Vatican City, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Prelates representing the Oriental and African churches have brought a tone of moral seriousness to the Vatican-run Youth Synod in the past two days, reminding the world that many young Catholics struggle against oppression and ideological colonization to remain Catholic.
According to Australian Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, who has been blogging from the Synod, “Cardinal Sandri, the Prefect of the Oriental Congregation, said oriental youth want clear teaching, and authentic, radical witness even to death.”
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches is responsible for assisting and protecting Eastern Catholic Churches, particularly in Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, the Balkans, Ukraine, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Israel, Iran, Iraq, India, Lebanon, Palestinian territories, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey.
In addition, the Chaldean archbishop of Tehran, Ramzi Garmou referred to the Church in the Middle East as “the Church tormented” and praised the beauty of young people persevering in Christian worship despite the dangers.
A number of African prelates also focussed on authentic Catholicism and the right to live it. According to Fisher, Cardinal Wildren Napier, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa, spoke boldly against western ideological colonialism:
“Cardinal Napier spoke directly and with passion about how international governments, agencies and aid organisations continue to colonise Africa, by imposing conditions on aid and by cultural interference regarding sexuality, marriage, contraception, abortion right up to birth, and so on,” Fisher recalled.
“We must teach the young with greater clarity than ever, rather than collaborating by our inaction in a culture that encourages multiple abortions and more in young people’s lives. With St Paul VI interceding for us, we can form young people as apostles for life and love,” he reported Napier as saying.
Fisher wrote that bishops from Congo, Mali, Malawi, Senegal, Mauritius and Ethiopia spoke both of the “youthful energy and the suffering” of young Catholics in certain regions of Africa.
“They identified their zeal for Christ despite hardships, even persecution, the challenges of getting education, and their initiatives to create meaningful work, enterprise, and integral development,” Fisher reported.
“The Church tries to assist such initiatives through providing schooling, tertiary education, micro credit, moral and social teaching, chaplaincy and groups such as Young Christian Workers and Legion of Mary. Such projects help reduce mass migration, poverty, isolation and disorientation,” he explained.
Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported today that the Australian archbishop observed that Africa is home to the largest growing Catholic community today and praised the African bishops’ drive.
“The Africans are making quite a splash at this Synod: they come from the fastest growing part of the Church; the average age of their believers is in the 20s; and their leaders are solid in the faith and optimistic. A black pope would make a striking figure! Go Catholic Africa!”
These candid remarks, however, seem to have been removed from Fisher’s blog.
The Youth Synod is composed of Church leaders from around the world, along with a few dozen youth delegates, who are now meeting in Rome to discuss “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.”