As Africans respond to Pope Francis’ teaching ministry in seeking out new economic models for the continent, it might be helpful to situate the Pope’s teaching in a wider and broader perspective- the Catholic Social Teaching (CST).
Interviewed by Noël Jean Fogang Néguim, Bernard Amadou Tikele and Ireneaus Chongwain Chia
Against a backdrop of a growing and an aggressive global advocacy for the acceptance and legalisation of homosexuality, the Church’s standpoint is almost being drowned even though the issue is essentially moral. To throw more light on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, especially at this crucial moment, L’Effort Camerounais talked to Douala Emeritus Archbishop, Christian Cardinal Tumi in this exclusive interview.
Despicable as it is, the terrorist attack on the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper, the targeted killing of journalists, police officers, and innocent civilians and the ensuing unity and solidarity march that mobilised political and religious leaders and thousands of people from across the world in a scale never seen before, has also helped to highlight; to an even frightful level, political and decision makers’ hypocrisy and double standards. Seventeen people are gunned down in France and the world, including even some African leaders reputed for remaining mute on the carnage from terrorists inside their own countries, react, and when an estimated 2000 people are chopped down in Baga, Northeastern Nigeria, the same world leaders, so concerned with human rights, simply look the other way.
Bishop Andrew Nkea and commercial motorcycle riders (ben-skinners) after Mass
I. Greeting The Lord has filled our Hearts with joy and has given us another year of grace. As we come to the end of 2014 and graciously enter the New Year, 2015, it has pleased the Holy Spirit and us to turn our gaze and attention towards a very important, yet sometimes neglected sector of our daily lives, the motorcycle riders, also known as “Ben-skins” or “Okada” riders. As we begin this New Year, I salute all the Ben-skinners, all the Okada riders in our nation and especially in Mamfe Diocese. I extend greetings of appreciation, encouragement and assurance. We cannot thank the Okada riders enough for the risks they take to transport people to difficult places even where no motorable roads are possible.
After Pa Bernard Aza Fombo, who died on August 3, 2014, the Church in Bamenda Archdiocese in general and Njindom in particular has again lost another icon. Joseph Yunga Teghen, former Secretary of State for Education died in Bamenda on Thursday, January 8, 2015 after a very brief illness.
Pope Francis has called for a Year of Consecrated Life to be celebrated from November 30, 2014 to February 2, 2016. Consecrated Life is marked by the acceptance of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. In Consecrated Life one is completely given to God through intense prayer and contemplation.
Hunger: one of the consequences of the Economy of Exclusion in Africa
The tragedy that has befallen the African continent for centuries directs attention to the asymmetry evident in Africa’s paradox of plenty - a continent abundant in valuable natural resources, but lacking the wherewithal to turn these resources into wealth for its people.
Douala Archbishop, His Grace Samuel Kleda on Saturday, December 6, 2014 ordained 14 priests, 13 for Douala Archdiocese, at the Douala SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in the presence of Douala Emeritus Archbishop His Eminence Cardinal Christian Tumi.
The Catholic University of Cameroon, CATUC, Bamenda was the first higher institute west of the Mongo to send off the first holders of the Masters in Business Administration, MBA, on Friday December 5, 2014 during its Second Convocation.
The President of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, NECC, and Archbishop of Douala, His Excellency Mgr. Samuel Kleda, announces with deep sorrow the death of the Bishop of Ngaouderé, His Lordship Joseph Djida, on Tuesday, January 06, 2015, after a brief illness. The People of God are called upon to pray for the peaceful repose of his soul. The funeral programme will be made public later.
Due to the scathing youth unemployment dilemma Cameroon is facing today, many young people are solving the problem the quickest way they know how- “bending” their backs on commercial motorcycles and also “bending” their talents in the process. In a country that plans to become emergent by 2035, a youth-based initiative, that is, how on earth will this goal ever be achieved when a majority of those to make it happen have resolutely opted out by embarking in an activity that largely and mostly seeks to meet only present their physiological and pecuniary needs.
The Catholic Women’s Association of Douala Archdiocese celebrated the association’s Golden Jubilee on Saturday, November 15, 2014 at St. Paul’s Parish Nylon and elected a new executive. Coming after the national and provincial celebrations, the day’s activities began with a procession in the vicinity of St. Paul Nylon to the parish. A Golden Jubilee thanksgiving Mass, which the Parish Priest, Mgr. Paul Nyaga, celebrated then followed.
After functioning as a health centre for about 11 years, the Ministry for Public Health has finally upgraded St. Maria Soledad Heath Centre, Bamenda, to a hospital.Although it was upgraded since February 2014, the hospital authorities still had to choose a date to officially inaugurate the hospital and this was done on Saturday, November 15, 2014, during which a project to construct a modern maternity was also launched.
Purification is a familiar concept in Africa. In fact, most Africans have heard of it at least if they have not participated in it. Traditional African purification rites vary from region to region, but there is a physical bath at the core; the sacrifice of an animal and the sprinkling of the of sacrificed animal’s blood.
We are not yet done with the Ebola virus when another kind of atrocity has again been committed on the African continent – the injection of Kenyan women with a tetanus vaccine corded with Beta–HCG to cause infertility and miscarriages. Recently the Bishops of Kenya issued a courageous statement exposing this secret sterilisation programme disguised as a tetanus vaccine.
By Fr. Anthony Ndang Ndichia, mhm, Diocese of Kroonstad, South Africa
If you see something good, you must say it. That which is good is never finished. It lives on…… Pa Bochong, your shock and sudden departure from this earthly life has left us heart broken. Yes indeed, it came so fast, nobody least expected it will be soon. “When a child is born, he or she is old enough to die”. You are in the hands of God…..Blessed are the dead who die in the hands of God.
Pioneer Batch of 63 Seminarians It was as far back as 1973 that St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary, STAMS, Bambui was founded in English speaking Cameroon. Exactly 41 years after, another historic event has taken place in the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province, precisely in Batchuo Ntai, Mamfe Diocese, with the launching of a second major seminary, St. John Paul II Major Seminary, SAJOPAMS, Batchuo Ntai.
Ignatius Nji: Bamenda Archdiocese We are beginning the foundation as far as the four formation pillars are concerned- intellectual, human, spiritual and pastoral. As one of the pioneers of this seminary, I have to do my best to lay a good foundation by meeting up with what the school demands. We are still putting some finishing touches to help us study well and make the environment more conducive. I will try to be honest in all that is expected of me. I just have to emulate the example of our patron St. John Paul II who we fondly call “Book man” and study hard.
Pope Francis named the Bishop of Ebolowa Mgr. Jean Mbarga on Friday, October 31 as Archbishop of Yaoundé, Cameroon. The Apostolic Nunico to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, Piero Pioppo, made the news public in Yaounde last Friday. Until his appointment, the Archbishop-elect had also been serving as Apostolic Administrator of Yaoundé Archdiocese following the resignation in July last year of Archbishop Victor Tonyé Bakot in accordance with Canon 401 paragraph 2.
The October 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops dedicated to the theme of the Pastoral Care of the Family in the context of the New Evangelisation was truly extraordinary, and in many ways! For the records, it set out to present the beauty of the Christian family amidst present-day threats to family life across the globe, but more acute in the Western world.
The October 6 to 19 Synod on the Family in Rome has ended and contrary to widely reported western media projections that an “earthquake” could be expected from the Church on some controversial moral issues, the final report; and disapprovingly so for these lobbies, indicates as the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, posits that the “clarifications and deepening of scriptural and theological reflection shine consistently" in the report.
We have been talking about ways of getting along, even with non-Christians, in ways that bear witness to the Gospel. Here is a story that involves Pope Francis worth sharing. I heard this story from a renowned evangelical pastor (“evangelicals” are Christians who believe that all we need to know about God must come from the Bible only. They refute all other spiritual authority, particularly that of the Pope and of the universal Church as an institution).
The Catholic Church does not only encourage the creation of associations, prayer groups and movements, but also appeals to the lay faithful to join them. While these associations’ and movements’ time tested contributions to the spiritual and material growth of their members and the Church are incontestable, they are not always the beacon of light they should be in the church and in the world. It is against this backdrop that L’Effort Camerounais revisits the Church’s quadruple mission signposts to these groups to permit you determine whether you are contributing to your group’s growth or demise.
A rolling stone gathers no moss. So any Christian who does not join with others in small groups in the Church to exercise an apostolate risks paying lip service to the call of the gospel. A living faith requires good works through Catholic Action organised by the laity and directed by the Bishop.
Interviewed by John Neba and Ireneaus Chongwain Chia
Rev. Fr. Christopher Geh Kum is the Chaplain of the Catholic Women Association, St. Jude Apostolate and the Douala Archdiocesan Youth Movement. L’Effort Camerounais caught up with him to know more about these groups and what members can do to obtain maximum spiritual benefits from them, among other concerns.Excerpts:
Authorised and created to foster individual and communal growth towards holiness, they are often marred by somewhat scandalous but redeemable dysfunctions. Associations and movements of the Christian faithful are not always the beacon of light they should be in the Church and in the world.
The Justice, Peace and Development Commission annual coordination meeting of the Symposium of Episcopal conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) took place from October 15 to 19 at the Conference Hall of the Douala Archbishop’s House, with a call for parpicipants to be true justice, Peace and reconciliation ambassadors.
The Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda Archdiocese, His Lordship Agapitus Nfon, has called on Marist Brothers to open up and extend a generous hand of invitation to more young men to increase their numbers because the Church needs their services.
After the Ad Limina visit of the Bishops of Cameroon to Pope Francis, the Bishop of Mamfe, Mgr. Andrew Nkea, personally reconciled the disintegrated and fracturised OPSANS in the United States of America during their annual convention in the Washington DC Metro Area. Thereafter, he paid a second Pastoral Visit to the Cameroon Catholic Community of Boston to strengthen the faith of his flock in the Diaspora. In an exclusive interviewwith L’Effort Camerounais Bishop Nkea describes his vision and concerns for Mamfe Diocese. Excerpts:
Church Historians and Vatican watchers are telling us that a confrontation like that had never been seen before, perhaps not even at the Second Vatican Council. Soon after nine on Thursday, October 16, 2014, the General Secretary to the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, took to the floor and announced that the relationes of the circuli minores would not be made public, a reverse course from what had always happened in the past and that was affirmed in the previous days.
VOPS relentless efforts in promoting self –reliant programmes
Many prisons do not have functional rehabilitation centres, or programmes which can help them acquire useful skills to make them self-reliant when they are released from prison. There are no training programmes to help ex-prisoners improve on their lives. Statistics indicate that over 40 percent of those in prison had no jobs before going to prison. Ninety (90) percent of those who had jobs will lose their jobs because of their imprisonment. Ninety (90) of those who have a prison record will not find employment because of their prison record and stigma.
We are living in a world that is undergoing perpetual scientific, intellectual and moral mutations. Due to a multiplicity of viewpoints and precepts, which sometimes stultify each other, many are left standing at the crossroads confused as they do not know which direction to take. At such times the Church, as a moral and spiritual authority, becomes a safe haven and compass for them, as by her very nature and mission, she stands on a moral trajectory that defies the temporariness and pettiness of human concerns, however noble humans rate them.
A defining trait of human beings is the desire to plan for the future, or to secure or guarantee one’s life choices in the long run. Even social schemes like pensions, njangis, and “country meetings,” all have the element of security and planning for the future. Even children are seen as guarantees of the future: “Truly children are a gift from the Lord, a blessing, the fruit of the womb. Indeed the children of youth are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. O the happiness of the man who has filled his quiver with these arrows! He will have no cause for shame when he disputes with his foes in the gateway” (Ps 127:3-5).
Some faithful relate to the horoscope as a useful tool amid the uncertainties of human life on earth, whereas based on their faith and reason others dismiss it out rightly.The horoscope, a description of what is going to happen to somebody in the future based on the position of the stars and the planets when the person is born, is a challenge to many Catholic Christians nowadays.
Divination is almost a fashion nowadays and it has become the modern prayer. People wake up, tune on their radios; and as they take their breakfast, they all listen or read to what the horoscope predicts for the day. And accordingly, they spend the day, in sadness or in joy, without knowing the vision that has been brutally forced on them.
On Friday, September 12, 2014, the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda, was host to an Ebola Conference. Following the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in parts of Africa and which has sent shock waves down the backs of all health ministries and governments across Africa and beyond, the Research Directorate of the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda, organised an informative and educative conference on the virus.
Thirty-eight couples of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish, Azire, Small Mankon have raised their union through the Sacrament Holy Matrimony during their parish feast day. The twin-event opened with a Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, October 5, 2014 in the Parish Church.