ETHIOPIA:  Synodality Extends Beyond Religious Institutions, Says AU Deputy Chief

By Paschal Norbert

ADDIS ABABA, MARCH 3, 2023 (CISA)- “Synodality is an essential principle of the Catholic Church and its relevance extends beyond religious institutions. Synodality emphasizes the importance of inclusivity and dialogue in decision making processes. It also has a potential to contribute to addressing the various challenges of the African continent,” stated Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission.

Dr Nsanzabaganwa was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Africa Synodal Continental Assembly organized by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from March 1 to 6. She highlighted the challenges that the continent is facing today: poverty, inequality and climate change among others, which pose a threat to the peace and security of Africa can be solved through the spirit of synodality.

She explained, “These challenges require collective efforts to find sustainable solutions that benefit all members of society. Synodality, therefore, provides a framework for engaging in dialogue and cooperation, ensuring that all voices are heard while promoting inclusivity and participation at the African Union and the African Union Commission in particular we are committed to promote peace, security and sustainable development on our continent. Synodality can complement these efforts. By fostering greater unity and cooperation among different groups and communities. We believe that creativity, participation in dialogue, are some of the critical values that can help us overcome the challenges we in Africa face today. And by embracing these values, we can work together to build a better future for our continent.”

In line with the AU 2063 vision for a Free Continental Common Trade Area, the Rwandan diplomat rallied the delegates in the continental assembly to use the platform to foster greater understanding, cooperation and unity on the continent.

“We understand very well that there’s no way we can be trading if there isn’t peace in our homes and in our families if our borders are not open to brothers and sisters from neighbours if we are not able to harness the youth, the women and everyone’s energy to produce so that we can develop the content,” said Dr Nsanzabaganwa.

“This Synodality is an opportune moment for your constituents, which is a key one in the ecosystem of the continent to make sure that you devise means and ways to move the house, the brains and the minds, and also the arms of the people on the continent, to work together to own our destiny and to welcome one another as we promote trade on the continent,” she added.

About 200 delegates have gathered in Addis Ababa: cardinals, archbishops, bishops, consecrated men and women, lay people (men, women and youth), seminarians, novices and representatives of other faith groups.

The Africa Synodal Continental Assembly is a continuation of the two working sessions held in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya, to prepare the draft of the African Synod Document. The assembly aims at engaging the delegates from the Church in Africa to enable them to continue with the dialogue and discernment process on the pastoral issues that were captured in the Working Document for the Continental Stage (DCS), a synthesis of the reports that the universal Church submitted to the General Secretariat of the Synod in Rome.