West African Bishops study 'Fratelli tutti' and how it applies to the region.
Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
Bishops of the West African sub-region say the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated how interconnected the human family really has become. The Bishops’ meeting started on 2 May and ended on 9 May 2022. Bishop Alexis Touably Youlo of the Diocese of Agboville in Cote d’Ivoire was elected new President of RECOWA.
We are called upon to give hope
“Our people are hungry, dehumanised and suffering; our youth exposed to life-threatening adventures on the high seas in their bid to discover greener pastures in overseas countries. We are called upon to give hope to these people,” reads a communique made available to Vatican News. The Bishops also add, “The past two years of the Covid 19 pandemic made us to recognise that at the end of the day, we are all one family. It opened our eyes to the fact that we cannot face our problems alone or in isolation. Therefore, we must guard against the culture of indifference and individualism. We must always come together in solidarity to work for our common good,”
We should eliminate all forms of tribalism
The West African Bishops spent time deliberating on the encyclical.
Fratelli Tutti is the third encyclical of Pope Francis, subtitled “on fraternity and social friendship”. The encyclical calls for more human fraternity and solidarity and is a plea to reject wars. The West African Bishops appreciated the document’s call for true fraternity that eliminates "all forms of tribalism and ethnocentrism that are eating deep into the fabrics of peace and love in our society.”
Fratelli Tutti was signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi.
We are the salt of the earth
“In our deliberations, it became evident that Fratelli Tutti can help us in our responsibility of engendering effective pastoral governance and greater social friendship in West Africa and in the entire world. We all, bishops, priests, consecrated persons and the lay faithful, are reminded that we are, as Jesus emphasised, the salt of the earth (Matt. 5, 13 ff). Given that many of our people are suffering, we are admonished to show greater Christian commitment to alleviate their sorrows and give them reason to continue living,” the Bishops emphasised.