LUANDA JULY 22, 2016(CISA)-The government of Angola has called for closer collaboration and cooperation between the Church and state to realize, “a more just and morally upright society.”
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 17th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) July 20, Vice-President of Angola, Manuel Vicente said that there was need for the two bodies to condemn violence, the abuse of children, immorality and other vices in society and the family.
“We live in world of complexities and ideologies so much so that what happens in one part of the world has direct or indirect effect on the family and society in general in other parts of it,” Vatican Radio quoted Vicente as saying.
He eluded hope that Church in Africa will continue to support the State in promoting moral values, human rights, mutual respect, democracy and good governance.
The Assembly was officially opened by the President of SECAM, Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Lubango, Angola, who also gave a brief history of SECAM. The theme of the Plenary is “The family in Africa, yesterday, today, and tomorrow: in the light of the gospel.”
He celebrated Observer Status obtained by SECAM in the African Union (AU) as an opportunity for mutual enrichment of the two bodies.
The Archbishop said that he was hopeful, “there will be closer relations between SECAM and the various Governments in Africa through the AU.”
The opening ceremony was preceded by the celebration of the Eucharist at the Holy Family Parish in Luanda. About 150 participants comprising Cardinals; Bishops; Secretaries General of National and Regional Episcopal Conferences in Africa; Resource Persons; representatives of Partner Agencies and other Continental Episcopal Conferences are attending the Assembly.
The Plenary Assembly is taking place in Luanda, Angola from, July 18 to 25, 2016. This is the first time that SECAM is holding its Plenary Assembly in Angola since the Symposium was founded in Kampala, Uganda in July 1969.
The last Plenary Assembly was held in July 2013 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo under the theme: The Church in Africa at the service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.