West Must Not Impose Family Policies on Africa, Says Cardinal Arinze

Insists That Africa Needs Food, Not Weapons

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ROME, FEB. 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze says that Africa needs food, not weapons, but that there is a drive to solve the continent's problems by controlling the number of children it has.



"Europe must be careful not to impose demographic policies on African families, suggesting, for example, that they have not more than two children," he said.

Such an attitude would be unjust because it affects the cultural, religious and social dimension of the African conscience, said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

"The only key to resolving the problem of overpopulation is development," he stressed.

Cardinal Arinze is concerned about the existence of the latest weapons in countries that are extremely poor and lacking in food, and he wonders who sends them.

"Europe, and also North America, should question themselves on this point," he said. "A country is not helped by selling weapons to it. European countries should ask themselves some ethical questions and not just think of commercial interests."

Cardinal Arinze made these statements to SIR, the agency of the Italian bishops' conference, in view of the forthcoming meeting on "Africa and the European Union: Companions in Solidarity."

The meeting, organized by the Commission of the Episcopates of the European Community in cooperation with the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, will take place Feb. 27-28 in Lisbon, Portugal.