2016-03-03 11:56:00

West African Bishops call for the defense of the family.

The 150 Bishops’ gathering issued the challenge when they met recently at a regional plenary assembly held in Accra, Ghana from 22 to 29 February 2016.

Meeting under the umbrella of RECOWA the Bishops dedicated their final statement mostly to issues of family life.

RECOWA  is an amalgamation of CERAO and AECAWA which stand for Conference Episcopale Regionale de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CERAO) and the Anglophone Catholic Bishops Region in West Africa (AECAWA), respectively.  The two regional bodies merged to form one union (RECOWA) in 2007.

In their pastoral statement, the Bishops urge the faithful in West Africa to rise to the defense and protection of the family.

“When in the society, marriage, family and family life, that basic nucleus of humanity is not guaranteed its proper development in peace, that society is condemned to socio-political, cultural and moral instability. We are therefore very convinced that in the face of the current socio-cultural developments, the Church-Family of God must rise and defend the truth about marriage and family life as God the Creator has given it (see Gen. 1 & 2; Mt. 19:1-6, etc.). We defend the inalienable dignity and rights of all persons, as children of God, created in his image and likeness; we must safeguard the rights of all, especially the most vulnerable in society such as those conceived (the unborn), the aged and infirm throughout earthly life to natural death,” the Bishops’ final statement reads.

The Bishops further pledge to uphold and defend the institution of marriage.

“Marriage is a gift of God created for man and woman, nothing more and nothing less, and that all human life is sacred and must be respected, accompanied and supported, protected and defended from the womb to the tomb.   We stand up for the culture of life, and we are ready to defend it in the public spaces of our countries against the incipient culture of death being offered as development,” the West African Bishops assert.

Concerning the Church, the Bishops recommitted themselves to the model of Church as a family.

“Since the First Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops which took place in the Vatican City, from 10 April  to 08 May, 1994, we accepted with the blessing of Pope St. John Paul II to work hard to make our Church become truly Church: family of God (see Ecclesia in Africa 63). We are still committed to working hard to make this model of Church a reality in our countries and beyond,” the pastoral statement signed by the new president of the regional body, Archbishop Kaigama says.

(Email: engafrica@vatiradio.va)

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