2009-10-26 14:45:24

Pope celebrates closing Mass of Africa Synod

(October 26, 2009) Pope Benedict XVI brought curtains down on the special assembly of the synod of bishops for Africa in the Vatican on Sunday with a call for peace and reconciliation among all people on the continent, regardless of ethnic and religious differences. The pope celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica to conclude the three-week meeting that discussed the Catholic Church’s role in bringing about reconciliation, justice and peace in the continent. “Courage! Arise, African continent!” was the Holy Father’s call to Africa during the Mass, which he con-celebrated with some of the prelates who attended the synod. The pope also said that globalization should be regulated in order to include all nations, not just developed ones. Globalization, he said, is not governed by forces that are independent of the human will and can be adjusted by men. He added that the Catholic Church is working to promote development for all countries. Pope Benedict said that reconciliation is necessary to ensure a just peace in Africa, and called on all people to contribute regardless of ethnic, religious, language, cultural or social background. He praised the work of missionaries as one that is both respectful of the local cultures and essential to help Africa out of hunger and disease. During the synod, some 300 bishops and cardinals looked at pressing issues such as AIDS and political corruption on the continent. In their final message, the bishops told corrupt Catholic political leaders in Africa to repent or quit public office and stop wreaking havoc on their countries. In their final recommendations, the synod also called for starting religious dialogue with followers of Islam and African traditional religions. Speaking to the faithful during the midday Marian ‘Angelus’ prayer at the end of the Mass, the pope praised the “dynamism of the Christian communities, which keep growing in quantity and quality” in Africa.

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