Papal visit matters for all Africans, Cardinal says

Pope Francis’ visit to Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic is relevant to all of Africa, Durban’s Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has said. 

 “I am deeply convinced that the Pope’s visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic will impact the whole of Africa,” the cardinal said in an interview, adding, “What the Holy Father said in those three countries reflects much of what we, as Africans, would have wanted him to say.”

The cardinal cited the Pope’s call to promote peace and care for the sick, poor and marginalised as reflecting the kind of message that the bishops of southern Africa would like to hear addressed to their countries. 

Cardinal Napier also described as “another important aspect of the visit” the Pope’s acknowledgment of the role of lay Catholics, especially our catechists. 

“Most of them are men and catechists can be a positive model for youngsters and for young adults,” the cardinal said, asserting that “This is most important in South Africa where young men have no good models to follow.”

Commenting on recent anti-immigrant violence in South Africa, the cardinal said the problem “has not been solved,” warning that “it has only been swept under the carpet and is ready to re-explode”, and observing that “when the majority of people live in poverty there is always a temptation to take it out on the even more disadvantaged”.