The Catholic Church Speaks to Africa

The Catholic Church Speaks to Africa

The Pope is getting in on the international politics of Africa. In essence, he called on all African leaders who grew up Catholic and were Catholic educated to stop being corrupt and start governing like good Catholics or give up their positions. In essence: Repent or Retire.

"Many Catholics in high office have fallen woefully short in their performance in office. The synod calls on such people to repent, or quit the public arena and stop causing havoc to the people and giving the Catholic Church a bad name,” said a message from the synod.

This makes me think about the separation of Church and State in the U.S. Sure, the Republican Party is heavily influenced by Evangelical Christians who make up a good portion of the party’s voting base, but this kind of message from the Pope is not happening in the U.S. It may be that other church organizations don’t have the kind of singular leadership that the Catholic Church has, or it may be that evangelicals and protestants are more focused on member acquisition and forgiveness than on calling out world leaders, but it seems to me that the separation of church and state, while often challenged, has held up pretty well over the years in the U.S.

Maybe this kind of thing is what folks were afraid of when JFK was running for president- they didn’t want him getting scolded across the Atlantic and told to shape up by the Pope- which he certainly did not!  

Other issues the Pope addressed were AIDS and the evils perpetrated on African civilians by multi-national companies looking to turn a profit. Now these I can get behind.

Multi-nationals in Africa, according to the Catholic Church, are creating chaos to try and make a short-term financial gain- sound familiar?

"Multinationals have to stop their criminal devastation of the environment in their greedy exploitation of natural resources. It is short-sighted policy to foment wars in order to make fast gains from chaos, at the cost of human lives and blood. Is there no-one out there able and willing to stop all these crimes against humanity?" said the bishops.

Is there no one out there…? A poignant question. We are about to watch the leaders of the world go to Copenhagen without any real plan in place to get to work on the climate change issues around the world. The projects around the world that call on our leaders to DO SOMETHING give a voice to the same sentiment that the catholic bishops have: Aren’t you all going to do something about this?
But even more to the point, they are asking if there is anyone out there willing to stop crimes against humanity. Whether you are Catholic or not, that’s a deep question. It brings into question the basics of what it means to be alive and human- is it to come out on top or is it to be our brother’s (or during this time of environmental catastrophe, our own) keeper?
A sobering thought.

Photo Credit under CCL: Sam_Herd