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We’re All Africans Now

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By CHRISTOPHER MANION

The fallout from Fiducia Supplicans, the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made public on December 18, has entered a new phase. As an increasing number of bishops’ conferences, individual prelates, and now the unified bishops of Africa have gone on the record against its implementation, the controversy has gone beyond the realm of theology to the world of culture.

On December 20, two days after the document appeared, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu, archbishop of Kinshasa and president of SECAM (Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar), requested that member conferences of SECAM offer their opinions of the document. On January 11, having received their responses, he stated the views of the bishops of Africa in a public statement.

“The ambiguity of this declaration, which lends itself to many interpretations and manipulations, raises a lot of perplexity among the faithful, and I believe that as pastors of the Church in Africa, we must speak clearly on this issue to provide clear guidance to our Christians,” he wrote.

Clearly the same could be said regarding countless other Vatican statements and actions made since 2013, but this time around, the bishops of the fastest-growing Church in the world go on the record with a historic and unanimous affirmation of the truths of the Faith.

“The Episcopal Conferences across Africa, which have strongly reaffirmed their communion with Pope Francis, believe that the extra-liturgical blessings proposed in the Declaration Fiducia supplicans cannot be carried out in Africa without exposing themselves to scandals.”

Suddenly the law of cause-and-effect emerges like rain on a parched desert, bringing relief not only to Africa but the world.

The Vatican document has caused a “shockwave” of “misconceptions and unrest in the minds of many lay faithful, consecrated persons, and even pastors, and has aroused strong reactions,” Cardinal Ambongo writes. “For this reason, we, the African Bishops, do not consider it appropriate for Africa to bless homosexual unions or same-sex couples because, in our context, this would cause confusion and would be in direct contradiction to the cultural ethos of African communities,” he writes. “The language of Fiducia supplicans remains too subtle for simple people to understand. Furthermore, it remains very difficult to be convincing that people of the same sex who live in a stable union do not claim the legitimacy of their own status.”

And why? Because “the constant teaching of the Church describes homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered’,” he writes, with reference to Persona Humana, the Vatican’s 1975 Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics.

Catholic Culture Confronts Vatican Ideology

On January 13, AciAfrica news reported the views of Pope Francis shared at a gathering of Catholic priests from the Diocese of Rome in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Fiducia Supplicans will not be implemented in Africa, he said, “because the culture does not accept it.”

So, it is the culture, and not the truths of the Faith, that causes the Church in Africa to reject Fides Supplicans.

Or perhaps because the culture of the African Church is a Catholic culture?

Consider the Pope’s statement in light of his comments just three days after the publication of Fides Supplicans, describing the duties of Holy See hierarchy during his annual Christmas greeting in St. John Lateran:

“It is important to keep advancing and growing in their understanding of the truth. Fearfully sticking to rules may give the appearance of avoiding problems but only ends up hurting the service that the Vatican Curia is called to give the Church,” he said.

“Let us remain vigilant against rigid ideological positions that often, under the guise of good intentions, separate us from reality and prevent us from moving forward,” he continued. “We are called instead to set out and journey, like the Magi, following the light that always desires to lead us on, at times along unexplored paths and new roads.”

That palaver bears the turpid touch of Tucho — no doubt about it.

Africa is a “special case” to our Peronist Pope. Its promise to be the world’s most thriving Church of the future clearly collides with the Pope’s gnostic vision. Once more, the Pontiff pretends to refine even the most blatant of callous contradictions with an unctuous invocation of thinly veiled epithets plainly designed to demean and ridicule the faithful who are loyal to the tradition of the Church.

Repeatedly he indulges in casual but cancerous ambiguities: “all are welcome,” “irregular,” “judgmental,” “fearful” — the list is endless, and it is tiresome.

And there is precedent. Before there was “synodality,” there were “regular” synods, and in 2015 we already saw seeds of the planned chaos that now engulfs a large swath of the Church’s discussion of morality.

The 2015 Ordinary Synod of Bishops was held to address the challenges to the family in the modern world. However, according to Matthew McCusker of Voice of the Family, many attendees spent little time and effort to protect and preserve the family, while they did everything they could to destroy it.

Issues like “abortion, IVF, embryo experimentation, euthanasia, assisted suicide, anti-life, anti-family sex education, attacks on parental rights and the increasing threat to the civil freedom of citizens of many Western nations who wish to live lives faithful to the Catholic faith and the natural law” — all of them front and center in the Culture of Death’s attack on the family — were ignored.

Instead, the attendees wanted to undermine marriage (Holy Communion for the “divorced and civilly remarried”), undermine Humanae Vitae, urge open minds on contraception, reduce the indissolubility of marriage to the level of an “ideal,” suggest that cohabitation has “positive aspects,” adopt secular notions of “gender equality” and acquiescing in the need for “a rethinking of the duties of the spouses, and, finally, to deny the full rights of parents as the primary educators of their children.”

The Meaning Of Words

“The first priority of reconstructing a society in ruins is to restore the proper meaning of words” — Confucius

But most interesting was McCusker’s description of the synod’s efforts to change language itself, the better to conform to the realities of, yes, the culture — the secular culture.
On the opening day of the synod, Fr. Thomas Rosica, spokesman for the Holy See, stated the goals of the radicals: “There must be an end to exclusionary language,” he said. “The Jubilee of Mercy also requires a new form of language, both public and private. [It] requires a language of mercy….The language of inclusion must be our language, always considering pastoral and canonical possibilities and solutions.”

Rosica’s prime targets were “intrinsically disordered,” most specifically with reference to homosexuality, and “indissolubility.”

These were terms deemed unsuitable for our current age and in need of being replaced by “pastoral” and “merciful” language without changing her underlying teachings, Rosica said.

Many bishops in attendance, especially those from Eastern Europe and Africa, opposed these efforts, of course, and the result was predictable: ambiguity, designed to shock, dismay, and discourage defenders of the Faith while emboldening its destroyers.

So now we have Tucho’s scarcely disguised outrage of Fiducia Supplicans repudiated by the most thriving Church in the world.

If it’s the culture, count me in.

We’re all Africans now.

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