Vatican News
Group of women in the capital Asmara, Eritrea Group of women in the capital Asmara, Eritrea  (embargoed until 12th October)

Catholic Church institutions in Eritrea are at the service of all

The Church in Eritrea has reiterated that all its Catholic health institutions, recently taken over by the Government, were serving ordinary Eritreans regardless of ethnicity, religion or culture.

English Africa Service – Vatican City

Secretary-General at the Eritrean Catholic Secretariat, Abba Tesfaghiorghis Kiflom issued some clarification on the Church’s position following “misleading” statements levelled against the Church on the recent nationalisations.

“With reference to the nationalisation of the Catholic Church’s clinics by the Eritrean Government, in the last few weeks, we have recorded some comments and declarations, which are overtly untrue and misleading,” the General Secretary said in a statement made available to Vatican News.

The Church operates within the law of the land

All social services have been and continue to be carried out in compliance with the laws of the land, the Church asserts.

“The Church has pursued such goals (social activities) for two thousand years now and in every latitude of the globe. She does not need only Churches and chapels to celebrate her faith and to perform her worship. She needs places and structures as well, in order to give concreteness to that other dimension of her faith, which is love for neighbour,” said Abba Kiflom.

The Church is responding to the needs of Eritreans

The Church leadership further insists that all social activities are carried out as a response to the urgent needs of ordinary people and that its funding and activities were above board and transparent.

“The competent ministerial and government authorities themselves have always recognised whatever aid came into our hands, through a process of recognition, legal recording and related documentation under our own name,” the Secretary-General said.

Church has not engaged in any form of proselytism as a pre-condition

The Church refuted allegations that its social activities were serving only Catholics.

“The sheer number and the worldwide spread of Eritrean men and women educated and treated in our Catholic institutions irrespective of ethnicity, religion and culture, is incontrovertible evidence of the universality of our works,” the Church contends.

The Church denies that it has ever engaged in any form of proselytism through its social services and has issued a challenge to its accusers.

“If, from among the hundreds of thousands of men and woman who have attended our institutions, there is someone to whom conversion to the Catholic faith was requested as a pre-condition for access to our services, can he or she please raise his or her hand?" challenged the Church.

30 July 2019, 16:03