The African social question: A challenge to the African church in light of the two synods on Africa



African synod, Catholic Church, African bishops, Human values


The First Synod of Catholic Bishops on Africa took place in April 1994 in the wake of the Rwandan genocide. That horrendous fratricide has left a dark spot in the history of Catholicism in Africa where “the blood of tribalism is thicker than the water of baptism”. The Second Synod on Africa, held in October 2009, had as its theme: “The Church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice and peace”. Pope Benedict XVI issued a post-synodal exhortation, entitled Africae Munus. In one article, the pope writes: “Reconciliation is a way of life and mission of the Church” (Africae Munus no. 34). This article is set against that background to examine the mission and the role which the Catholic Church can play in Africa with regard to the African social question that encompasses all other perennial issues on the continent. Those other issues include ethnicity, religious and cultural hatred, as well as incessant conflicts that lead to the loss of lives and
retardation in development.


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