“The most valid traditional values of African culture are threatened today by secularization,” unleashing confusion and tension, which are seen in new waves of “tribalism, violence, corruption in public life, the humiliation and exploitation of women and children, and the growth of poverty and hunger,” the pope said.
In a written message to the 300 delegates to the Pan-African Congress of Lay Catholics, meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon, Sept. 4-9, Pope Benedict said lay Catholics have a responsibility to deepen their faith and allow the positive values of African culture and Christian teaching to inform their work in society.
“If we look at the heart of the African people, we discover a great richness of spiritual resources that are precious for our age,” including the love for life and for the family, a spirit of joy and sharing, and enthusiasm for faith.
The gift of Christian faith and the obligation to share it with others form a “virtuous cycle” in which individuals are changed and bring change to society, he wrote.
“In the work of transforming society, which is so urgent for Africa today, the lay faithful have an irreplaceable role,” the pope said. [more]