Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Reasons for the Pope’s Special Attention to Africa

23.09.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
Pope Francis in his sermons pays particular attention to the problems of poverty and the environment. In recent years, this has become a characteristic feature of Catholic Rome throughout the world, and has caused a lot of criticism from conservative Catholics. However, the frequent visits of the Pope and the overall close attention of Rome to the problems of Africa are due not only to this. In connection with the fast-growing population of the continent, it is in the strategic interests of Rome to increase its presence in Africa.

Pope African Tour

The new tour (September 4-10) was the fourth visit of Pope Francis to Africa since 2013, when he was led by the Roman Catholic Church. In previous times, he visited Kenya, the Central African Republic, Uganda, Egypt and Morocco. This time, the Pope visited Mozambique, Madagascar and the island republic of Mauritius. Moreover, Mozambique and Madagascar are among the most problematic and poor countries in the world.

During his tour, Pope Francis showed integrity and adherence to pressing issues – social and political, referring to the Catholic doctrine. At all points of his trip, Pope Francis met with bishops and numerous parishioners

Mozambique and Mauritius

Thousands of believers met Pope Francis in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. This was the first point of the visit on the Pope’s tour. Hope, peace and reconciliation were the main themes of the trip, which took place just a few weeks after the signing of a peace agreement between the head of Mozambique and the opposition National Resistance Party (RENAMO). The agreement was designed to end the long-standing armed confrontation in the country.

In Mozambique, where the aftermath of the civil war from 1977 to 1992 still boils down to periodic violence, Pope Francis told believers what exactly Jesus meant when he said that he loved his enemies and prayed for his persecutors. “Jesus is not an idealist, one who ignores reality. He talks about specific enemies, real enemies, “said Pope on September 6 during a mass at Maputo Stadium.

“Today, Mozambique is identified with a long peace process, which had its ups and downs, but in the end they managed to complete it with a historic embrace. I hope this continues, and I pray for it, “said Pope.

Following the meeting, Pope Francis condemned the country’s political and business leaders for corruption, which led this resource-rich country to poverty. He called it “paradoxical,” because Mozambique is rich in arable land and minerals, but half of its population lives in poverty. Later, the Pope added that rich countries suppress the developing world through debt. This raises the question of aid debate: does aid have a positive effect on developing countries.

In Mauritius, which is a showcase of success in Africa, the pope told the government and civic leaders that sustained economic growth is “a matter of joy, but also wariness,” to be sure that it benefits the entire people of the country.

“Promote people-centered economic policies,” he said, in particular, working to achieve “better revenue sharing, job creation and integrated promotion of the poor.”

Madagascar

Pope Francis criticized “certain practices that lead to a culture of privilege and exclusion,” criticizing all those who believe that “kinship becomes the decisive and determining key to everything that is right and good.”

Before a huge number of believers (about 1 million), the Pope emphasized that wealth does not allow approaching God. And he condemned the “race for accumulation”, which becomes “suffocating and overwhelming”, “exacerbating selfishness and the use of immoral means.”

Pope Francis on Saturday warned of “excessive deforestation” in Madagascar. Before the Malagasy political, civil and religious authorities, the Pope recommended “creating jobs and generating income by taking care of the environment and helping people avoid poverty”. We must not “manipulate the gospel,” but “build a history of fraternity and solidarity with free respect for the earth and its gifts against all forms of exploitation,” he said.

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, which researchers say has lost about 44% of its forest over the past 60 years, facilitated by illegal exports of rosewood and ebony.

Africa – the future of Christianity

“Africa is a young continent that has a young life compared to Europe,” said Pope, referring to African youth. “Young people suffer the most,” he said. “They suffer from unemployment, which not only creates uncertainty about the future, but also prevents them from believing that they play an important role in your overall story.”

The huge crowds of believers who met the Pope during his tour confirm the fact that the demographic center of the Catholic Church is shifting to Africa. Africa is the future of the Catholic Church. From 1980 to 2012, the number of Catholics in the world increased by 57% – up to 1.2 billion people. At the same time, in Europe this indicator is fixed at 6%, and in Africa – by 283%.

Research suggests that the Catholic population of Africa is growing faster than on any other continent. This is a very important moment against the background of the fact that Western Europe, considered the stronghold of the Christian faith, has become secular in recent years. According to experts, in 2060, four out of ten Christians in the world will live in the region of tropical Africa.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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