Loading
Pope to Congolese Bishops: Have hope despite unrest, strengthen Christian communities
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- As Pope Benedict XVI welcomed Bishops from the Democratic Republic of Congo today, he told them that despite widespread violence in that country, the continued spread of evangelization and strengthening of Christian communities are the key to liberation and true freedom.

He particularly challenged the bishops to build up the priests and religious under their charge and strengthen lay Christian communities.

The prelates, all part of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are in Rome for their regular "ad limina" visits.

The Holy Father began by pointing out that bloody conflicts which have spread throughout Congo over recent years have "deep scars left in people's memory." He likewise praised the Congolese bishops for calling on local leaders "to demonstrate their responsibility and courage, so that people may live in peace and security," and encouraged them to "accompany the progress currently being made."

During the address, he frequently visited the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa," which celebrated its tenth birthday in 2005.

"In calling that synodal assembly," Benedict said, "John Paul II wished to promote an organic form of pastoral solidarity for the African continent, so that the Church can bring a credible message of faith, hope and charity to all men and women of good will, and give a new missionary impulse to particular Churches."

He also pointed out that some Congolese dioceses are celebrating 100 years of evangelization, marking what he called an apt occasion "to renew the apostolic enthusiasm of pastors and faithful," and for "moral, spiritual and material reconstruction to unite communities into one family, a sign of fraternity for your contemporaries."

Strong Communities

Continuing his address, Pope Benedict told the bishops: "You have highlighted the need to work for a profound evangelization of the faithful.”

He said that “The living and vibrant ecclesiastical communities in all your dioceses well reflect this 'hands-on' evangelization which makes the faithful ever more mature in their faith, in a spirit of evangelical fraternity that brings them to reflect together on the various aspects of ecclesiastical life.”

“These communities”, he pointed out “also constitute a valuable bulwark against the onslaught of sects, which exploit the credulity of the faithful and lead them astray by proposing a false vision of salvation and of the Gospel, and loose morals."

The Pope went on to encourage "the permanent formation of the leaders of these communities, especially of catechists," and the importance that such groups "not only welcome the Gospel of Christ, but that they bear witness to Him before human beings.”

“In these times that are so important for the life of your country,” he said, “the lay faithful must be reminded of the urgent need to begin the renewal of the temporal world, calling them to 'bring to bear upon the social fabric an influence aimed at changing not only ways of thinking but also the very structures of society, so that they will better reflect God's plan for the human family'."

The Pope also expressed his gratitude for the priests and the male and female religious who work throughout the African continent.

"I am aware," he said, "of the difficult conditions in which many of them exercise their mission," and gave thanks for their "frequently heroic service."

Likewise, he called on the bishops to maintain "the excellence of the moral and spiritual life of priests, particularly reminding them of the unique bond that ties the priest to Christ, of which priestly celibacy, lived in perfect chastity, is an expression of profundity and vitality."

Benedict also told the group; "continue to develop the bonds of communion with your diocesan presbyterium," bearing in mind the fact that in the country "long-term conflicts have sometimes had negative repercussions on the unity of the presbyterium, favoring tribalism and power struggles, bringing fateful consequences for the construction of the Body of Christ and confusion to the faithful."

"I exhort you all”, he continued, “to rediscover the deep-rooted fraternity that is particular to priests." He also challenged the bishops to encourage their priests "to exercise fraternal charity, particularly by offering them certain forms of communal life, in order to help them grow in sanctity and in faithfulness to their vocation and mission, and in full communion with you bishops."

Pope Benedict concluded his time with the prelates by inviting them “to hope.”

“For more than a century”, he said, “the Good News has been announced in your land. ... May your communities, supported by the witnesses to the faith in your country - especially Blesseds Marie-Clementine Anuarite Nengapeta and Isidore Bakanja - be prophetic signs of a humanity renewed in Christ, a humanity liberated from rancor and fear!"

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
19

Liturgical Calendar

December 19, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14