African bishops push back —say no to the “new colonialization” on marriage…
(CUSA) – While everyone is focused on the environmental implication of the pope’s new encyclical, the cardinals and bishops of Africa are fighting the good fight for marriage and family. —Ed.
(ROME) – Five cardinals and forty-five bishops from as many African countries met in Accra, the capital of Ghana, from June 8-11. All in the clear light of day, not almost in secret like some of their colleagues from Germany, France, and Switzerland, who met at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
At the Gregorian the objective was changing the Church’s stance on divorce and homosexuality. In Accra the push was in the other direction.
The marching route was indicated from the first remarks of Guinean cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation for divine worship:
– not to be afraid of reiterating the teaching of Christ on marriage;
– to speak at the synod with clarity and with just one voice, in filial love of the Church.
– to protect the family from all the ideologies that want to destroy it, and therefore also from the national and international policies that impede the promotion of positive values.
On this route there has been complete consensus. Even the only bishop of black Africa who had spoken out in favor of “openness” to divorce, Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, was found to be in agreement in the defense of Catholic doctrine on the family.
The other African cardinals were Christian Tumi of Cameroon, John Njue of Kenya, Polycarp Pengo of Tanzania, and Berhaneyesus D. Souraphiel of Ethiopia.
Organized by the symposium of episcopal conferences of Africa and Madagascar, the title of the meeting was “The family in Africa. What experiences and what contributions for the 14th ordinary assembly of the synod of bishops?”
One of the discussions, “The expectations of the synod,” was read by the theologian and anthropologist Edouard Ade, secretary general of the Catholic University of Western Africa. It focused on “the strategy of the Enemy of the human race.”
Given that the maximum objectives of the blessing of second marriages and of homosexual couples appear to be out of reach, this “strategy” would consist of opening loopholes that could be expanded later, naturally while affirming in words that there is no intention to change anything about doctrine.
These loopholes would be the “particular cases” illustrated by the innovators, knowing very well that they would by no means remain isolated cases.
Another stratagem would be that of presenting the changes as a solution “of balance” between the impatience of those who would like divorce and homosexual marriage right away and the rigorism devoid of mercy of the discipline of the Catholic Church on marriage.
Another loophole would be that of giving communion to the divorced and remarried and to all couples outside of marriage, without even waiting for any decision on this matter on the part of the synod and the pope.
Professor Ade warned against the “Trojan horses” adopted by the innovators, like that of attributing a positive value to all relationships of life in common outside of marriage, or that of considering indissolubility as an “ideal” that cannot always be attained by everyone, or yet again of the use of new language that ends up changing the reality.
Traces of his talk are found in the final statement, where it says that “we must begin from the faith, reaffirm it and live it for the sake of evangelizing cultures in depth,” taking care not to adopt or legitimize “the language of the movements that are fighting for the destruction of the family.”
In an interview in the magazine “Famille Chrétienne,” Cardinal Sarah said among other things:
At the synod next October we will address, I hope, the question of marriage in an entirely positive manner, seeking to promote the family and the values that it bears. The African bishops will act to support that which God asks of man concerning the family, and to receive that which the Church has always taught.
Why should we think that only the Western vision of man, of the world, of society is good, just, universal? The Church must fight to say no to this new colonization.
The meeting in Accra is proof that the coalition of African bishops will be a real player at the synod. As never before.
Sandro Magister is the editor of Chiesa News. Reprinted with permission.