- Jan 28, 2020
Catholic bishops in Congo have instructed clergy to toll their church bells each week until fresh elections are held.
Efforts by the Catholic Church – the most respected institution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – to broker a peace deal have floundered on the altar of mistrust and suspicion. With a proposed agreement disintegrating, the bishops are concerned that the DRC could descend into an all-out war.
Judging solely by prepared texts and news reports, one might think a March 22-25 summit in Rome of African Catholic leaders is a grim affair devoted to serious business. That’s true in part, but it misses the lively sense of humor that’s percolated throughout the event.
Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo of the Democratic Republic of Congo says that in many African societies, the Catholic Church historically has served as a substitute for the state, especially when those states have failed, explaining why Catholic prelates on the continent play such a directly political role in African affairs.
At the African theology summit in Rome, Catholic Church leaders from the African continent weighed in on the efforts made by NGO’s and Western governments to enact population control measures. Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo warns against the dangers, and Beninese Archbishop Berthelemy Adoukonou raises concerns of a “new colonization.”
On day one of a March 22-25 summit of African Catholic leaders in Rome, there was a strong sense that after a period of explosive growth for the Church on the continent, there’s a need to reflect and take stock across the board, in areas ranging from theology and liturgy to the role of women and politics.