|Posted by Jerrald J President on January 27, 2018 at 7:35 AM|
POPE APOLOGIZES TO AFRICANS FOR SLAVERY
YAOUNDE, Cameroon, Aug. 13— Pope John Paul II today apologized to black Africa for the involvement of white Christians in the slave trade.
The Pope's remarks came in an address to Cameroon intellectuals on their tasks in society and on the importance of integrating the Christian message with African culture.
John Paul said the task of Christians involved ''healing and compassion'' because ''the man who is in need, on the side of the road, is their brother, their neighbor.''
He continued, ''In the course of history, men belonging to Christian nations did not always do this, and we ask pardon from our African brothers who suffered so much because of the trade in blacks.''
The Pope asked his audience not to think that these failures invalidated the Christian message itself. ''The Gospel,'' he said, ''remains a call without equivocation.''
Central African Republic Stop
John Paul's statement came at the halfway point of his 12-day journey through Africa, which is to end in Morocco on Monday. The Pope's schedule next calls for a stop Wednesday in the Central African Republic before he flies to Zaire Wednesday night.
Earlier today, the Pope, in an exuberant mood, flew to Douala, the main port and financial center, for a mass and an address to young people.
He frequently teased and praised his audience, commenting on their chants and smiling when they interrupted him with cheers. At one point, after the crowd had done a brisk rendition of a hymn in Latin, the Pope complimented his audience for its mastery of Latin. He drew laughs and applause. The Pope's apology for slavery was part of a broad effort he is making during this journey to cast Christianity as a universal faith and not an import to Africa from Europe.
He is also emphasizing the role of Africa's Roman Catholics in carrying their faith to non-Catholic Africans in what he described today as ''the second evangelizaton.''
The 'African Theology' Question
John Paul, who has been critical of liberation theology - a teaching that emphasizes Christian political action for the poor and is seen by its Catholic critics as using Marxist categories -raised some of the same points about what has come to be called ''African theology.'' He warned against the possibility of ''great confusions in ideas, sectarianism, at times with a cult message and a syncretistic mysticism incompatible with the church.''
But John Paul, who apparently sees the future of Catholicism as lying in the third world, seemed to express greater openness to the efforts of African intellectuals to give Christian traditions an African cast. He urged the intellectuals to guard their ''cultural patrimony'' and ''forge the consciousness of a national identity.''
Repeating his support for a church that is ''fully Christian and fully African,'' the Pope said, ''It is a difficult debate, and I hope that you will continue to advance in this direction with objectivity, wisdom and profundity.''
''I understand the cry of Africans for an authentic liberation,'' he said at another point, ''far from all racism and all that leads to political, economic or cultural exploitation.''
Educational Differences Cited
In his address on education in Douala, the Pope spoke of a problem that is particularly acute in Africa: that of the alienation between well-educated children and their less-educated parents.
''Children acquire in school a learning that their parents do not know,'' the Pope said, ''and are perhaps less sensitive to their wisdom, less attentive to their counsel. Dialogue becomes more difficult for many.'' The Pope said well-educated children could also become the prey of ''many ideas whose value they cannot discern well'' and need the guidance of parents.
''I understand that your responsibility is difficult to exercise,'' he said. ''I beg you: do not abdicate it.''
The mass at Douala was marked by the appearance of Bishop Albert Ndongmo of Nkongsamba, who fled the country after he was sentenced to be shot in 1971 after having been convicted of complicity in a coup attempt against former President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The sentence was later commuted to life in prison.