1. CIVIL SOCIETY (NON TRADING COMPANY) AND AFRICIAN SYNOD
“The Church in Africa in the service of the reconciliation, of the justice and of the peace”. Such was the theme of the second Synod of the bishops on Africa which was held in Rome from 4 till 25 October 2009. About 250 bishops, among whom about 200 African bishops participated in this synod chaired by pope Benoît XVI. It was thus dedicated to the problems of the African continent.
1. First phase
"Lineamenta" are proposed to the bishops.
"Lineamenta" are proposed to the bishops.
"Lineamenta" was presented on June 27th, 2006 by cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the congregation for the divine Cult and the Discipline of sacraments, and by Mgr. Nikola Eterovic, General Secretary of the synod.
But what are “Lineamenta?
It is a document of preparation, drafted with the aim of the writing(editorial staff) of the Tool of the fathers of the synod. It aims at deepening fathoming and at clarifying the theme of the Synod. Here: " the Church in Africa in the service of the reconciliation, of the justice and of the peace "
This document proposed to the bishops, on this theme, 32 questions whom they were invited to answer before November, 2008.
About the civil society(non-trading company), we read in n°7 Lineamentas:
Since the first African synod ( 1994 ), the situation of the continent evolved …
“From a social vantage point, the following new developments can also be noted: the advent of peace in some African countries; the burning desire for peace throughout the continent, especially in the Great Lakes region; growing opposition to corruption; a deep consciousness of the need to promote African women and the dignity of every human person; the involvement of the laity in "civil life" for the promotion and defence of "human rights"; and the ever-growing number of African politicians who are aware and determined to find African solutions to African problems.”
And at the end of the document, in the questionnaire, let us find the questions 21 and 22:
" The commitment of the laymen in the " civil society" for the promotion and the defense of " Human Rights ",
21. How can your Church help in making school and healthcare systems more efficient?
22. What can your Church do to improve the situation of human rights and promote democracy?
We read at the number 22 :
22. In recent years, some hopeful signs of a growing civic consciousness have appeared in the socio-political sphere. Activity towards a more civic society is increasingly seen in the struggle for human rights. In this regard, some men and women politicians are in earnest pursuit of a renaissance on the continent. Here and there, movements seeking an intra-African resolution to conflicts attest that some politicians in Africa are keenly aware of their responsibility to educate their people politically and to guide their nations towards a life of peace and prosperity.
« … Par l’éducation à tous les niveaux, l’Église devient encore plus active dans la promotion du dialogue, de la paix et de la justice dans la société africaine renouvelée, qui avec dynamisme avance vers le développement intégral de l’homme africain, acquérant ainsi la digne place qui lui revient au sein de la communauté internationale ».
Avant propos des Lineamenta (2006)
A Libreville, les religieuses ouvrent les enfants à l’international, dès les premières classes.
3. The third phase : Propositions
On October 24th, 2009, Vatican publishes a bulletin.
This Bulletin is only a tool with journalistic usage.
The translations have no official nature.
FINAL LIST OF THE PROPOSITIONS
By benevolent decision of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has been authorized to publish the unofficial version of the Propositions of the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops on the theme The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. “You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:13,14).
The unofficial and off-the-record English version is published below.
Let us read the propostion n°25:
The Synod Fathers welcome positive developments in the political and socio-economic sphere in those African countries which are governed according to their constitution and where human rights, justice and peace are upheld. The Synod Fathers value the increasing maturity of civil society which, in certain countries, is gradually taking shape and influencing decisions about the Nation’s future. They compliment and encourage those politicians who are clearly devoted to the service of their people.
All this can seem a little bit short, but let us retain that throughout the process, since the beginning, June 27th, 2006, until the final propositions, the civil society was not absent: recognized, it is even considered as a positive development.
To end, let us quote another passage of the speech of the pope in Luanda (Angola), on March 20th, 2009. It was after having put back, on March 19th, Instrumentum laboris to the episcopal conferences, in Yaounde. In the presidential palace, Benoit XVI addresses the political and civil authorities as well as the diplomatic corps. He says to them, among others:
Social and economic development in Africa bring into partnership national leadership together with regional initiatives and international resolve. Such partnerships require that African nations be seen not simply as the receivers of others’ plans and solutions. African men and women themselves, working together for the good of their communities, should be the primary agents of their own development. In this regard, there are a growing number of effective initiatives which merit support. Among them are: the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Pact on Security, Stability, and Development in the Great Lakes Region, together with the “Kimberley Process”, the “Publish What You Pay Coalition” and the “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative”. Their common goal is to promote transparency, honest business practice and good governance. In regard to the international community as a whole, of pressing importance are co-ordinated efforts to address the issue of climate change, the full and fair implementation of the development commitments of the Doha round and likewise the implementation of the oft-repeated promise by developed countries to commit 0.7% of their Gross National Product for official development assistance. This undertaking is all the more necessary in view of the world’s current financial turmoil, and must not become one of its casualties.
« The Publish What You Pay Coalition and the'Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative » : even the Pope goes on !
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