Vatican City, Jun 9, 2005 / 22:00 pm
Speaking to a group of bishops from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho concluding their "ad limina" visit, Pope Benedict reaffirmed Church teachings on priestly celibacy, as well as abstinence and fidelity to prevent AIDS.
Speaking in English, the Pope noted how Catholics represent a minority in Africa, and that, for this reason "it is essential that the bishops promote the crucial work of catechesis in order to ensure that God's people are truly prepared to witness by word and deed to the authentic teaching of the Gospel."
Benedict XVI gave thanks to God for "the many priests, religious and lay men and women who have given their lives to" the "noble task" of evangelization in Africa over the course of last century.
The Pope went on: "Even though your region still needs more priests, one cannot help but thank God for the large number of vocations to the priesthood you are currently witnessing in Sub-Saharan Africa."