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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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This morning, I invite you once again to rejoice with me. One hundred and fifty years ago the cross of Christ was raised in your country, and the Gospel was proclaimed for the first time. Today, we give thanks to God for the work accomplished by the missionaries, by the "apostolic workers" who first came from among you or from distant lands, bishops, priests, men and women religious, catechists, all those who, both yesterday and today, enabled the growth of the faith in Jesus Christ on the African continent. I honour here the memory of the venerable Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, an example of faith and of wisdom for Benin and for the entire African continent.
Dear brothers and sisters, everyone who has received this marvellous gift of faith, this gift of an encounter with the risen Lord, feels in turn the need to proclaim it to others. The Church exists to proclaim this Good News! And this duty is always urgent! After 150 years, many are those who have not heard the message of salvation in Christ! Many, too, are those who are hesitant to open their hearts to the word of God! Many are those whose faith is weak, whose way of thinking, habits and lifestyle do not know the reality of the Gospel, and who think that seeking selfish satisfaction, easy gain or power is the ultimate goal of human life. With enthusiasm, be ardent witnesses of the faith which you have received! Make the loving face of the Saviour shine in every place, in particular before the young, who search for reasons to live and hope in a difficult world!
The Church in Benin has received much from her missionaries: she must in turn carry this message of hope to people who do not know or who no longer know the Lord Jesus.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * International News & Commentary Africa Benin * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI * Theology Christology
The Church can not keep this Word of God to herself; hers is the vocation to announce it to the world. This Jubilee Year should be a privileged occasion for the Church in Benin to give renewed vigour to her missionary consciousness. Apostolic zeal, which should animate all the faithful, is a direct result of their baptism, and they cannot shirk their responsibility to profess their faith in Christ and his Gospel wherever they find themselves, and in their daily lives. Bishops and priests, for their part, are called to revive this awareness within families, in parishes, in communities and in the different ecclesial movements. I would like once more to highlight the admirable and essential role played by catechists in the missionary activities of your dioceses. On the other hand, as I emphasized in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, “In no way can the Church restrict her pastoral work to the ‘ordinary maintenance’ of those who already know the Gospel of Christ. Missionary outreach is a clear sign of the maturity of an ecclesial community” (No. 95). The Church, therefore, must reach out to everyone. I encourage you to persevere in your efforts to share missionary personnel with those dioceses experiencing a shortage, whether in your own country, in other African nations or in distant continents. Do not be afraid to call forth missionary vocations among the priests, religious and the laity!
So that the world may believe this Word which the Church proclaims, it is indispensible that Christ’s disciples be united among themselves (cf. Jn 17: 21). As leaders and pastors of your people, you are called to have a lively consciousness of the sacramental fraternity which unites you, and of the unique mission which has been entrusted to you, so that you may be effective signs and promoters of unity within your dioceses.
Read it all.
With only days to go before the Pope arrives in the African country of Benin, Bishop Barthélemy Adoukonou says he hopes Benedict XVI’s visit to his homeland will help Africa resist secularization.
“Some within the secularized culture of the West are trying to direct all mankind in the same direction, and (it’s) the wrong direction,” the secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture told CNA Nov 15.
Bishop Adoukonou said the influence of secularism is “a great injustice against other cultures, including our African culture, which is very much open to God.”
Read it all.
This is not about secretive mutterings in the dead of night or freakish eccentrics, explained Dah Aligbonon Akpochihala, an eminent voodoo priest who has taken to the airwaves to preach the old messages of faith, fidelity and obedience integral to his religion. It is about bringing a younger generation on board.
“Voodoo is sabotaged, demonized, as if there was nothing good in it,” Mr. Aligbonon said in his austere office — a bare, whitewashed room, with a cracked linoleum floor and disused fan.
A slight, mild-mannered aristocrat in a blue robe, Mr. Aligbonon maintains his modest cinder-block temple on a busy commercial street in this bustling commercial capital, one of the continent’s major ports. The temple sits between a beauty parlor and a hardware stall, and offers spiritual consultation and ceremonies to Mami Wata (a water divinity) — along with photocopying, binding services and CDs in the Fon language of Mr. Aligbonon’s broadcasts. Chickens peck in the courtyard — they have multiple uses, food and sacrifice — laundry hangs on the rack and a baby bawls from within.
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