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Africa land of drama and hope

· The need to build a different future with the Church and for man ·

The traditio fidei is the principle duty of the Church, it is her mission and her vocation. Since the Synod of 1971 and especially that of 1974, it has become clear that it is not possible to proclaim the Gospel without strong ties to the social reality of Africa. For as much as the situation has improved in recent decades, it is worth recalling what Jean Marc Ela wrote with customary strength in the his famous text on the cry of the African man: “In Africa the task of the Gospel enters into a region where the power of money decided to make this territory of humanity a reserve of slaves and of a work force for a good market. For churches the issue posed by the situation is clear: everyday, in the name of the Gospel, history of effective liberation concerning the oppressed is written ”.

If we ask ourselves, what is the modality of the African faith? We can turn to African theology and its path in order to understand this modality. The starting point cannot but be the document Promouvoir l'évangélisation dans la corresponsabilité presented at the Synod of Bishops in 1974 by the African Episcopate in which the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar “ considèrent come tout à fait dépassé un certain théologie de l'adaptation en faveur d'une théologie de l'incarnation ”. Other than this prospective of inculturation, the Gospel choice of the African churches must take into account the theological conference of Dar-Es-Salaam (1976), which gathered theologians of the southern hemisphere, and the subsequent one of Accra (1977) limited to the African world. In these talks African theologians on one hand unanimously refused western theology, regarding it as unsuitable for their land and on the other hand calling for a contextual theology, a theology attentive to the cultural and  historical context in which the African people live. At times theologians of inculturation and of liberation are divided. While African theologians are in any case among those who remain  closest to the decisions of their bishops and to the path of their churches.

The fact that emerges forcefully from these simple instructions is the need for a theology attentive to the context in which the African churches work and live. I would like to just recall the theological setting of the Apostolic Exhortation Africae munus which develops the service of the African churches to reconciliation, justice and peace in two moments: the first part is that of Christ Kyrios who, like the Lord, is the event which makes everything new and that establishes the duty of the Church as service to her mission of reconciliation, justice and peace. The second part is that of the Spirit that gives everyone a special manifestation of its power in order to place it at the service of others.




St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 16, 2019