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SECAM: Church in Africa Echoes Pope’s Call in “Fratelli Tutti” to Intensify Continent’s Brotherly Unity
 2 days ago AMECEA Social Communications
Pope Francis and Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo
Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
Three days after Pope Francis released his third Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, addressing issues on fraternal and social friendship, the Church leaders in Africa and its surrounding islands under its continental body Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has reiterated the Pope’s call on the need to strengthen brotherly unity on the continent and close bridges of division.
“We join the Holy Father to earnestly plead for intensified efforts towards true brotherhood, solidarity, dialogue, mutual acceptance, trust and support, which are crucial values for our current world visibly divided along cultural, religious, social, political and ideological lines or principles,” the President of SECAM Philippe Nakellentuba Cardinal Ouédraogo said in a communique dated Tuesday, October 6.
Speaking on behalf of the Bishops in Africa of their appreciation of the Encyclical the Cardinal said, “The Church-Family of God in Africa and the surrounding islands joyfully welcomes the new Encyclical of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti (FT) on human fraternity and social friendship,” adding that “It is a call on human beings everywhere in the world for renewed commitment to universal brotherhood, friendship, solidarity and peaceful co-existence.”
The Cardinal who is the Local Ordinary of Ouagadougou Archdiocese, Burkina Faso, highlighted what Pope Francis had said earlier that, “Time has come; to break totally with personal interests and cultural barriers, fixed ideological beliefs, religious persecution and radicalized religion” so as to “end terrorism everywhere in the world, and to work assiduously for religious freedom.”
He cited Pope’s message concerning Covid-19 pandemic which erupted unexpectedly and “exposed our false securities” and which the document states that “despite the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident.”
“In view of the current Coronavirus pandemic, it is a fact that no one can face life in isolation; that we are a single human family and true brothers and sisters of the one Father, God, the call invites for swift response,” the statement reads in part and highlights that “Genuine brotherhood is an appropriate response to the challenges posed by Covid-19.”
As a continental Church, the leadership of the Catholic Church in Africa encourages efforts of having a unified Church and for the members to keep off from vices which deteriorate her growth.
“For us in Africa and Madagascar, the Encyclical reminds us of the need to intensify efforts towards building up the Church as Family, avoiding all ethnocentrism and excessive particularism,” the statement issued at SECAM’s secretariat in Ghana indicates adding, “We need to “encourage reconciliation and true communion between different ethnic groups, favouring solidarity and the sharing of personnel and resources among the particular Churches, without undue ethnic considerations.”
The leadership of the Catholic Church has called on all the peoples of Africa and the surrounding Islands, especially, Christians to “not only study the Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, diligently but also respond to it positively in family, cultural, religious, political, social and business circles.”