In view of the September 25 – 27 New-York Summit for the adoption of a “post-2015 global development agenda”, the Catholic Bishops of Africa and Madagascar have released a timely and incisive statement in which they warn of the consequences of the cultural imperialism exercised by the UN in the name of “sustainable development”. They denounce the “development agenda” promoted by certain western NGOs and governments as a new form of slavery, driven by the “helpers” perverse and selfish interest.
Although not explicitly mentioned, one of the main addressees of this statement is the European Commission, which administers the world’s biggest development aid budget.
As true shepherds, the bishops enjoy a far greater credibility than any NGO or UN Agency. Their message will therefore, at least in Africa, resound strongly and widely.
Common Declaration of the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar
Given the current developments on the African continent, in view of the September 25 – 27
New-York Summit for the adoption of a “post-2015 global development agenda”
Respect, Love and Serve Africa in Truth!
1. To our African Heads of States and Governments,
To the Secretary General of the United Nations,
To the Heads of States and Governments with whom our countries have signed bilateral and multilateral agreements,
To the officials of pan-African institutions,
To the officials of International Organizations,
To partners in global governance and development donors,
To the sons and daughters of our beloved African continent,
2. We, the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar, here represented by the Presidents of our Episcopal Conferences, or by the bishops they mandated, animated by a great love for God and for all human beings, placing our confidence in Divine Providence which makes all things work together for the good of those who search for God, closely linked, together with the universal Church, to the entire human family, believe it to be our duty before the Almighty, in this critical hour of international cooperation, to make the following pressing appeal to all, but particularly to political leaders and international organizations officials:
3. Have the courage and commit to respect, love and serve Africa in truth! Do not be afraid to open yourselves to the human and spiritual contribution that the African continent can offer humanity at the hour when moral decadence has produced in other continents ills that we, Africans, do not want! Protect and defend the age-old values of our continent! As a matter of priority, search for and serve the good of her sons and daughters! Do not give in to the triple seduction of pleasure, money, and power!
4. We are all wounded in the depths of our hearts as Pastors by the attacks against life, the family, all that is sacred, the healthy human development of our youth who are the future of Africa, the full blossoming of women and respect for our elderly – realities of which our African cultures have such a keen sense. Selfish and perverse interests are imposing themselves on our continent with a speed that keeps on accelerating, with unabated aggressiveness, in an ever more organized and powerfully financed manner, introducing individualism and hedonism, both of which are so foreign to what we are and want to be, into our societies.
5. We therefore implore you to end the filthy campaigns that promote a civilization of death on our continent. This has to do with a terrifying resurgence of a colonialist spirit under the guise of the appealing names of liberty, equality, rights, autonomy, democratization and development. Condoms, contraceptives, sex education programs fabricated elsewhere, purely technical and deprived of moral content, so-called “safe abortions”, have become commodities that are more accessible to Africans than the way of delivering integral development, of which we have such a vital need. It can no longer be denied that under the euphemism of “sexual and reproductive health and rights”, such programs are plainly imposed as a condition for development assistance. Such is also the case of the so-called “gender perspective,” according to which motherhood, the filial and nuptial identity of the human being and the family based on marriage between a man and a woman would be “discriminatory stereotypes.” No! Women and men in Africa are not mere individuals, autonomous from their parents, spouses, children: women, men, children, we are all persons, created out of love and for love, and we all belong to a family and a community, vitally, ontologically and emotionally united!
6. Africans are becoming aware of the ongoing manipulation. Africa is not developing in harmony with her soul. The agents of the civilization of death are using ambivalent language, seducing decision-makers and entire populations, in order to make them partners in the pursuit of their ideological objectives. They are coopting a great many in partnerships of which they are, in reality, the masters. They take advantage of poverty, weakness and ignorance in order to subject peoples and governments to their blackmail.
7. We, African Pastors, do not want Africans to be reduced to “servile partners.” This is a new type of slavery! We want the dignity of our people to be respected. No! Africa is not a great potential market for the pharmaceutical industry of contraceptives and condoms. Yes! Africa is populated by men, women and children endowed with a transcendent dignity and a magnificent and eternal vocation. The African people have an irreplaceable mission towards humanity today. They are loved by God! As Pope Benedict XVI solemnly declared, “Today Africa is the spiritual lung of humanity.” Now that over 50 years have passed since the decolonization of our territories, is it not high time that the peoples of Africa freely self-determine and offer their specific cultural riches to humanity?
8. Now we observe with profound pain that our pan-African institutions have been, since their creation, under the yoke of neo-colonizing lobbies. In 2003, these lobbies made the newly formed African Union adopt the Protocol to the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the first international treaty to shamefully recognize abortion as a right of women. While it was mandated to represent, serve and make the African peoples be respected, the African Union sold their sovereignty for a lentil stew and a pitiful “technical help” coming from abroad and highly toxic for Africa. In ten years’ time, 48 of the 54 African states, under relentless pressure, have signed the Maputo Protocol, and 36 of these have already ratified it. Determined to have it enforced, these same transnational partners of contraception and abortion have exerted their influence at the level of the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights, “the monitoring body” for the application of the treaties and protocols of the African Union by State-parties.
9. African Pastors have taken note of the General Comment N° 2 on Article 14.1 (a), (b), (c), and (f) and Article 14.2 (a) and (c) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, that the Commission has adopted in May 2014. We note with the greatest concern the determination of the true authors of this comment – the transnational “reproductive rights” lobby – to put everything in place for State-parties to the Protocol to legalize or de-penalize medical abortions, or to revisit restrictive laws so as to enlarge them; to ensure “universal access” to the “full range” of modern contraceptives; to suppress any barrier to reproductive healthcare services that they consider “founded on ideologies and beliefs” (25); that they integrate reproductive health in school programs (52), and sexual and reproductive rights in civic education (60); that they sensitize religious leaders and traditional chiefs on the sexual and reproductive rights of women (44); that they guarantee the availability of comprehensive sex education for adolescents (51), etc. By what right do western NGOs, who only represent their own ideological interests, claim to legally bind African states to their world vision? Why such a programing and will to pollute and pervert, extending throughout the African continent?
10. We, African Pastors, are aware that pressures come everywhere and are not only juridical. They are also cultural, political, financial and economic. The political declarations adopted these past decade, at the level of the African Union, contain the same agenda. The Addis-Ababa Declaration on Population and Development in Africa beyond 2014, adopted by all of our countries, with the exception of Chad, is the last one to date. The Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa actively promotes contraception as a means to reduce maternal mortality! Preceding it, the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, had been entirely dictated by the agents of the western sexual revolution. These political and economic pressures have but one objective: the drastic control and reduction of the African population, the planned destruction of marriage and the family. We Africans must categorically say No to this plan, which is killing our continent. Pope Francis exhorts us to “be on guard against colonization by new ideologies. There are forms of ideological colonization which are out to destroy the family. They are not born of dreams, of prayers, of closeness to God or the mission which God gave us; they come from without, and for that reason I am saying that they are forms of colonization. Let’s not lose the freedom of the mission which God has given us, the mission of the family. Just as our peoples, at a certain moment of their history, were mature enough to say “no” to all forms of political colonization, so too in our families we need to be very wise, very shrewd, very strong, in order to say “no” to all attempts at an ideological colonization of our families.” Hence how can we not deplore the inclusion of “comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education for all” (par. 41) and “universal access to comprehensive sexual reproductive health and reproductive rights” (par. 42) in the African Union’s Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda?
11. The billions of dollars allotted to the production and distribution of condoms and contraceptives and to the establishment of sex-education programs that do not respect universal moral norms are a scandal that cries to heaven for vengeance, a new slavery at the service of the idol “money”. The objective that is clearly being pursued is, inter alia, the efficient control of demographic growth in Africa, according to the western “model”, which has become a zero growth model in Europe today.
12. The hour has come to demystify what global governance calls “national ownership” and “country-driven” initiatives. No, these agendas are by no means African! They are, from A to Z, piloted by agents external to Africa: from the introduction of normative “development” concepts such as “gender” or “reproductive health” to the drafting of political and juridical documents, then to their adoption and implementation and ultimately to monitoring their implementation. We call upon the responsibility of Africans who, bought by money, collaborate with these hideous and deadly agendas. We urge political and religious leaders, who have the heavy task of leading and protecting our African populations, to study with attention and analyze with great care and a sense of responsibility the documents, strategies and development programs of global governance. These documents, even though they appear, in their external presentation and formulation, to procure elements of well-being and prosperity for all, are in reality real programs of destruction of the poor and humanity’s values, and not of a development that would respect the dignity and sacredness of the human person and the well-being of the family, when they integrate, often in hidden ways, the agenda of the western sexual revolution.
13. We, African Pastors, note today with profound sadness that the post-2015 agenda for global development, in its present state of elaboration, continues in the direction set at the Cairo and Beijing conferences and that, twenty years after these conferences, the partnerships that have been established have become a powerful political and financial force. But such “partnerships”, in which our governments and populations so easily engage, have in fact robbed Africans of their sovereign liberty and betrayed their trust!
14. We, the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar, know that our concerns are shared by the members of other religious confessions present in Africa: Christians, Muslims and followers of traditional religions. They are also those of our peoples, rooted in cultures that celebrate the beauty and sacredness of life and the family. Authors and partners – African or foreign – of so-called “sexual liberation” agendas, listen to the voice of your conscience! Wake up your conscience! Remember that every human person will have to render an account of their actions before God.
15. In a letter to the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I (491-518) written in 494, the African Pope Saint Gelasius wrote: “Most Pius Emperor, I ask you not to judge as arrogance one that is responsible to the Divine truth. I hope that it will not be said of the Roman Emperor that he does not suffer to hear the truth when it is recounted to him. There are two powers, August Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority of the priests and the royal power. Of these that of the priests is the more weighty, since they have to render an account for even the kings of men in the divine judgment. You are also aware, dear son, that while you are permitted honorably to rule over human kind, yet in things divine you bow your head humbly before the leaders of the clergy and await from their hands the means of your salvation.”
16. The State and international organizations are bound to respect that which all men and women can recognize as real, true, and good in their conscience and in their heart. They are bound to honor the transcendence, centrality and superiority in value of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, of maternity and life, and of religion. They are bound to serve the people as they are and want to be, rooted in a rich diversity of cultures. May development policies radically change direction in this sense!
17. Our wishes, our desire, our prayer, our pastoral labors are that in this era of globalization, Africa will today offer humanity its unique and irreplaceable contribution, according to the gifts she has received from God and are properly hers.
Accra (Ghana), 8-11 June 2015