bishops. In a country where 40% of the population declare themselves Christian, 15% Catholic, where despite relative stability, the wealth of the nation sis still controlled by a few to the detriment of the many, Pope Benedict told the bishops that their mission is to care for Cameroon’s most deprived:

“The Bishop’s mission leads him to be the defender of the rights of the poor, to encourage charity, … this leaves no room for ethnocentrism or factionalism, and it contributes towards reconciliation and cooperation among ethnic groups for the good of all. .. it is the duty of Christians, particularly lay people with social, economic and political responsibilities, to be guided by the Church’s social teaching, in order to contribute to the building up of a more just world where everyone can live with

The Pope also touched on the problem of religious sects. He said the most effective weapon in the fight against the devastating consequences of ritualism and superstition is education; “The spread of sects and esoteric movements, and the growing influence of superstitious forms of religion, as well as relativism, constitute an urgent invitation to give new impetus to the formation of children and young adults, especially in university settings and intellectual circles”.

He also noted that in this female emancipation is key. He encouraged the active involvement of women’s associations in the Church’s mission, as an example to greater society of the dignity of women and their particular vocation in the ecclesial community and in society.

And then the African Family, which the Pope said is feeling the impact of modernity and secularization. Concluding the Pope told the Bishops that in developing the pastoral care of the family, they must be “eager to promote a better understanding of the nature, dignity and role of marriage, which presupposes an indissoluble and stable union”.

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