Catholic Bishops in Africa have been encouraged to put together their deliberations on the marriage institution and speak “with one credible voice” on the family in view of promoting the mission of the Church and safeguard the family in Africa.
The encouragement came from the Vatican-based Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Robert Cardinal Sarah, while addressing representatives of Church leaders in Africa in Accra, Ghana on Tuesday.
“I encourage you to speak with clarity and with one credible voice and with filial love of the Church,” Cardinal Sarah told Church leaders who were gathering for the June 8-11 Consultative Meeting ahead of the October Synod on the Family.
The Synod on the Family is scheduled to take place at the Vatican from October 4 – 25, 2015.
“Be conscious of the mission of the Church; protect the sacredness of marriage which is now being attacked by all forms of ideologies that intend to destroy the family in Africa. Do not be afraid to stress the teaching of the Church on marriage,” Cardinal Sarah added.
He also encouraged the Church leaders in Africa to be vocal against national and international policies that are detrimental to the promotion of positive family values, urging them to identify with the truth and to safeguard the sanctity of the marriage institution and family.
The President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu, who welcomed the participants representing various Conferences of Catholic Bishops in Africa to Ghana emphasized that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, expressing the opposition to same sex marriage. The Consultative Meeting was organised by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) under theme: The Family in Africa: What Experiences and What Contributions to the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops?
SECAM President, Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Lubango, Angola, officially opened the meeting, assuring participants of the unity of purpose among the Church leaders in Africa on theme of the family.
“Africa will speak with one voice at the next Synod- with one voice we will present the challenges and successes of family life in Africa” Archbishop Mbilingi assured the participants at the meeting.
The First Vice-President of SECAM, Bishop Louis Portela Mbuyu who also chairs the Theological Committee of SECAM called for more initiatives in family life apostolate saying, “We have to do more in evangelising families and making families evangelisers.”
In their final message signed by SECAM President on Wednesday in which different sessions and input of the Consulative Meeting are detailed, the Church leaders in Africa acknowledged with appreciation the various input during the Consultative Meeting.
“These presentations have helped the Bishops of Africa, the future Fathers of the next October Synod, to better identify the challenges of marriage and family,” reads the English translation of the final communiqué, sent to CANAA in French.
According to the Press Release by SECAM Director of Communications, five Cardinals and 45 bishops took part in the Accra Consultative Meeting.
(By Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla, CANAA in Nairobi)
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