VATICAN CITY, DEC 24, 1996 (VIS) - Made public yesterday afternoon was a message dated December 21 from the bishops of the Great Lakes region of Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire, Uganda and Tanzania), who met in Nairobi, Kenya, December 18-21, under the presidency of Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The bishops list the "four major themes which emerged: 1. the Gospel in the face of ethnocentric ideology; 2. the reconciling mission of the Church; 3. the Church, voice of the suffering; 4. solidarity among Churches."

"Ethnic diversity constitutes the riches of a country. But ethnics becomes the worst of threats when private or political interests transform it into an ideology and an instrument of conquest and exercise of power," state the bishops. "Ethnocentric ideology is contrary to the Gospel. That is why we are determined to redouble our efforts to build a Church-Family of God, characterized by human coexistence and where all His children are recognized and respected in their equal dignity."

"The Church," they continue, "urgently needs artisans of reconciliation. ... We know that reconciliation is a long and difficult process. But we firmly believe that it is God who reconciles us, provided that, through prayer and a change of heart, we are disposed to receive the gift of peace."

The African bishops then list those suffering peoples for whom the Church must be a voice: the victims of injustice and violence, the handicapped, those who cannot bury their dead, orphans and widows, minors embroiled in conflicts, prisoners suffering inhuman conditions, displaced families, persons deprived of their land, homes or goods.

In conclusion they write: "At the end of our meeting, we call on our States and the international community, asking them to make the choice for 'A new century without refugees'."

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:47