DRC: Second Kinshasa Symposium on the Family.
Donatien Nyembo SJ - Vatican City and J.B. Malenge, OMI – Kinshasa.
Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, was at the heart of the second Symposium on the Family held from 16 to 19 February 2022 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. The Symposium was organised by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) in partnership with the Catholic University of Congo and the Christian Family Community of the Charismatic Renewal.
Discernment and accompaniment of families
A Eucharistic celebration presided over by the President of the Episcopal Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity, Bishop Timothée Bodika of Kikwit, marked the opening of the meeting. During the opening session, Bishop Bodika expressed the hope that the Symposium would remember the twofold aims of the exhortation -‘discernment’ and ‘accompaniment,’ that is, “to promote the Christian ideal of marriage and to discover the need for discernment for concrete accompaniment”.
Studying the concrete problems of families
The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, hoped that the Symposium would really look at the concrete problems of families. The Nuncio pointed out, in particular, the question of dowry, which obliges many young people to live in irregularity. He said he found the situation most unusual in that marriage should be used as an opportunity to resolve the economic difficulties of parents. For Archbishop Balestrero, the Church, rightly called the “Family of God” in Africa, “must speak the truth to heal the crisis of the family in various aspects.”
The second Kinshasa Symposium on the Family has reflected on three major themes: The current situation of the Family in Congo, the Church’s teaching on family and pastoral orientations.