Archive for July, 2009

Caritas mourns CRS colleague Mark Snyder

July 31, 2009

The Caritas confederation has lost a valued colleague, Mark Snyder, who was country representative in Sudan for Catholic Relief Services (a North American member of the Caritas network). He died on 30th July after being diagnosed with malaria.

Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, said, “I am really saddened by the news which has been so sudden. Mark was totally dedicated to development and justice, and he was a man committed to the poor and marginalised. He brought much needed expertise and skills in mediation and reconciliation to the Sudan context over recent years. This is an enormous loss for the whole Caritas family and our love and prayers go to his wife, children and CRS colleagues.”

Caritas Africa expresses its heartfelt condolences to Mark Snyder’s wife and children as well as to all his colleagues from CRS and his many friends in Sudanaid.

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AGM JDP/Caritas Nigeria – Communique

July 29, 2009


We, the Provincial and Diocesan Coordinators and Secretaries of Justice, Development & Peace/Caritas Nigeria, held our Annual General Meeting for the year 2009 between the 20th of July, 2009, to the 25th of July, 2009 at the Sacred Heart Pastoral Centre, Jos, Plateau State, to prayerfully reflect on our mission in the country and deliberate on some social issues affecting the well-being of our citizenry and the state of our nation regarding peace, stability and progress. We issue the following Communiqué

Gratitude to God
We give glory to the Almighty God for the successful deliberation at this year’s AGM and for his many blessings on the Church in Nigeria and the continued existence of our great nation as one indivisible entity.

We give thanks to God for the ten years of uninterrupted civilian administration in our country in spite of the circumstantial and questionable situation of our democratic system of governance during this period. While commending both leaders and the people for this seeming success so far, we call on all stakeholders to continue to explore all avenues that will ensure genuine and sustainable democracy to thrive in our country.

We commend the governors of some states in the country for their efforts at bringing the dividends of democracy to the door steps of the people through the implementation of people oriented programmes. We call on other state governors to imbibe this gesture to ensure even development of our great country in a conducive political atmosphere. We also call on other political office holders to see politics as a service to the people and not a right and therefore be accountable to the people who voted them into office.

We commend the effort of the government in setting up panels and allowing the probing of past and present public office holders with a view to ensuring probity and accountability in public service. We however urge that this should be a holistic exercise and there should be no sacred cows in this perspective.

We also commend our Judiciary for its boldness in bringing about justice to the oppressed as exemplified in its recent pronouncements in respect of some election petitions in some states of the federation. As the last hope of the people, we urge the judiciary not to relent in its efforts to ensure equity and justice in all ramifications.

In the same vain, we appreciate the present administration for its pursuit of respect for the rule of law. This however must be pursued with all sincerity so that the confidence of the people renewed by this effort might not be dampened.

We give glory to God for the return of peace to the city of Jos and its environs after the unfortunate political crisis of last November which metamorphosed into a religious crisis and resulted in the loss of many lives and properties worth millions of Naira. While we congratulate the government, political and religious leaders and the people of Jos for the quick return of normalcy, we urge them all to continue to see every Nigerian in the image of God and allow peace and love to reign supreme in our hearts and transcend our ethnic, social and religious differences

We commend the attention given by the present federal administration to our roads and the energy sector and the huge investments being made to get these serve their functions and purposes. We however hope that these huge investments will be justified by the desired and promised results and will not be business as usual.

Also, we commend President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and his administration for the amnesty given to the Niger Delta militants with a view of bringing the much desired peace to the Delta region of the country. We however urge that repentant militants will be allowed and supported to have A SECOND CHANCE for a normal useful life thereby reducing the fear entertained by them. Furthermore, the genuine grievances of the Niger Delta people should be given immediate attention through rapid development and provision of essential infrastructures and facilities. .

We commend the resilience, courage and faith of Nigerians amidst the difficulties and confusion of every day experience. This has enhanced the seeming stability we enjoy.

We recognize the many yearning gaps yet to be filled by our political leaders in redeeming the worrisome situation our nation is facing. We therefore call the attention of our leaders to the following social issues threatening the life, happiness and freedom of our people as well as the stability of our country.

The insecurity of life and property in all parts of the country continues to be a cause for worry. Armed robbery has become a daily menu as most Nigerians sleep with only one eye closed on daily basis. Kidnapping by militants and destruction of essential public, facilities even outside the Niger Delta area, has continued unabated thus making investors and visitors to see every part of Nigeria as a ‘No go Area’. Police road blocks have continued to be unofficial toll gates where lives of ‘uncooperative’ road users are wasted by trigger happy police officers without respect for dignity of life.

We call on our leaders to not only give priority attention to security but put in place practical measures that will meaningfully address the issues raised above and others. It is time for us to put an end to rampart robbery attacks in the cities and villages, militant activities in the creeks, the horror of kidnapping and deadly community cultism and clashes that have in the recent past wiped out communities.

After the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon by courtesy of the World Court in The Hague, it is unfortunate that displaced Nigerians, as a result of this political misfortune are yet to be properly resettled in spite of the orchestrated promises of the government. This is injustice in all ramifications. We therefore call on the respective arms of government responsible for this service to find immediate solution to the predicament of these Nigerians who were victims of apolitical judgment over their fatherland.

Also the continued demolition of structures and other sources of livelihood of Nigerians without adequate compensation in Abuja and other capital cities, in the name of infrastructural development is worrisome and injustice considering the determination and dedication of Nigerians to making the best use of available opportunities to keep body and soul together. While ruminating over the above predicaments of majority of Nigerians the continued concentration of the wealth of the nation in the hands of a privileged few in both public and private sectors portends great danger to the future of this great country and a dangerous factor for the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. These issues have to be properly addressed.

We observe with nostalgia the recent strike actions in the education and health sectors of the country. This is very worrisome when one considers the fallen standard and lack of proper direction for the education sector in the country since the take-over of schools by government during the military era. Students and pupils stay at home for many months because of incessant strikes in our schools, colleges and universities. The adverse effects of staying at home by our university students and students of other institutions of learning during these avoidable strikes on the future of our children and nation are immeasurable.

With regards to the situation in the health sector, good comprehensive health services in the country have become a privilege instead of rights. These strikes actions can only worsen the situation as the majority of Nigerians are the unfortunate victims.

We therefore call for prompt actions on the part of government to resolve the crisis in this essential services sector in the interest of the masses. Good education and sound health are principal factors that facilitate the growth and development of a nation.

In the same vein, while we see strike action as a legitimate right of workers, we call on the labour leaders and Nigerian workers to exercise restraint in the demand for their rights noting that Nigerian masses are often the victims of these avoidable actions.

The issue of human trafficking is still in vogue in spite of the spirited efforts of relevant government agencies in collaboration Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) to put an end to it. We urge all agencies not to relent in their laudable efforts to protect the integrity of the human person in this respect.

We also want to call the attention of the governments to the continuous exodus of our able bodied and vulnerable young boys and girls from the villages to the cities, neighbouring countries and overseas in search of greener pastures. In the process, these innocent youths become victims of wicked and selfish business cartels who lure them into prostitution and drug pushing abroad. We call on our leaders to put an end to this drifting to guarantee the future of our great country.

In spite of our celebration of 10 years of uninterrupted civilian administration, our democratic process is still nothing to write about. Our elections have always been clouded by rigging, violence and manipulations of election results and this has cast a big question on the way we practice democracy in Nigeria.

The attempt of the present administration to end this social malaise through an electoral reform is indeed a right step in the right direction. In continuation of this laudable process, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has presented some bills to the National Assembly. While we see this as a commendable effort, we urge a true, quick and sincere process that will overhaul our electoral system. A process which will produce credible candidates at the end of elections and minimize the number of electoral petitions in our country must be vigorously pursued by all concerned. This will bring about a true and sustainable democracy and win Nigeria respect in the comity of nations.

Recently, the House of Representatives threatened to impeach the president as a result of his inability to fully implement the 2009 Appropriation Act. Budgets are plans to guide the government in its efforts to deliver on policies it is set to achieve. It is therefore pertinent that a good budget be written and carefully executed. This will place Nigeria on the path of economic recovery. Governments at all levels must consequently and genuinely implement plans set out to make life meaningful for our people.

The Constitution of Nigeria grants power to the people. Elected government officials must therefore see themselves as servants of the people and be accountable to them. They must also judiciously cherish the trust reposed in them and act rightly at all times.

We are most grateful to God for His presence during these days of the meeting and we thank the Archdiocese of Jos for the enabling environment for our deliberations. Our gratitude also goes to our partners who have continuously supported our cause in the service of humanity. We hope that one day Nigeria, our dear country will become the Nigeria of our collective dreams.

We continue to entrust our country to the patronage of our Blessed Mother Mary and pray that we continue to possess the necessary zeal to carry our mission in the JDP/Caritas Nigeria, while seeing the human person as the focus of the social teachings of the Church.

Fr. Peter Babangida Audu
Director, Church and Society & Secretary
Justice, Development and Peace/Caritas Nigeria
Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN)

Sr. ElmaMary Ekewuba, DC
Chairperson, Communique Committe
JDP/Caritas Coordinator, Port Harcourt

July 25, 2009.

Opening address by Fr. Peter Audu – JDP/Caritas Nigeria AGM

July 29, 2009


Your Grace, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama the Metropolitan of Jos Archdiocese and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), My Lord the Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga, Our Guest speakers Very Rev. Fr. Peter Bauna Tanko, and our own brother Rev. Fr. Thaddeus Ajayi, Provincial and diocesan coordinators, Provincial Secretaries, my great colleagues and amiable staff of CSN, distinguished guests, gentlemen of the press, brothers and sisters in the Lord, it is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone here present to this opening ceremony of our AGM for the year 2009 which, as usual, is aimed at reappraising our services in the work of the Church in the areas of Justice, Development, Peace and Caritas Nigeria (JDP/Caritas), with the ultimate goal of charting future plans for the achievement of the set objectives of the Church in Nigeria for the benefit of mankind.

In a very special way I welcome our distinguished guests and new coordinators who are joining us in this AGM for the first time. To our guests I say thank you for honouring our invitation with your distinguished presence.

Most importantly, I thank the Almighty God for the journey mercies granted all of us from far and near to the venue of the august gathering and pray that same protection shall be granted us at the end of our deliberations.

The Past Year in Retrospect
Among other things, we are expected at this meeting to give an account of services in our various dioceses in the past one year, articulate our problems as well as table our plans for the coming year, so that together, we can chart a common front in tackling the various problems and plan the future as one family. It is my sincere hope that we shall all take advantage of this unique opportunity to enhance the work of JDP/C in our respective areas.

A Special Year
As we have all seen, the year 2009 is a special year in the life of the Church in Africa, as the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has convoked the Second Synod For Africa, fourteen years after the First Synod was convoked by his predecessor, the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II. From the perspective of the theme of the Synod – The Church in Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace, the significance of the year 2009 in the life of the Church in Africa relates mostly to our work and therefore, there is the need for us to be more involved in this synod at all levels from the preparation to the synod proper period from October 5 to 24, 2009; and the post synodal implementation activities, particularly after the release of the Apostolic Exhortation.

As the preparation for the synod is in top gear at all levels all over the continent, I admonish us to study religiously the Instrumentum Laboris, copies of which are with most of us if not all; and your comments in writing are welcomed in this respect. Furthermore I encourage us to ensure that the synod prayer be said daily by all the faithful as approved by the CBCN.

Today’s Challenges
My dear brothers and sisters, we are all aware of the present economic global crises christened Global Economic Meltdown and its biting effects which almost grinded the economies of the entire world to a halt. The situation has led to some governments cutting back on promised responsibilities especially foreign aid. The JDP/Caritas Nigeria is no exception from the effects of this meltdown as our funding partners have continued to cut down on projects funds while in some cases, some have opted out of the partnership.

This situation poses a great challenge to us collectively and individually as members of the Church in Nigeria. There is therefore the need for us to source for funds within our immediate environment to sustain all the charity projects of the Church in the country. For the continuity and sustainability of our projects, the time has come to harness resources from within to solve our own problems. This is a challenge for us to build our own identity, understand who we are, what we do and put in place a structure that can make us functionally independent. This requires a lot of strategic thinking and reflection to come up with a clear identity and core values that define us and our work. In this respect, we should make the Lenten Campaign programme and other activities of our commission more vibrant and more revenue yielding.
A clear defined identity cannot function outside structures; that is why we are right now in the process of building a strong structure and systems through which we can achieve our mission of facilitating the teaching, prophetic and pastoral care ministries of the Church in Nigeria through our projects, activities and publications in Nigeria. This structure will soon be a reality and we urge you all to be a part of it, through your support, prayers and cooperation to make it work.

Election Project 2011
As we all know, sustainable and true democracy is still on trial in our great country, Nigeria and elections for the fourth stanza of our present experiment are around the corner. As from next year, the country’s political platform will be aglow again with activities preparatory to the next general elections in the present democratic dispensation in 2011. In our usual disposition, we have a major national civic role to play in this perspective, to help the country attain sustainable democracy through credible elections. However, our intervention will continue to be as independent umpires.
We have carried out a baseline survey but the final report of the survey is not ready because some dioceses are yet to submit their responses. Please kindly submit your responses here so that our officers can complete the data analysis and report. We have dedicated a session at this meeting to present the concept note on our activities for the election. Your inputs will be greatly appreciated.

Our Spirituality: Our sense of pride and purpose
It will not be fair on my part to conclude this address without making reference to some observations about how we discharge our duties as JDP/C officers of the Church without adequate and commensurate consideration for our spiritual life in this respect. Without doubt, developing our spirituality is part of our identity, however, we must note that it is sometimes easy to get carried away by working for the Lord and at the same time forget the Lord of the work.

In this respect, I wish to appeal for a change of heart on the part of some of us whose nonchalant attitudes toward the spiritual activities of our programmes have continued to be of great concern. Among other issues, attendance at Mass during JDP/Caritas programmes, the non-clerical appearance especially at masses, and our lackadaisical attitude to official mails, even in times of urgencies are really worrisome and there is the need for a change of heart in this respect. If we are aspiring to help correct the anomalies in the political and social systems of our country, then we should lead by example and not be found wanting particularly in our spiritual life. While I encourage us to continue to spread the faith and Gospel of Christ by our words, actions and appearances, there is need to incorporate pastoral activities in our programmes. Spiritual activities should also be at the core of our work in building a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

This Year’s AGM
Our programme for this year’s meeting will include two days of presentations and discussions to be facilitated by Rev. Fr. Thaddeus Ajayi whose address today will be on Social Analysis and Very Rev. Fr. Peter Bauna Tanko whose presentation is premised on The Challenges of JDP/Caritas’ Work in the Light of CST. It is my sincere hope that we shall all benefit from the presentations of these eloquent speakers and whatever gained will be used to facilitate the work of the commission in our respective dioceses.

New Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI
The Holy Father’s latest encyclical titled Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) basically addresses social issues such as the effect of the global economy, environmental issues and business ethics. He laments the situation whereby people prefer to pursue riches to the detriment of ethics and morality. The encyclical draws inspiration so much from Pope Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio and the writings of Pope John Paul II. Some analysts have predicted that from the Left, Steadfast capitalists will not be happy while from the right: Liberals don’t understand this pope.

But I have a different question: How much does it matter what the encyclical says? Who will pay attention? Is there any evidence that a papal pronouncement in 2009 has the power to change minds or even behaviors? My answer is YES! I urge us as JDP/Caritas workers to study the new encyclical personally and also create more awareness on the document by organisaing interactive sessions and round table meetings on how it can be implemented. His Holiness’ words can only come alive if we act on it!

My dear brothers and sisters, it is my sincere hope that our activities during this our one week stay of brainstorming in the tin city of Jesus Our Saviour, Jos will be most fruitful and help move JDP/Caritas forward in the service of the Church to ensure justice and equity in an egalitarian Nigerian society. While admonishing us to make the best use of the opportunity offered during deliberations, I also urge us to find time, during our spare time, to relax and possibly explore this historic city on the Plateau.

This I am sure will however, be facilitated by our hosts and it is my sincere hope and believe that at the end of our one week stay, we shall return to our various dioceses refreshed in both mind and body to face the challenges of the years ahead in the service of the Lord for the benefit of our great country, Nigeria.

Finally I wish to thank you all for the support we have enjoyed so far since I came into office. Let this week be a happy and a successful one.

Once again, welcome and God bless you.

Rev. Fr. Peter Babangida Audu
National Secretary, JDP/Caritas Nigeria

Caritas aid worker killed in Congo

July 21, 2009

Caritas Internationalis is condemning the growing climate of insecurity in eastern Congo following the killing of a Caritas staff member who worked for Caritas France (Secours Catholique).

Ricky Agusa Sukaka, 27, was shot dead in Musezero, North Kivu, on the way home from work on the afternoon of 15 July. When his colleagues found him, his pockets had been emptied and his Secours Catholique-Caritas France t-shirt removed.

Villagers reported seeing Mr Sukaka, who was a Congolese national, stopped by two men wearing Congolese army uniforms before he was killed.

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RDC:le Secours Catholique condamne l’assassinat de l’un de ses employés au Nord Kivu

July 21, 2009

Paris, le 20 juillet 2009( Le Secours Catholique-Caritas France condamne l’assassinat de Ricky Agusa Sukaka, 27 ans, agronome employé sur l’un des programmes menés au Nord Kivu. Cet événement est survenu le mercredi 15 juillet à 15h30 dans le village de Musezero. L’organisation suivra avec attention le déroulement de l’enquête qui vient d’être ouverte afin que les auteurs de ce crime ne restent pas impunis. Elle dénonce l’insécurité croissante pour les populations civiles, comme pour les acteurs humanitaires, dans la région du Kivu. Ricky Agusa Sukaka, employé depuis le 1er juillet 2008 par le Secours Catholique-Caritas France, a été abattu de retour de son lieu de travail dans le village de Musezero, sur la route qu’il avait empruntée en moto, rapporte le communiqué de Secours Catholique-Caritas-France transmis à

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Pope’s Caritas in Veritate Offers New Vision

July 13, 2009

Version française : cliquer ici


Caritas Internationalis welcomes the emphasis on putting ethics back into the global economy as outlined in Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).

Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Caritas in Veritate rightly highlights how a blind pursuit of profits divorced of ethics had become detrimental to progress, people, and the planet we live on.

Pope Benedict says that only in charity guided by faith and reason is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value.

“The risk for our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interaction of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development,” he said.

Pope Benedict XVI says in the encyclical that while some have benefited over the last four decades, “other zones are still living in a situation of deprivation comparable to that which existed at the time of Paul VI, and in some cases one can even speak of a deterioration.”

The Pope highlights the deregulation of markets, calling for a greater role of the State and politics in the economy and a return to the ethical foundations of finance. “The articulation of political authority at the local, national and international levels is one of the best ways of giving direction to the process of economic globalisation. It is also the way to ensure that it does not actually undermine the foundations of democracy,” he said.

Pope Benedict called for more and better aid: “Economic aid, in order to be true to its purpose, must not pursue secondary objectives. It must be distributed with the involvement not only of the governments of receiving countries, but also local economic agents and the bearers of culture within civil society, including local Churches.”

“More economically developed nations should do all they can to allocate larger portions of their gross domestic product to development aid, thus respecting the obligations that the international community has undertaken in this regard,” he said, suggesting taxpayers in rich countries be allowed to decide how they allocate a portion of their taxes.

The Pope urged the international community to come together in recognizing “our grave duty to hand the earth on to future generations in such a condition that they too can worthily inhabit it and continue to cultivate it.”

He said governments must “ensure that the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations.”

Rencontre des dirigeants d’organisations basées sur la Foi et le Développement – Accra, Ghana – 1-2 juillet 2009

July 13, 2009

English version: click here

A l’invitation de la Banque Mondiale, j’ai participé les 1er et 2 juillet 2009 à Accra au Ghana, à une rencontre de haut niveau des chefs religieux sur la prestation de service, la pauvreté et le développement. La rencontre, conjointement organisée par le Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics de la Banque Mondiale et le World Faiths Development Dialogue, a été financée par la Banque Mondiale et le Département pour le Développement International du Royaume-Uni (DFID). La rencontre était un suivi des quatre précédentes rencontres tenues au palais de Lambeth à Londres en Angleterre en 1998, 1999, et 2002, et récemment à Dublin en Irlande en 2005. Les précédentes rencontres ont rassemblé plusieurs leaders de différentes confessions religieuses, et ont suscité la volonté d’avoir une meilleure coordination entre les Communautés à vocation religieuse pour le développement des communautés de base, les échanges de pratiques, et déterminer le plaidoyer pour une politique de développement efficace et une augmentation des investissements dans le développement. Une conclusion principale de la réunion de 2005 à Dublin était que la prochaine étape du dialogue devrait « aller résolument de l’avant vers une définition pratique et meilleure pour la collaboration entre la Foi et le Développement. »

IMG_2027 cropped and compressed

La réunion d’Accra a été co-présidée par Graeme Wheeler, Directeur Général de la Banque Mondiale et Lord Carey de Clifton, ancien Archevêque de Canterbury. Il y avait environ 80 participants parmi lesquels des leaders religieux, des directeurs d’organisations à vocation religieuse fournissant des aides aux pauvres, des fonctionnaires de l’Etat, des représentants des donateurs et des organisations multilatérales de développement, des fondations, et des représentants d’importantes organisations interconfessionnelles. L’un des points discutés lors de la rencontre était l’Afrique, notamment les Etats à risques où les besoins de développement sont les plus cruciaux et où les réseaux et les organisations à vocation religieuse sont plus actifs dans la prestation de service. Les représentants des communautés chrétiennes, musulmanes et juives ont activement participé aux discussions dans une atmosphère cordiale et ouverte favorisant la confiance mutuelle et la compréhension. Parmi les participants étaient SE Théodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archevêque Emérite de Washington et membre du Conseil de Catholic Relief Services, SE Mgr Diarmuid Martin, Archevêque de Dublin, ancien secrétaire du Conseil Pontifical Justice et Paix, le Père Pol Feyen, un prêtre de la congrégation Don Bosco, très actif dans l’assistance aux nombreux enfants de rue à Kinshasa, en République Démocratique du Congo, et beaucoup d’autres personnalités venant de diverses organisations religieuses.

La réunion d’Accra a eu trois objectifs principaux : examiner l’étendue et la riche expérience des réseaux et des organisations à vocation religieuse sur le terrain en mettant en application des programmes et des politiques de développement ; discuter le rôle des chefs religieux en tant que défenseurs des questions stratégiques de développement aux niveaux régionaux et globaux, avec un accent sur la façon d’améliorer les programmes et les politiques de développement ; et identifier des manières claires pour améliorer le travail analytique, le développement des capacités, et la politique de dialogue comportant la Foi et le Développement, particulièrement pour l’assistance dans l’éducation, la santé et la protection sociale.

Les participants ont pu acquérir beaucoup d’informations des travaux et des études de cas établies avant la rencontre. Ils ont pu, par conséquent, avoir des discussions bien informées sur les rôles joués par les réseaux et les organisations à vocation religieuse dans des programmes et des politiques de développement. Il était très encourageant de noter que les participants, bien que venant d’horizons très différents, étaient capables de parvenir à une compréhension commune des divers rôles, des pratiques et des politiques, particulièrement concernant les rapports avec les partenaires tels que les gouvernements et les donateurs, et les étapes possibles pour augmenter et mieux documenter l’impact de leur travail.

De ces discussions, il est clair que les organisations à vocation religieuse sont généralement identifiées pour la qualité du service qu’elles fournissent. Ceci est dû à l’engagement de ceux qui travaillent pour ces organisations de même qu’à l’approche professionnelle qu’elles adoptent pour assurer l’efficacité de leur travail. Les travailleurs sociaux de ces organisations obéissent à un ensemble de valeurs et d’éthique qui augmente la dignité humaine.

Lors des sessions plénières, aussi bien que des conversations informelles avec d’autres participants, j’ai pu expliquer le travail de Caritas en Afrique et partager les idées sur plusieurs des questions avec lesquelles nous sommes tous confrontés. Etant donné la diversité des participants à la rencontre, c’était l’occasion de saisir les nombreuses opportunités pour le travail en réseau et j’ai pu établir un certain nombre de contacts qui pourraient être très utiles à l’avenir.

À la fin de la réunion, tous ont convenu qu’il est impératif d’avancer avec quelques initiatives pratiques et concrètes, en particulier, trouver des moyens pour travailler ensemble de sorte que l’on puisse développer des synergies qui amélioreraient le travail effectué pour les groupes les plus vulnérables de la société en s’assurant que des valeurs et des principes essentiels communs soient adoptés par tous les réseaux et organisations à vocation religieuse (FINO).

Katherine Marshall, Directeur de World Faiths Development Dialogue, et Quentin Wodon, Conseiller, Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics de la Banque Mondiale, ont donné l’assurance qu’ils veilleront à ce qu’il y ait un suivi concret des discussions et des délibérations qui ont eu lieu au cours de la rencontre de deux jours. Tous se sont sentis concernés pour améliorer leur prestation de service, pour accroître leurs campagnes de plaidoyer, pour chercher des partenariats et pour collaborer avec les gouvernements, les entreprises, la société civile et les ONG, y compris les FINO. Graeme Wheeler a été très positif en insistant sur la possibilité pour que la Banque Mondiale puisse aider les FINO. Le rôle joué par de telles organisations doit être mieux connu et elles peuvent influencer les décideurs de sorte que la situation difficile des groupes les plus vulnérables de la société soit effectivement et sensiblement réduite.

SE Théodore Cardinal McCarrick a donné une recette simple mais efficace qui peut considérablement aider les uns et les autres à travailler ensemble. Il a expliqué les cinq étapes à observer : les personnes doivent d’abord se parler, puis se dire des choses les uns aux autres de sorte que nous puissions tous nous comprendre, puis nous apprécier les uns les autres avant que nous puissions travailler ensemble. La rencontre d’Accra a fait un grand pas pour motiver les participants à mettre en pratique cette recette de cinq étapes, plus particulièrement après que Lord Carey ait rappelé en citant Edmond Burke, que « Personne n’a fait une plus grande erreur que celui qui n’a rien fait parce qu’il n’était capable que de peu de choses »

Jacques Dinan
Secrétaire Exécutif
Caritas Africa

5 juillet 2009

L’encyclique du Pape, « Caritas in Veritate » offre une nouvelle vision

July 9, 2009

English version: click here

Caritas Internationalis soutient l’accent mis sur le retour de l’éthique dans l’économie mondiale, comme stipulé dans l’encyclique du Pape Benoît XVI, « Caritas in Veritate » (L’Amour dans la Vérité).

Lesley-Anne Knight, la Secrétaire générale de Caritas Internationalis a déclaré : « Caritas in Veritate met en avant, à juste titre, la manière dont la recherche aveugle du profit au détriment de l’éthique est devenue nuisible au progrès, aux personnes et à la planète sur laquelle nous vivons. »

Selon le Pape Benoît XVI, c’est uniquement à travers la charité guidée par la foi et la raison qu’il est possible d’atteindre des objectifs de développement à valeur plus humaine et humanisante.

Il déclare : « Le risque de notre époque est que l’interdépendance de fait des personnes et des nations ne soit pas accompagnée d’une interaction des consciences et des esprits qui permettrait un véritable développement humain. »

Dans son encyclique, le Pape Benoît XVI affirme que tandis que certains états ont tiré profit au cours des quatre dernières décennies, « d’autres régions vivent toujours dans une situation de privations comparable à celle qui existait à l’époque de Paul VI, et dans certains cas, on peut même parler de dégradation. »

Le Pape dénonce la déréglementation des marchés et appelle à un rôle plus important de l’Etat et des dirigeants politiques dans l’économie, ainsi qu’un retour aux fondations éthiques de la finance. Il déclare : « L’articulation des autorités politiques au niveau local, national et international est l’un des meilleurs moyens d’ouvrir la voie au processus de la mondialisation économique. Il s’agit également de la manière de garantir que les fondations de la démocratie ne seront pas ébranlées. »

Le Pape Benoît XVI appelle à une aide plus conséquente et plus efficace : « L’aide économique, pour qu’elle soit consistante avec ses objectifs, ne doit pas avoir d’autres finalités. Elle doit être distribuée avec l’implication non seulement des gouvernements des pays bénéficiaires, mais aussi des agents économiques locaux et des diffuseurs de la culture au sein de la société civile, dont les Eglises locales. »

« Les pays les plus développés économiquement devraient faire tout ce qui est en leur pouvoir pour accorder des parts plus importantes de leur Produit National Brut à l’aide au développement, respectant ainsi les obligations imposées par la communauté internationale à cet effet. », affirme-t-il, en suggérant que les contribuables des pays les plus riches puissent décider de la manière dont ils octroient une partie de leurs impôts.

Le Pape a incité la communauté internationale à s’unir pour reconnaître « notre responsabilité solennelle à transmettre la terre aux générations futures dans des conditions qui leur permettent d’y vivre convenablement et de continuer à la cultiver. »

Selon lui, les gouvernements doivent « garantir que les coûts économiques et sociaux liés au partage des ressources écologiques soient reconnus avec transparence et entièrement pris en charge par ceux qui les contractent et non par les autres personnes ou les générations futures. »

Faith and Development Leaders’ Meeting – Accra, Ghana – 1-2 July 2009

July 7, 2009

Version française: cliquer ici

At the invitation of the World Bank, I participated on 1st and 2 July 2009 at Accra, Ghana, in a high level meeting of religious leaders on service delivery, poverty and development. The meeting, jointly organized by the World Bank’s Development Dialogue on Values and Ethics and the World Faiths Development Dialogue, was funded by the World Bank and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The meeting was a follow-up on four earlier meetings hosted at Lambeth Palace in London, England in 1998, 1999, and 2002, and most recently in Dublin, Ireland in 2005. Earlier meetings convened a wide range of faith and interfaith leaders, and sparked momentum for better coordination between the faith-based and mainstream development communities, exchanges of practices, and targeted advocacy for effective development policy and an increase in investments in development. A core conclusion of the 2005 Dublin meeting was that the next phase of dialogue should “look actively for a practical and better defined path forward for faith and development collaboration.”

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The Accra meeting was co-chaired by Graeme Wheeler, World Bank Managing Director, and Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury. There were some 80 participants including faith leaders, managers of faith-inspired organizations delivering services to the poor, government officials, representatives from donors and multilateral development organizations, foundations, and representatives from major interfaith organizations. The focus of the meeting was on Africa, including fragile states where development needs are highest and faith-inspired networks and organizations are the most active in service delivery. Representatives from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities actively participated in the discussions in a most cordial and open atmosphere conducive to mutual trust and understanding. Among the participants were Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington and Board Member of Catholic Relief Services, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, former Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Father Pol Feyen, a Don Bosco priest most active among the many street children in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and many other personalities coming from various religious denominations.

The Accra meeting had three main objectives: to take stock of the extensive and rich experience on the ground of faith-inspired networks and organizations in implementing development programs and policies; to discuss the role of religious leaders as advocates on strategic development issues at regional and global levels, with emphasis on how to scale up successful development programs and policies; and to identify clear ways forward for expanding analytical work, capacity development, and policy dialogue involving faith and development, especially for service delivery in education, health and social protection.

The participants have been able to acquire quite a lot of information from the background notes and case studies that had been prepared in advance of the meeting. They have consequently been in a position to have informed discussions on the roles played by faith-inspired networks and organizations in development programs and policies. It was very encouraging to note that the participants, although coming from extremely diverse background, were capable to reach common understandings of the various roles, practical and policy challenges, especially regarding relationships with partners such as governments and donors, and possible steps to increase and better document the impact of their work.

It is clear from the discussions that faith-based organisations are generally recognised for the quality of service they deliver. This is due to the commitment of those who work for such organisations as well as to the professional approach they adopt to ensure the effectiveness of their work. The social workers of these organisations obey to a set of values and ethics that enhance human dignity.

During the plenary sessions, as well as during informal conversations with other participants, I was able to explain the work of Caritas in Africa and share ideas on many of the issues with which we are all confronted. Given the diversity of participants in the meeting, there was ample opportunity for networking and I have been able to establish quite a number of contacts that may prove quite useful in future.

At the conclusion of the meeting, all agreed that it was imperative to move forward with some practical and concrete initiatives, in particular, to find ways and means of working together so that there could be developed a lot of synergy that would enhanced the work done for the most vulnerable groups of society while ensuring that common guiding values and principles be adopted by all Faith Inspired Networks and Organisations (FINOs).

Both Katherine Marshall, Director, World Faiths Development Dialogue, and Quentin Wodon, Advisor, Development Dialogue on values and Ethics, World Bank, gave the assurance that they will see to it that there is a concrete follow-up to the discussions and deliberations that have taken place during the two-day meeting. All felt committed to improve their service delivery, to enhance their advocacy campaigns, to seek partnerships and to work together with Governments, businesses, civil society and NGOs, including FINOs. Graeme Wheeler was very positive in insisting upon the possibility for the World Bank to help FINOs. The role played by such organisations needs to be better known and they can influence decision makers so that the plight suffered by the most vulnerable groups of society be effectively and significantly reduced.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick gave a simple and yet effective recipe that can considerably help one another to work together. He explained the five steps to be observed: people must first of all talk with one another, then talk to one another, so that we can all understand each other, then appreciate one another before we can work with one another. The Accra meeting has gone a long way towards motivating participants put into practice this five-step process, more particularly after having been reminded by Lord Carey, quoting Edmond Burke, that “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

Jacques Dinan
Executive Secretary
Caritas Africa

5 July 2009

Caritas Madagascar: la PANEC tient ses assises

July 7, 2009

La Plate forme des Acteurs Catholiques Non Etatiques ou PANEC a tenu ses assises le 12 Juin 2009 à l’Hôtel Panorama à Andrainarivo, Antananarivo Madagascar. Elle, comme son nom l’indique, regroupe toutes les entités catholiques n’appartenant pas à des organisations gouvernementales. Elle joue le rôle d’interface entre les acteurs catholiques et la Conférence Episcopale de Madagascar. Chacun des membres travaille dans ses activités propres suivant une coordination interne bien établie et travaillant pour un objectif commun basé sur la promotion humaine.

Une vue des participants lors de l’assise sur la PANEC.

Une vue des participants lors de l’assise sur la PANEC.

En outre deux éminents évêques ont été intronisés ces deux derniers mois à Madagascar. Le premier, celui de Fénérive-Est en la personne de Son Exc. Mgr Marcellin RANDRIAMAMONJY et le second à Port-Bergé, Son Exc. Mgr Georges VARKEY, Evêque Coadjuteur du diocèse. Le rajeunissement des Evêques des diocèses vise la redynamisation des activités pastorales des diocèses et contribuent aussi à l’épanouissement des différents acteurs dans le domaine socio caritatif. Nous prions le Bon Dieu de nous envoyer des clergés dévoués et des laïcs responsables pour Son règne sur la terre.

Aussi, faudrait-il mentionner que la situation politique à Madagascar n’est pas toujours au beau fixe vu les différentes circonstances et les guéguerres des politiciens de l’ancien régime et ceux qui soutiennent la Haute Autorité de la Transition (HAT). Néanmoins, la vie de la population suit son cours normal et la recherche de solutions pacifiques, pour le bien de la patrie suit son bonhomme de chemin. Vivement tout le monde souhaite une issue favorable à cette impasse où le pays est plongé.