Catholic bishops of Africa and Madagascar have released a common declaration against what they call the “filthy campaigns that promote a civilization of death on our continent.”
The declaration was written in June but has just been released for publication in anticipation of both the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 and October’s Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family. It is addressed to The Secretary General of the United Nations, the heads of states and governments with whom African countries have agreements, the "officials of pan-African institutions," the "officials of International Organizations," to "partners in global governance and development donors," and "to the sons and daughters of our beloved African continent."
The "Common Declaration of the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar" warns of a “terrifying resurgence of a colonialist spirit” disguised as liberty. The pastors highlight the attempt to import contraception, abortion and new theories about gender to Africa by groups working as humanitarian organizations.
The bishops specifically name the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (better known as the Maputo Protocol), adopted by the African Union in 2003 and implemented in 2005. The protocol calls for, among other things, women's right to contraception and abortion. "What right do western NGOs [non-governmental organizations], who only represent their own ideological interests, claim to legally bind African states to their world vision?" the bishops ask. "Why such a programing and will to pollute and pervert, extending through the African continent?"
"This is a new type of slavery!" the declaration goes on. "We want the dignity of our people to be respected. No! Africa is not a great potential market for the pharmaceutical industry of contraceptives and condoms. Yes! Africa is populated by men, women and children endowed with a transcendent dignity and eternal vocation."
Signed by 45 African bishops and representing 40 countries, ten cardinals and three African bishops inside the Vatican, the statement is strong in its language of warning to Western organizations who do work for and in Africa. “It can no longer be denied that under the euphemism of ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights,’ such programs are plainly imposed as a condition for development assistance,” it reads.
The declaration also reads in part:
We are all wounded in the depths of our hearts as Pastors by the attacks against life, the family, all that is sacred, the healthy human development of our youth who are the future of Africa, the full blossoming of women and respect for our elderly – realities of which our African cultures have such a keen sense. Selfish and perverse interests are imposing themselves on our continent with a speed that keeps on accelerating, with unabated aggressiveness, in an ever more organized and powerfully financed manner, introducing individualism and hedonism, both of which are so foreign to what we are and want to be, into our societies.
We therefore implore you to end the filthy campaigns that promote a civilization of death on our continent. This has to do with a terrifying resurgence of a colonialist spirit under the guise of the appealing names of liberty, equality, rights, autonomy, democratization and development. Condoms, contraceptives, sex education programs fabricated elsewhere, purely technical and deprived of moral content, so-called “safe abortions”, have become commodities that are more accessible to Africans than the way of delivering integral development, of which we have such a vital need.
It can no longer be denied that under the euphemism of “sexual and reproductive health and rights”, such programs are plainly imposed as a condition for development assistance. Such is also the case of the so-called “gender perspective,” according to which motherhood, the filial and nuptial identity of the human being and the family based on marriage between a man and a woman would be “discriminatory stereotypes.” No! Women and men in Africa are not mere individuals, autonomous from their parents, spouses, children: women, men, children, we are all persons, created out of love and for love, and we all belong to a family and a community, vitally, ontologically and emotionally united!
Africans are becoming aware of the ongoing manipulation. Africa is not developing in harmony with her soul. The agents of the civilization of death are using ambivalent language, seducing decision-makers and entire populations, in order to make them partners in the pursuit of their ideological objectives. They are coopting a great many in partnerships of which they are, in reality, the masters. They take advantage of poverty, weakness and ignorance in order to subject peoples and governments to their blackmail.
The State and international organizations are bound to respect that which all men and women can recognize as real, true, and good in their conscience and in their heart. They are bound to honor the transcendence, centrality and superiority in value of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, of maternity and life, and of religion. They are bound to serve the people as they are and want to be, rooted in a rich diversity of cultures. May development policies radically change direction in this sense!