2013-08-14 16:38:23

Church supports reconciliation in Central African Republic

(Vatican Radio) The Catholic aid agency Caritas is reporting a dramatic upsurge of violence in the Central African Republic. In March 2013, a rebel group called Seleka marched on the capital of Bangui and overthrew former president Francois Bozize.

To find out more, Giulia Cirillo spoke to Father Anastasio Roggero, a Carmelite missionary who worked in the Central African Republic for several decades. He still maintains strong ties with the Catholic Church there, in particular with the regional director of Caritas, Father Aurelio Gazzera. Father Anastasio told us about a fact-finding mission organised by Caritas last week, to the site of a massacre near a river in the north-west of the country.

“It is in the river that the rebels have thrown the bodies of people killed…”

The UNHCR has described the situation in the CAR as “the most neglected crisis in the world”. We asked Father Aurelio why the international community is not taking any action.

“It is difficult to say. It is clear that it becomes more difficult to intervene, and the situation is likely to become worse. There is no authority, the schools are still closed. The international community promised to send 3500 men, but when? Talking, talking about help to the Central African Republic – they are doing nothing, only the church is close to the people.”

In the face of spiralling violence, the Archbishop of Bangui has written an open letter to Catholics in the Central African Republic, calling on religious authorities – Catholic, Protestant and Muslim – to work together to rebuild peace and reconciliation in the war-torn country.

“The bishop invites Christians, in the present situation, to proclaim the gospel and be witnesses to it, and encourages the formation of a platform for religious authorities – Catholic, Protestant and Muslim – to move forwards towards reconciliation and social reconstruction.”

Listen to Giulia Cirillo's report: RealAudioMP3

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