By Hilary White, LSN Rome correspondent

ROME, October 9, 2009 ( – Warnings against the incursions of Western anti-family and population control ideologies continue to be sounded at the end of the first week of the Vatican’s ongoing Synod of African bishops in Rome.

Yesterday morning, Buti Joseph Tlhagale, Archbishop of Johannesburg and president of the bishops’ conference of South Africa, warned that the “moral values embedded in the diverse African cultures”, are “threatened by the new global ethic which aggressively seeks to persuade African governments and communities to accept new and different meanings of concepts of family, marriage and human sexuality”.

Tlhagale said that the “cultures of Africa are under heavy strain from liberalism, secularism and from lobbyists who squat at the United Nations”.

“Africa faces a second wave of colonization both subtle and ruthless at the same time.”

Pope Benedict had commented during his homily at the inaugural Mass of the Synod that the first world is “exporting its spiritual toxic waste” to Africa and other developing areas. Ennio Cardinal Antonelli, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, expanding on this comment at Thursday morning’s session, told the bishops that one of these poisons is “so-called ‘gender theory,’ which heavily disguised, is starting to infiltrate associations, governments and even some ecclesial environments in the African continent”.

Antonelli took up the subject raised earlier by Archbishop Robert Sarah, the Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and former head of the Conakry diocese in Guinea. Sarah had described gender theory as a “lethal ideology” that was alien to African culture and was the philosophy underlying the legislative dismantling of the natural family.

The cardinal warned that “agents of various international institutions and organizations” use “real problems” such as the injustice and violence suffered by women, infant mortality, malnutrition and famine, and “propose solutions based on the values of equality, health and liberty.” But, he said, these “sacrosanct concepts” are “rendered ambiguous by the new anthropological meanings that are given to them”.

Under the terms of the new definitions, “equality of people no longer just means equal dignity and access to fundamental human rights; but also the irrelevance of the natural differences between men and women, the uniformity of all individuals, as though they were sexually undifferentiated”.

This results, he said, in the idea of the legitimacy of all “sexual orientations and behaviour,” heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual or “polymorphous”.

Where Sarah had referred to the ideology only in general terms, Antonelli specified that it is being promoted through “reproductive health centres” many of which are sponsored by international NGOs under the guise of “aid work” in Africa. He also pointed to “international TV programmes broadcast via satellite”.

in Nigeria said that family life in Africa is “disintegrating through divorce, unfaithfulness and Western ideologies that are incompatible” with African cultural values.

Archbishop Orlando Beltran Quevedo of Cotabato in the Philippines, in his intervention today, listed “population control,” as equal to the evils of “dictatorial regimes,” the trafficking of women and children, poverty and the destruction of the environment afflicting both Africa and Asia. The Philippines is among the highest priority nations for international NGOs attempting to impose artificial contraception, abortion and sterilisation as a means of controlling population growth in the developing world.

On Wednesday, Fulgence Muteba Mugalu, Bishop of Kilwa-Kasenga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hit out at media biases that, he said, create an environment “polluted by manipulation, political propaganda and non-edifying entertainment”. This environment, he said, is one “marked by the imperialism of foreign media who propose themselves by imposing themselves”.

Philippe Ouedraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, rejected the Western world’s association of abortion, euthanasia and sexual libertinism with freedom. “Our African human and religious communities, on a whole, reject the legal practices of many otherwise Christian western countries, such as abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriages, euthanasia.”

“They respect the promotion of values relating to family and life.”

Archbishop Ouedraogo also singled out the media as a means of spreading these foreign concepts. “More and more,” he said, “certain radio and television and internet sites, all of them held by economic power and interests, deliberately broadcast programs that try to impose Western society’s one thought.

He blamed the western media'”racket” for attempting to drive a wedge between African Catholics and the Pope during his visit to Africa last March, calling it “a pathetic example of this”.

“Certain programs aimed at French-speaking listeners, European as well as African, wanted to make them believe that some African priests and religious studying or in mission in Rome or elsewhere in Europe, survived by begging and prostitution, abandoned by the Vatican and the religious congregations.”

“Evidently, a coalition was trying to reach a clear but shameful objective, by distracting the Africans to stop them from listening to the Holy Father’s words on the problems of injustice, violence and their causes.”

The Synod of African bishops continues until October 24.

Read related coverage:
Gender Theory a “Lethal Ideology” Alien to African Culture African Prelate tells Synod