2009-10-09 15:16:06

Vatican officials address African Synod on gender theories, saints

(October 9, 2009) Vatican’s top official in charge of the pastoral care of the family has warned of "spiritual toxic waste" being exported to Africa by the First World. Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, borrowed the phrase from Pope Benedict’s inaugural address for African Synod. The prelate was addressing on Thursday the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which started last Sunday in Rome, and has as its theme: The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. One of these toxic wastes, Cardinal Antonelli said was the heavily-disguised so-called gender theory, which is starting to infiltrate associations, governments and even some ecclesial environments in the African continent. He noted that agents working for "various international institutions and organizations" start from real problems that must be "dutifully resolved," such as injustice and violence against women, infant mortality, malnutrition and famine, and problems of housing and work. But, he lamented that "they propose solutions based on the values of equality, health and liberty” which are rendered ambiguous by the new anthropological meanings that are given to them." He said equality of people no longer just means equal dignity and access to fundamental human rights but also includes, for example, equality of heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual and polymorphous orientations and behaviour. Cardinal Antonelli was one of 22 speakers that addressed Thursday’s morning session.
Another Vatican official, Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, focussed instead on the holy men and women of Africa. "From the beginning of Christianity," Archbishop Amato said, "Africa has been a land of saints, from the great doctor, Augustine, to the Ugandan martyrs Charles Lwanga, Mattia Maulumba Kalemba and companions, and the extraordinary figure of the Sudanese St. Josephine Bakhita, canonized in 2000." St. Josephine is the saint that Benedict XVI referred to in "Spe Salvi" as an example of new hope. The Vatican official went on to note that 22 of the African nations have a native son or daughter in the process of beatification or canonization: 13 blesseds, four venerables and 27 servants of God hail from Africa. And, the archbishop affirmed, "All categories of the faithful are represented." He noted that since Africa’s saints accomplish the three key tasks of evangelization, inculturation and reconciliation for the Church and for Africa, they are a true treasure of the local church.

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