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By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

VATICAN CITY, October 21, 2009 ( – While the bishops attending the African Synod at the Vatican have now split up into working groups and are no longer producing the multitude of short interventions that they were during the first week of the Synod, they are still vocally opposing the destructive ideologies of “cultural imperialism” being imposed on Africa by abortion-supporting Western NGOs.

In a recent interview with the left-leaning National Catholic Reporter's John Allen, Allen asked Ghanaian Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle if the emphasis on these “destructive ideologies” was not being exaggerated.

The archbishop responded that the problem is very real, suggesting that Western organizations are purposely undermining traditional African values. Asked, “Is there really a Western campaign to corrupt African values?” Palmer-Buckle replied, “We don't only suspect that there is a campaign, we think it's deliberate.”

“It's not necessarily 'Western,' but it's coming from the West, from a particular lobby that sees African values on the family to be a danger to what's called the 'new global ethic,' which is being propounded by the UN, by the World Bank, by the IMF, and even by the European Union,” he said.

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said that he had witnessed the working of this process in his own diocese of Accra, but also said that it is a problem that is affecting not only Africa but countries of the European Union.

Some EU countries, he said, are in conflict with factions at the European Parliament, “because they have not put into their constitution acceptance of gay unions as equal to marriage.”

He also observed: “When you hear that Belgium decided to talk in parliament about the pope's comments on condoms [during his March trip to Africa], is that an issue for parliament? Can you imagine? Where is freedom of speech, of religious, of association? The pope is free to express his opinion. Why should a parliament make that a government issue? It's difficult for me not to believe that there's an agenda.”

Foreign groups, said the archbishop, are not only trying to influence governments, “but they're out there corrupting the young.”

“I know of NGOs that are not only supplying condoms, they're also supplying lubricants for boys who want to engage in homosexual relations.”

“I know workers for NGOs who hang around with boys in order to introduce them to homosexual relationships. In those cases, I don't want to believe it's the NGO's agenda, but the workers are letting their own tendencies go in as a normal thing to be accepted.”

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said that “serious advocacy” was needed to oust these agendas. “We need to target those NGOs and those particular individuals, and tell whoever brought them in there that they're persona non grata.”
One of the major themes of the Synod has been the denunciation of Western anti-life and anti-family programs as a new form of colonialism and “cultural imperialism” from the West, which is trying to impose a set of alien values onto African society.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Synod's General Relator, said on October 13, in his summation of the interventions, that the first task of the Church in Africa is the rehabilitation of the family. The Synod fathers, he said, have “bemoaned the fate of the family in Africa and considered the institution under serious threat of instability and dissolution by poverty, conflicts, traditional beliefs and practices (witchcraft), and disease, principally, malaria and HIV-AIDS.”

But worse than these, he said, is the “ferocious onslaught on the family and the related fundamental institution of marriage from outside Africa” from “gender ideology” and groups such as Planned Parenthood.
This week, the bishops have been working on creating a set of proposals worked up from the hundreds of short interventions given in the first segment of the Synod. A formal denunciation of Western anti-life and anti-family ideologies and programs is expected to be included in the final documents. The Synod concludes on October 25.  

Read related coverage:

Aid in Africa Tied to “Insidious” Ideological Conditions: South African Cardinal 

Gender Theory a “Lethal Ideology” Alien to African Culture African Prelate tells Synod 

Condoms Encourage Promiscuity which Leads to More Infections: Namibian Bishop