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Exclusive: African Bishops Decry Neo-Colonialism and Ideological Slavery

A malnourished child waits for emergency medical assistance from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), an active regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
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Pastors of Africa and Madagascar issue a common declaration against "civilization of death"

Proclaiming themselves unanimously “wounded in the depths of our hearts as Pastors” by a “terrifying resurgence of a colonialist spirit” disguised as liberty, bishops of Africa and Madagascar have released a common declaration against neo-colonialism and the “filthy campaigns that promote a civilization of death on our continent.” The document, constructed in June but just released for publication, comes in anticipation of both the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 and October’s Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

Signed by 45 African bishops and representing 40 countries, ten cardinals and three African bishops inside the Vatican, the statement crafts an urgent and often eloquent appeal to political leaders, asking them to “respect, love and serve Africa in truth!”

Referencing the sentiments of the 5th Century African pope, Saint Gelasius, the bishops reminded leaders of nations that, “while you are permitted honorably to rule over human kind, yet in things divine [leaders should] bow your heads humbly,” and take to heart the concerns of the clergy. “Every human person will have to render an account of their actions before God…”

In particular, the African bishops voiced concern about a superior, neo-colonial mindset from the West that seeks to impose its own moral sensibilities upon African governments and culture, under the guise of humanitarian aid: “It can no longer be denied that under the euphemism of ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’, such programs are plainly imposed as a condition for development assistance.”

The bishops put into question the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (better known as the Maputo Protocol), implemented in 2005, asking, “what right do western NGOs, who only represent their own ideological interests, claim to legally bind African states to their world vision?

“. . .We Africans must categorically say No to this plan, which is killing our continent. Pope Francis exhorts us to “be on guard against colonization by new ideologies. There are forms of ideological colonization which are out to destroy the family. They are not born of dreams, of prayers, of closeness to God or the mission which God gave us; they come from without, and. . .they are forms of colonization.”

Adding that “The hour has come to demystify what global governance calls ‘national ownership’ and ‘country-driven’ initiatives,” the African bishops proclaimed their unwillingness to have Africans seen only as “servile partners” of Western interests, saying “This is a new type of slavery! We want the dignity of our people to be respected.”

The statement has been sent to, among others, Heads of State and Governments in Africa, and to the Secretary General of the United Nations, and concludes, “Our wishes, our desire, our prayer, our pastoral labors are that in this era of globalization, Africa will today offer humanity its unique and irreplaceable contribution, according to the gifts she has received from God and are properly hers.”

The entire document can be read here.

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