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Catholic Church in Africa: Goodwill message from the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See to the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) Plenary Assembly

Vatican information Service (VIS)

Goodwill message from the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See to the SECAM Plenary Assembly:

To His Eminence Philippe Cardinal OUEDRAOGO, President, SECAM

Your Eminences,

Your Excellencies,

Dear participants,

Heartfelt congratulations to His Eminence Philippe Cardinal OUEDRAOGO, President of SECAM. It fills me with great joy to wish you the best of success for the 19th Plenary Assembly taking place in Accra, Ghana, on the theme, “Ownership of SECAM; Security and Migration in Africa and the Islands.”

Three years ago, after the celebration of its golden jubilee, SECAM opened a new chapter for the Church, the Family of God in Africa, issuing the SECAM Kampala Document (KD) 2019, entitled “That they may know Christ and have life in abundance” (Jn 17:3; 10:10).

I take this opportunity today to express to your Plenary Assembly my strongest appreciation regarding the call and commitment of the Kampala Document insofar as what concerns communications. In effect, it states:

“We commit ourselves to give our full support to Catholic communication professionals so that they can harmoniously carry out their mission and always seek to establish a relationship of ecclesial communication with international organizations. SECAM will further strengthen its organ of communications to optimize its evangelizing resources towards a plan of communication at the continental level” (KD 214).

For this purpose, the document “entreats the national episcopal conferences to engage fully in technical, doctrinal and moral formation of all pastoral agents working with the media. With proper guidance, they will ensure that they are not afraid to express their faith in the world of communication” (KD 215). The explosion and globalization of social networks make this commitment more urgent than ever today….

The revitalization of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), desired by the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa (cf. Pope John-Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa, no. 126), has made good strides, and I praise the nomination of its President, Bishop Emmanuel BADEJO, as a member of the Dicastery for Communication.

In collaboration with the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), we are urging the Catholic universities and higher educational institutions to ensure the best training in social communication studies at both the human and professional levels. (Cf. KD 216). Obviously, techniques, communication skills, and the media culture should have significant place in all the fields of formation and of the curricula too. Mostly it is the duty of all to project objective image of Africa in the local and international media in order to correct the often “apocalyptic” or “catastrophic” image of the continent. (Cf. Pope John-Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa, no. 52) Without any doubt, communication constitutes the first field and form of charity and love.

Thus, I would like to compliment and recognize the ongoing efforts in communication at all levels, mostly through the flourishing of radio and TV stations wherever they operate in the Church, the Family of God, on the continent, abroad and online. Most of these radio stations are re-transmitting Vatican Radio daily bulletins, broadcasts in the English, French, Portuguese, KiSwahili and occasionally many other African languages. These daily radio broadcasts, consisting of a daily, up-to-date and verified news about the Holy Father and the various Dicasteries of the Holy See are assuring to the people on the Africa continent and in the world at large.

Therefore, I am also pleased to remind you that this globalized world needs to hear about you too, and about what you are doing as a local church in your various dioceses. This is very important. It is because of this that Vatican Radio is your radio. Therefore, I would like to make a call for increased collaboration, increased cooperation and increased networking.

We can support each other. Together we are stronger. Together we testimony our being One, our being “members one another”. Together, through the radio, through the web, through social media we can build a system with the mission of feeding the word of truth, based on the experience of Pentecost interwoven with the spirit of sharing instead of the one of Babel.

Therefore, we have realized a widget with all our outputs that you can embed in your websites.

On this synodal journey, Pope Francis is encouraging us to “pay particular attention to the need to assist people, especially young people, to develop a sound critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home.” This is a significant contribution to the diffusion of a culture of peace grounded in the truth of the Gospel, for communication is not just a profession, it is also a service to dialogue and mutual understanding between individuals and communities for the pursuit of a serene and peaceful coexistence.

May this Plenary Assembly, focused on the ownership of your continental organization, contribute to fostering communion, collaboration and joint action among all the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and the Islands for the greatest glory of God and the good of the Church, the Family of God in Africa.

In communion of prayer!

Paolo Ruffini,
Prefect

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Vatican information Service (VIS).

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