Congolese hostage situation forces bishop to leave synod in Rome

.- A Congolese bishop participating in the Synod for Africa in Rome has had to return home after several of his priests were taken hostage in an attack on a church in his archdiocese.

Archbishop of Bukavu François Xavier Rusengo told the Synod he had to return to the war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo because last Friday uniformed men burnt down one of his parishes, attacked priests and took others hostage.

The archdiocese had to pay a huge ransom for the hostages’ release, the Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA) reports.

“Through these acts, it is the Church, remaining the only support for a terrorized, humiliated, exploited and dominated people who they would reduce to silence. Lord, may your will be done, may your kingdom of peace arrive,” Archbishop Rusengo said on Tuesday.

The synod issued a statement of solidarity with the archbishop and the Christians of Bukavu. The statement expressed hope that “reconciliation and the Good News of the Gospel” may be welcomed as the path to achieve conditions of human life founded on justice and reinforced by peace, “a gift from God.”

According to CISA, the synod also called on the Congolese government to do everything possible to restore a just order and to guarantee the peace necessary for a normal life.

The Second Special Assembly for Africa is taking place in Rome from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25. Over 200 bishops are attending the synod.

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