Austen IvereighSeptember 03, 2010

In Nairobi, Kenya, a Vatican communications official attending a workshop organised by the African bishops has called for something the African Catholic Church does not yet have: a continental news service.

Catholics in Asia have the excellent UCAN. Latin-Americans have the redoubtable ACI Prensa. The US, of course, has the Catholic equivalent of Reuters, CNS. The Australians have CathNews. And so on.

But the African Church has no equivalent.

As someone who used to scour these sites looking for stories for The Tablet's international "Church in the World" section, I know what the effect of this lacuna is: Africa remains, for Catholics in the West, the dark continent. Stories about Africa tend to come from the news reports of missionary organisations, or through the secular media. But mostly they don't come at all.

Honeymooning in Tanzania recently, I glimpsed the vast, fascinating, prophetic and holy world of the Catholic Church there, and realised how ignorant I was of it. And how it was all but impossible to correct that back at my desk in London.

So here's my message to the African Church -- and I'm sure I speak on behalf of all my colleagues in America and of Catholic journalists across the English-speaking world:

Africa Catholic News Service: YES PLEASE.

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Jim McCrea
11 years 1 month ago
Did not the Comboni Fathers have a new service that at least purported to report the news of Africa at large?  I don't know if what I think I remember even exists any more.

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