CAMEROON: Cardinal Sarah Encourages African Scholars to Defend Against Western Skepticism and Relativism in African Universities

By Wesley Omondi

OBALA, JUNE 7, 2024 (CISA)— In a stirring address to priests, religious and lay students at St. Cyprien Theological School in the Diocese of Obalain April 2024, Cardinal Robert Sarah underscored the vital role of Catholic universities in the relentless pursuit of truth.
Drawing from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sarah called on students to embrace their vocation with unwavering dedication to truth and justice.

The Guinean Cardinal quoted Pope Benedict XVI, “The original vocation of the university is the search for truth, the entire truth of our being.” He emphasized that this pursuit is not merely academic but a profound journey towards understanding humanity and our relationship with God. This, he noted, is the cornerstone of a solid culture and the antidote to the relativism that threatens to erode societal values.

Highlighting the consequences of abandoning truth, Cardinal Sarah warned, “Without being oriented towards truth, without an attitude of humble and courageous search for truth, all culture disintegrates.”He drew parallels to the rise of Nazi ideology in Benedict XVI’s youth, illustrating how the rejection of truth can lead to the most devastating forms of tyranny and violence.

Cardinal Sarah’s message resonated deeply with the African context. He urged the academic community to resist the infiltration of Western scepticism and relativism, which he described as a threat to the intellectual and moral integrity of African society.

“The African academic world must be careful not to be contaminated by the diseases of the mind that the West would like to impose on it,” he cautioned.

Benedict XVI’s address to African ambassadors in 2012 was a focal point in Cardinal Sarah’s speech. The late pope had emphasized the necessity of educating youth in truth to secure the future of humanity. Cardinal Sarah echoed this sentiment, urging African academics to passionately seek and uphold the truth, positioning it as the foundation for justice and unity.

The Cardinal also emphasized the symbiotic relationship between faith and culture. He praised the rich cultural heritage of Africa and its potential to foster a renaissance in arts, literature, philosophy, and science when aligned with the pursuit of truth in Christ.

“By seeking the truth made man in Jesus Christ, you will give birth to a new African culture,” he proclaimed.

Cardinal Sarah addressed the unique mission of African universities, particularly Catholic institutions, in this endeavour. He argued that faith should not be seen as an obstacle but as a guiding light that extends the horizon of human thought and development. He urged African academics to be proud of their Catholic identity, using it to counteract destructive ideologies and practices such as the culture of death and gender theory.

The Cardinal concluded with a powerful call to action, invoking the words of St. Pope John Paul II, “Do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept His power! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!” He emphasized that Africa’s rootedness in its traditions and the Christian faith positions it uniquely to illuminate the world with the light of Christ.