Southern African Assembly Winds Down

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HARARE, Zimbabwe, AUG. 7, 2001 (ZENIT.org-Fides).- The Church´s task in southern Africa is to help the poor regain their self-confidence and dignity by providing knowledge and skills to enable them to climb out of the pit of poverty, a cardinal says.



Cardinal Wilfred Napier, archbishop of Durban, South Africa, made his assessment when he introduced the study session of the sixth Plenary Assembly of the Interregional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa. The assembly started July 30 and ends Wednesday.

IMBISA is a liaison and pastoral cooperation organization between the episcopal conferences of nine Southern African countries.

A message from Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo, said that the Catholic Church cannot solve all the conflicts and tensions in Africa, though it can contribute to solutions. The Church´s credibility depends on its ability to "speak on behalf of the voiceless," he said.

IMBISA is the only regional association of Catholic Bishops´ Conferences in Africa that is composed of two language groups: English and Portuguese. The association grew out of the bishops´ desire to discuss matters of common concern, particularly those arising from apartheid in South Africa.