Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Pope in Africa
The Pope in Africa
Pope Benedict XVI completed his 6 day visit to Africa. He spoke and held Mass in Cameron and Angola. THe was well received. In Cameroon he held Mass for 60,000 people, in Angola there were over one million faithful for Mass.
This is not surprising. Catholicism and Christianity in general is growing in Africa. In some places it is exploding.
That is part of the challenge. The other religion of growth in this continent is Islam. That made the Holy Father’s visit to Cameron especially important. There he met with Islamic leaders. Cameron is a country with active Catholic and Muslim citizenry and a history of dialogue.
Catholicism has a long history in the area, as long as the Portuguese colonizers who were also instrumental in the international slave trade. This is now an area where churches can not contain their membership, they are bulging with too many members (nice problem!). This is an area were there are not enough priests simply because the number of faithful continue to grow. This growth despite the history of European colonialism reflects that the power of love is stronger than the injustices of man.
To be sure the world paid more attention to the Pope’s comments that condoms do not aid in stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa. However, the people on the ground appeared to be more interested in hearing and being with their leader.
The Pope’s last message before heading home to the Vatican was not about condoms, it was a call for justice, peace-making and a rejection of materialism.
Africa is one of the new centers of our Catholic faith. That is appropriate since Africa has given so much to the early Church. I have posted many times about violence, voter fraud and tyranny. It is encouraging to post about the power of love, of the Spirit touching Mother Africa.
Pope Benedict XVI Exhorts Africa to Peace