Vatican Aide: Church Is Both "For" and "With" Africa

Father Lombardi Reflects at Conclusion of Special Assembly

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- As the Africa synod comes to a close, a Vatican spokesman affirms that the Church is not only at work "for" the continent, but also committed to walk "with" it.



Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reflected in his editorial for "Octava Dies," a weekly Vatican Television program, on the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded today in the Vatican.

"With the message of the series of proposals approved by the synodal fathers we have in hand some provisional conclusions, as we await the Pope's final document in the following months," Father Lombardi said. "The journey of the Church in Africa enters a new stage."

"The Synod did not wish to discuss all of Africa's problems, even if they discussed many," he continued. "It concentrated on its central theme: the Church at the service of reconciliation, justice and peace."

The spokesman observed that "through the [synodal] fathers' interventions there came to light many beautiful positive experiences, often nourished by typical African wisdom, that need to be re-proposed and made known, as a support for hope."

He continued: "In our opinion this is now an urgent necessity: to move from great words and concepts to the concrete experiences of life, to the stories to be told and the songs to be sung, because the joy of reconciliation, the thirst for justice and the festival of peace become sentiments of daily life on the whole continent."

"And the then there must be the solidarity of the universal Church," Father Lombardi added.

The spokesman noted that Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, told us that "a journey in solidarity with Africa, will happen with the valorization not so much of Africa's material resources, its 'prime matter,' but with its 'grey matter,' the brain, that is, the mind and heart of its inhabitants."

"Beyond the synod," he concluded, "we must commit ourselves to walking not only 'for' Africa, but above all 'with' Africa."