Second Special Assembly for Africa - The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace (4-25 October 2009)

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Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops

In Session: 4 - 25 October 2009

Synod Fathers: 244

Topic: The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace: “You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world” (Mt 5: 13, 14)

On 13 November 2004, during the Symposium of the Bishops of Africa and Europe, held in Rome, Pope John Paul II, “welcoming the desire of the Special Council for Africa”and responding to “the hopes of the African pastors,”announced the convocation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in his weekly General Audience on 22 June 2005, reconfirmed this decision.

Subsequent to the initial announcement of a II Special Assembly and in collaboration with the Special Council for Africa, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, formulated the synod topic: “The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. ‘You are the salt of the earth ...You are the light of the world’ (Mt 5: 13, 14)”. With the assistance of experts, the Council then proceeded to draft the Lineamenta, presenting the topic and containing a series of questions for discussion and prayer on the local level, which was made public on 27 June 2006. The Responses to the Questions were subsequently sent to the General Secretariat for use in composing the Instrumentum laboris, the document containing the agenda for the synodal assembly. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, personally consigned the document on 19 March 2009 to the presidents of the episcopal conferences of Africa, during his Apostolic Visit to Cameroon and Angola.

Given the nature of a continental assembly and to ensure maximum engagement of the members, the Special Council for Africa devised special criteria for participation, which, after having received papal approval, were used by the Episcopal Conferences in Africa in electing members to the Special Assembly, in addition to those who participating by reason of their office and by papal appointment.

In the course of the Second Special Assembly, the synod fathers gave attention to the various realities in the Church on the African continent, particularly reconciliation, justice and peace so that the Church might respond to her mission of being “the salt of the earth and the light of the world” in social, cultural and religious areas. Through her ministry of reconciliation, the Church is called to establish peace and foster justice and thus contribute to the promotion and development of all peoples in Africa. The first synodal assembly, in calling the Church on the continent to renewed dynamism and hope, came to be known as the Synod of Resurrection and Hope; the second, in its concentration on the Church’s mission, is increasingly being called the synod of a New Pentecost.

The synodal assembly approved a Final Message, which was both an appeal and a source of encouragement in the Church’s mission in Africa, as well as 57 Propositiones or Proposals for submission to the Holy Father, in which the synod fathers sought to pastorally address the various issues discussed during the assembly. The Post-Synodal Council, elected during the Assembly, subsequently held various meetings to analyze the results of the synodal assembly and draft its contribution for submission to the Holy Father in his composing the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae munus. The Surpeme Pontiff, during his Apostolic Visit to Benin, 18-20 November 2011, signed and presented the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae munus to the Church in Africa and the world.





S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Francis Arinze, Prefetto emerito della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti (Vaticano)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Théodore-Adrien Sarr, Arcivescovo di Dakar (Senegal)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Wilfrid Fox Napier, O.F.M., Arcivescovo di Durban (Sud Africa)

General Secretary

S.E.R. Mons. Nikola Eterović, Arcivescovo tit. di Sisak (Vaticano)

General Rapporteur

S. Em. R. il Sig. Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Arcivescovo di Cape Coast (Ghana)

Special Secretary

S.E.R. Mons. Damião António Franklin, Arcivescovo di Luanda (Angola)
S.E.R. Mons. Edmond Djitangar, Vescovo di Sahr (Ciad)


Documents of the Second Special Assembly for Africa