- Inés San Martín
Why do tragedies in America and Europe get coverage, but even bigger tragedies other places aren’t even mentioned? The people of Africa and other non-western countries want the international media to cover their news, both good and bad. If consumers gave strong signs of interest and clamor for these stories, producers would provide them.
Despite heading a diocese in a region of northern Nigeria known as a Boko Haram stronghold, Bishop Matthew Kukah insists that there is no real Muslim/Christian divide in his country, and that clashes perceived as religious are generally a ‘cover’ for the government’s failure to foster a genuine democracy in the country.
Arguably the most important African in the Vatican today, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human development, says Trump is caught in a conflict of values on immigration — does pursuing an ‘insular’ version of American security, he asks, really contribute to making the world safer?
A March 22-25 summit of African Catholic leaders in Rome was far too complex to summarize, but perhaps the best stab at a big-picture take-away is that it marked the launch of ‘African Catholicism 2.0’: More universally oriented, more honest about itself, and more balanced in its judgment of the ‘other.’
Though a March 22-25 Rome summit on the African church featured four cardinals and several bishops, it was a lay woman from Nigeria who rang the loudest warning bell, charging the powers that be with not getting complacent and allowing the faithful to get “lost in the crowd” among ever-expanding numbers.
What can the African Church teach the world about racism and ethnocentrism? Few places have struggled with foreign racial bias, as well as endemic ethnic divides, as much as the African continent. But Church leaders from African countries are calling for unity, resilience and, of course, a sense of humor.