• African Catholic Bishops, Archbishops affirm opposition to coups

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    African Catholic Bishops, Archbishops affirm opposition to coups

    Catholic Bishops

    Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun

    By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko

    Catholic Bishops and Archbishops in Africa under the aegis of the Symposium Of Episcopal Conference Of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) have affirmed their opposition to the current spate of takeover of governments by the military in African countries.

    SECAM expressed its opposition to coups in a statement issued and signed on Friday by its President and Archbishop of Kinshasa, DR Congo, Most Rev. Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo.

    The Association of Bishops and Archbishops in Africa said it was against coup d’etat because the Catholic Church’s teachings reject the seizure of power through forceful means.

    Ambongo affirmed the Church’s support for democracy as “a system that facilitates citizen participation in political decision-making and ensures that the governed select, oversee, and, when necessary, peacefully replace their leaders.”

    SECAM added that while democracy is not flawless, it is preferable compared to other forms of governance.

    “This preference is rooted in its fundamental commitment to upholding and defending human rights.

    The Conference however said it recognised the desire of people in some of the countries that have witnessed coups in recent times for improved standard of living and their open endorsements of the interim governments.

    “However, certain situations, like those in the Sahel and Central Africa, call for discernment. The Church remains deeply concerned about the well-being of the people in these regions, particularly those who have shown support for the interim governments formed in the wake of recent coups d’état.

    “We recognize the legitimate desires of these populations for improved living conditions and governance,” he said.

    He emphasised that Africa was currently grappling with numerous challenges, and the Church actively engaged and stands in solidarity with the people of Africa.

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    According to him, the church is steadfastly enhancing its social and charitable endeavours to assist those who are vulnerable and support families facing precarious circumstances.

    Ambongo said SECAM expressed solidarity with bishops who are diligently working towards finding lasting solutions for peace in the Great Lakes region and Sudan.

    He added that their commitment is a testament to the church’s collective effort in fostering stability and harmony in these areas.

    “Africa is at a crossroads, and we are called to establish a culture of “fraternity,” in line with Pope Francis’ repeated exhortations to build bridges of brotherhood.

    “Such efforts are essential for infusing new vitality and spirit into our continent.

    “By embracing and fostering this sense of fraternity, we can pave the way for a more unified and thriving Africa,” he said.

    The Archbishop of Kinshasa also urged African governments at all levels to do their best to secure employment for the struggling youths and reduce poverty which had continued to be a pervasive challenge in many countries.

    He said SECAM sympathised and prayed for the victims of inter-state conflicts and wars, especially children, who lost their lives in the process.

    The Episcopal Conference however thanked God immensely for the successes it had recorded so far in achieving its mandates.

    The association, created in 1969 in Kampala, Uganda, during the visit of Pope Paul VI, was born out of the desire of African Catholic bishops to speak with one voice on matters about the church in Africa.


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