A few days ago the doctors and Catholic bishops of Kenya denounced the government and the United Nations, for having administered a tetanus vaccine with the hidden purpose of mass sterilisation. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. In Africa, many kinds of international pressures are used against life and the family.
At the extraordinary Synod last October, it was the African Clergy who exposed the pressures that poorer countries are subjected to in order to receive financial aid. The condition, as indicated by the Relatio Synodi at No. 56, concerns «the introduction of laws that establish marriage between persons of the same sex.»
«These pressures are the reality we live under" said Msgr. Nicolas Djomo, President of the Episcopal Conference of the Congo, to La Nuova Bussola. The bishop of Tshumbe was one of the synod fathers, and he immediately goes to the heart of the problem. «The UN agencies and the NGOs, many of which are European, are increasingly tying the beneficiary of their aid to the acceptance of the ideology of gender, with all the negative consequences this implies for the family.»
What do you intend to do about this issue?
We must continue to denounce this practice to the relevant authorities. We must inform our rulers, who are often not aware that certain linguistic formulations actually conceal these terms. Finally, through our pastoral care, we need to inform our people of the danger. We must also ask voters to check their representatives do not vote for laws which permit marriage between persons of the same sex. It is also urgent to integrate a thorough preparation regarding Gender ideology in the education of our future priests including the dangers it poses to our families and for society as a whole.
Were Africa's problems sufficiently taken into account at the Synod?
It's true that the problems concerning the question about allowing the divorced and remarried to receive communion under certain conditions, as the acceptance of homosexuals, dominated discussions at the Synod; and considering the pressure mounted by the media on these issues. But I did not have the impression that the synod fathers overlooked the pastoral problems of Africa.
Some Synod fathers seemed a bit too focused on the problems of the West ...
We still have more than a year ahead of us and this will give us time to present our problems more effectively. I know that all of the synod fathers are willing to consider each and everyone's problems according to specific regional or continental characteristics.
The debate at the Synod revolved around the relationship between doctrine and pastoral care. What do you think?
Pope Francis reiterated in several ways: it is not a matter of touching the doctrine. According to him it is to seek to deal with some difficult and complex problems in the same way that Christ would take care of them. Therefore, the problem is to combine the Truth with Mercy. I think the year ahead, guided by the Holy Spirit, by the end of the Synod next October, we will find proposals that in accordance with the doctrine, allow the men and women of our time to see the demanding and compassionate face of Christ.
What are the marriage and family problems in Congo and, more generally, in Africa?
The main problems are poverty and war. Poverty has destructive effects on families, members are forced to disperse to find a way to survive, with all the risks that entails. Children live on the streets; Girls turn to prostitution; parents are unable to educate their children properly and get schooling for them.
And what about war?
Also the situations of violence, of course, have destructive effects. These conflicts cause families to migrate and move to makeshift camps; children's schooling becomes very difficult, there is no possibility to earn an income. Then there is the drama of rape. This has become a weapon of war, destroys families and condemns women to social exclusion. And the children born of rape are condemned to an uncertain fate and at times to suffer social rejection. "
What can the Church do to try to solve these problems?
I believe that the Church in Congo should work to ensure that the country is governed in such a way to ensure lasting peace, build a strong economy, and thus allow its citizens to improve their living conditions. The best way to fight poverty is to protect the family.
What are the other priorities for the Synod in 2015?
Support for the many baptised young people who live together, but who do not prepare for the sacrament of marriage, then there are cases of divorced and remarried, but not on the scale of Europe and North America. Finally, we need to deal with the practice of widespread polygamy, even among the baptised.
(Translation by Patricia Gooding Williams)
Il cardinale Caffarra torna a parlare di famiglia: «Esistono ancora sposi che vivono il matrimonio radicati nel Principio. Sono il seme nascosto, che, dopo questi giorni tristi, faranno rifiorire quella che S. Giovanni Paolo Il Papa chiamava la civiltà della verità. Nello splendore del loro faticoso quotidiano, risplende la potenza dell'amore eterno di Dio e l'aurora di un nuovo assetto sociale, come fu il monastero benedettino».
-NOZZE E CONVIVENZA: PER I FIGLI NON SONO UGUALI di Marco Tosatti
Da allora Gesù cominciò a predicare e a dire: «Convertitevi, perché il regno dei cieli è vicino». (Mt 4, 12-23)
L’articolo di Angelo Busetto ("Marta e Maria, lavorare oppure no?") ha provocato una nostra lettrice che ci ha inviato le sue osservazioni. E scrive: Gesù a casa mia? A me viene in mente mio marito che torna a casa stanco dal lavoro: non è forse accogliere Gesù?». Ecco la sua lettera.