Lohud.com has dozens of great pictures of the pope’s first day in Africa HERE.
Not surprisingly, Pope Benedict XVI’s brief comments about condoms got the bulk of media attention on the pontiff’s first day in Africa.
We all know that AIDS is devastating Africa — and that the Catholic Church’s stand against contraception remains a hotly debated issue around the world.
The answer to AIDS, he said in Cameroon yesterday, is a “spiritual and human awakening” and “friendship for those who suffer.”
The pope emphasized the church’s missionary role in Africa, calling for the church to be diligent about priestly formation, liturgy and promotion of marriage. He called for better formation of children — especially in light of common superstitious practices.
He addressed pretty directly a long-running concern about African priests being too ready to break their commitment to celibacy: “The authenticity of their witness requires that there be no dichotomy between what they teach and the way they live each day.”
John Allen’s coverage focused on the pope’s call for Christians in Africa to fight against governmental corruption.
“In the face of suffering or violence, poverty or hunger, corruption or abuse of power, a Christian can never remain silent,” the pope said.
Benedict also had several interesting comments during a chat with journalists on his flight.
On AIDS: “It is my belief believe that the most effective presence on the front in the battle against HIV/AIDS is in fact the Catholic Church and her institutions. … The problem of HIV/AIDS cannot be overcome with mere slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanisation of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with the suffering, a readiness – even through personal sacrifice – to stand by those who suffer.”
On the growth of Christian sects in Africa: “We, unlike some of them, do not announce a Gospel of prosperity, but Christian realism. We do not announce miracles, as some do, but the sobriety of Christian life. We are convinced that all this sobriety and realism which announce a God Who became man (therefore a profoundly human God a God Who also suffers with us) give meaning to our own suffering. In this way, announcement has a broader horizon and a greater future. We also know that these sects are not very stable. … The announcement of prosperity, of miraculous healing, etc., may do good in the short term, but we soon see that life is difficult, that a human God, a God Who suffers with us, is more convincing, truer, and offers greater help for life.”
On how the worldwide economic crisis affects the poor: “A fundamental element of the crisis is precisely a lack of ethics in financial structures; it has been understood that ethics are not something ‘outside’ the economy but ‘inside’ it, and the economy does not work if it does not contain the ethical component.”