Paul Samasumo – Vatican City
“The Church-Family of God in Africa and the surrounding islands joyfully welcomes the new encyclical of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti (FT) on human fraternity and social friendship, published on 4 October 2020, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. It is a call on human beings everywhere in the world for a renewed commitment to universal brotherhood, friendship, solidarity and peaceful co-existence,” said Cardinal Ouédraogo, this week.
The world is a single human family
The Cardinal said the encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, demonstrates beyond doubt that the current coronavirus pandemic is a reminder that “no one can face life in isolation” and that the world is actually “a single human family.”
“Already in his second encyclical, Laudato sì, the Holy Father, Pope Francis had demonstrated our interconnectedness to embrace the Earth, our Mother and Sister,” recalled the Cardinal. He added, “St. John Paul II had earlier said: It is in building the communion of love that the Church appears as a sacrament; as the sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of the human race,” the Cardinal said.
Our divided world needs all efforts that bring us together
“We join the Holy Father to earnestly plead for intensified efforts towards true brotherhood, solidarity, dialogue, mutual acceptance, trust and support, which are crucial values for our current world visibly divided along cultural, religious, social, political and ideological lines or principles. Genuine brotherhood is an appropriate response to the challenges posed by Covid-19,” emphasised the SECAM President.
Cardinal Ouédraogo further reiterated Pope Francis’ message that, “time has come to break totally with personal interests and cultural barriers, fixed ideological beliefs, religious persecution and radicalised religion; to end terrorism everywhere in the world, and to work assiduously for religious freedom.”
An African Church that is genuinely a family
“For us in Africa and Madagascar, the Encyclical further reminds us of the need to intensify efforts towards building up the Church as Family, avoiding all ethnocentrism and excessive particularism, trying instead to encourage reconciliation and true communion between different ethnic groups, favouring solidarity and the sharing of personnel and resources among the particular Churches, without undue ethnic considerations,” said the Cardinal.
Africa will respond positively to Fratelli Tutti
In Africa and surrounding Islands, the spirit of Fratelli Tutti will be concretised, said the Cardinal, not merely by words, but by selfless deeds and noble conduct on the part of all human beings. This, he said, demands responsible leadership, within and outside the Church. Such leadership is one that serves the common good and places the dignity and welfare of every human being at the centre, said Cardinal Ouédraogo.
The Cardinal continued: “We call on all the peoples of Africa and the surrounding Islands, especially, Christians, not only to study the encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, diligently but also respond to it positively in family, cultural, religious, political, social and business circles,” he said.
SECAM stands for Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar. It is an association of all Catholic Bishops in Africa. SECAM’s secretariat is in Accra, Ghana.