News / Africa

Pope Concludes Visit to Benin

Pope Benedict XVI, second right, is accompanied by members of the clergy as he leaves following Sunday Mass, at the national stadium in Cotonou, Benin, November 20, 2011.
Pope Benedict XVI, second right, is accompanied by members of the clergy as he leaves following Sunday Mass, at the national stadium in Cotonou, Benin, November 20, 2011.
Nick Loomis

Pope Benedict celebrated an open-air Mass in Benin Sunday to close out a three-day trip to the West African nation. His visit had religious and diplomatic themes.  

At least 50,000 people gathered in Cotonou's Friendship Stadium, where the Roman Catholic pontiff delivered a homily honoring those who spread the gospel in the former French colony over the 150 years since its evangelization.

The pope also presented an Apostolic Exhortation, drafted by a synod of African bishops, and which he signed on Saturday. The document calls on the continent's leaders to reject corruption and use its resources for the good of the people.

“I now have the joy of returning to Africa, and particularly to Benin, to consign this final document which takes up the reflections of the synod fathers and presents them as a part of a broad pastoral vision,” he said.

Pope Benedict seemed to be sensitive this trip to his diplomatic missteps of the past. He sparked controversy during his first visit to Africa as pope in 2009, when he said condoms aggravate the AIDS epidemic. This time, he largely avoided the topic, leaving the apostolic exhortation to declare that the disease is primarily an ethical problem to be resolved by abstinence and fidelity within marriage.

The Reverend André Quenum of Benin says the pontiff brings a faith-centric message to address all of Africa's problems.

“The pope is coming for a message of reconciliation, justice and peace, and I think that we need it," he said. "You know that we have been experiencing war, political problems, economic problems, and even traditional problems, everywhere. So this message of the pope will do, I'm sure, in the heart of African people.”

Benedict also amended his once-inflammatory remarks on Islam, saying on this visit that Catholics should work toward a good relationship with their Muslim neighbors while maintaining their own identity. That message was also extended to traditional religions, and some members of Benin's large voodoo population responded favorably by attending the pope's various appearances.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid