North Africans Critique Synod Paper

As preparations continue for the Synod of Bishops for Africa in October, some portions of the African church are concerned that their experiences are not reflected in the synod’s instrumentum laboris, or working document. Bishops, clergy and pastoral workers in North Africa say that the Vatican does not seem to recognize that they face different challenges than sub-Saharan Africa. Among those concerned are Catholics in Africa’s Maghreb region, which includes Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, as well as Catholics in Libya and Mauritania. According to Bishop Maroun Lahham of Tunisia (right), the North African bishops’ conference had sent a letter to the synod planners urging them to take into account the unique situation of the church in the north. Yet when Bishop Lahham read the working paper for the synod, he said, “I have to say I didn’t find myself or this church” reflected in them.

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