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No. 6644

CatholicHerald.co.uk



‘HELP US SAVE OUR NATION’

Archbishop from Central African Republic appeals for urgent help during visit to London 

January 31 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

BY ED WEST

THE MOST SENIOR Catholic leader in the Central African Republic (CAR) has urged the British Government to help restore order to a country devastated by a year- long civil war.

Speaking in London on Tuesday Arch- bishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga urged Britain to lobby for a United Nations peacekeeping force in the country, which has been torn apart by rival warlords. The Archbishop of Bangui was visiting Europe on a peace mission with Imam Omar Kabine Layama, meeting parlia- mentarians and government ministers.

Archbishop Nzapalainga, who has been involved in peace mediation since January last year, said the situation had become desperate. He said that in his diocese “a lot of hospitals have shortages. There have been a lot of clashes between groups, [there are] a lot of injured, wounded, and people are being treated under tents. No school is running, and a lot of young people are now with their parents out in the bush, where they are confronted with terri- ble situations. They have no food. [There are] snakes and diseases”.

The war began in December 2012 when the Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim rebel groups, captured towns in the centre and east of the country. Seleka rebels under the command of Michel Djodotia, including militia and mercenaries from Chad and Sudan, overthrew the regime of CAR president François Bozizé la st year. Local militias formed to fight t he Seleka, known as the anti-Balaka, ha ve also been, involved in atrocities, large ly against Muslim minorities, according to Amnesty International. Last month Fran ce sent 1,500 peacekeepers, joining 5,0 00 African Union peacekeepers in t he countr s. The archbishop said: “Because of t he security issue a lot of the humanitaria ns can’t reach the people in the bush. Th ey [the militias] have no respect for huma n- itarian workers. In the previous cris is humanitarians used to be respected b ut now we have reached a new level whi ch leaves us speechless. The Seleka we nt into the hospitals to drag patients out in order to kill them and the anti-Bala ka were stopping sick people from going in to hospita



even have clothes to change into. A lot of children are running around, and what can we do to feed all these children? They have nothing to eat. They want to get back to their own culture.”

The archbishop said that he and the imam were “touring Europe and Britain to secure the support of the UK government to support a security mission led by the UN. We delivered a message to the prime minister. We would like a UN presence. We’re trying to prevent a general wors- ening of the situation.”

Although foreign media have labelled the conflict as inter-religious, both leaders stressed the conflict had nothing to do with religion, but was part of a power struggle in the region.

The archbishop said the two groups were led by warlords rather than priests or imams and that “they’re not fighting over the Bible or Koran. They are fighting because they want to take revenge for a relative, because their houses are burned down and everything is looted.”

y. He added: “The media made shortcu ts to say it was Christians versus Muslim s, but when you hand out microphones to these people they never say they do it f or religious reason of “They are warlords and have no resp ect for civilian authority which is why in a UN mandate we want soldiers and the me ans to reconstruct the country. The admin is- tration is all over the plac l. The anti-Balaka has been formed in 1990 as a vigilante group, and some of i ts soldiers believe themselves to be invinc i- ble on account of magic potions. Ma ny Christians blame their Muslim neighbou rs for the pillaging and violence of the Selek a, although the religious leaders said th ey had also attacked Muslims and that t he Seleka soldiers do not even speak Fren ch or any of the native language e.” Imam Omar Kabine Layama sa id: “There was a church protecting Musl ims and in some neighbourhoods as w ell Muslims are protecting churche s.” He continued: “If we don’t act quic kly then the whole house will burn do wn. With all the crises the country has g one through it has become a powder keg. Th ere is no security, there is no administrati on, there is no longer an army, no police. The UN could restore this countr s. “A lot of people in the camps have not h- ing. They have left their houses and th ey have no food and sometimes they don

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x. Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga speaks to the faithful at a Sunday Mass in Bangui, Central African Republic AP Photo/Jerome De lay Cardinal calls bishop

y.” Plymouth a true pas

’t The CAR, which is almost three tim es the size of Britain and home to 4.4 milli on people, is 180th out of 186 countries on t he UN Human Development Inde ne.   

u er e.” BISHOP Mark O’ Toole was ordained as Bishop of P ly- mouth on Tuesday at the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Boniface, be- coming the first bishop to be installed in the dioc ese for 25 yea st, Eme

 

rs. “He said, ‘Be careful t hat the candidates are past ors close to the people, fath ers and brothers, that they are gentle, patient and mercif ul, animated by inner pover ty, the freedom of the Lord and also by simplicity and a

BY STAFF REPOR TER kind of bishops-to-be t hat they should choo se. friends, it is with great c on- fidence that today I c om- mend Bishop Mark to you who I know will be the k ind of bishop Pope Francis is speaking of. He comes t o a great diocese with a gr eat tradition. You may be c on- fident that you are receiv ing a bishop who indeed w ill watch over the flock and imbue hope, that you w ill have the sun and light in your hearts to lovingly s up- port the plan God has for His peopl s- Cardinal Cormac M ur- terity of lif e.’ on, ‘Above all, the bis hop must watch over the flo ck, to keep watch, to im bue hope, that they have the sun and light in their hearts to lovingly support the pl ans God has for his people .’” phy-O’ Connor, the tus Archbishop of Westminster, said in his homily that the appoi nt- ment would please P ope Franc is. A nd he g oes The Cardinal said: “I was very interested to read of Pope Francis’s words to papal nuncios about the The Cardinal paid trib ute to his former private sec re- tary, saying: “My d ear He urged Bishop O’To ole to lead the people of Plymouth “to that mat ure faith in Jesus Chri

  

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r to: It represents the latest public re la- tions victory for the Pope, who was named Time’s man of the year of 2013 and has been lauded by the secular media. In the 8,000-w ord cover story, headlined “Pope Fr an- cis: The Times They Are A- Changin’”, Rolling Stone contrib ut- ing editor Mark Binelli argues t hat Francis has launched a “gen tle revolution” in the Chur

BY ED W EST TELEVISION and radio pers on- alities Adrian Chiles and Frank Skinner have won £32,000 for Cafod, the ov er- seas aid agency of the Catholic Church of Engl and and Wal es. The pair appeared o n a charity edition of the ITV game show Who Wants To Be A Millionai re? to the Church in his late 20s after beating alcoholism, is one of the few ope nly Catholic comedians in Britain and attends F arm Street church in Mayfa ir, where his son was bapti sed in 2012. Last year he t old Jesuit and Friends ma ga- zine about his love of Ig na- tian spirituali

 

org They reached the si xth round of questions, winn ing the sum for the charit y’s work in Sierra Leone and elsewhe re. In November Mr Chi les traveled around Guatem ala and El Salvador with the charity to promote its Wo rld Gifts programme, in wh ich poor families are gi ven chicke ns. Cafod has supplie d a billion litres of water in the Philippines, where it is he lp- ing the country reco ver from the Novem ber typho on. Mr Skinner, who retur

EST Summarising the article, the magazine said: “What he lear ned was that Pope Francis is makin g a noticeable break from Vatican tra di- tion, facing political issues head -on and presenting a more all-inc lu- sive attitude toward human right s – and that Catholics are appreciati ve. “In less than a year since his papacy began, Pope Francis has done much to separate himself f rom past popes and establish hims elf as a people’s pop v h



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