The National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) has reaffirmed its stance on sexuality that marriage is between a man and a woman.
This comes after Pope Francis, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, recently allowed priests to bless same-sex couples.
According to a document issued by the Vatican recently, Pope Francis said priests should be permitted to bless same-sex and “irregular” couples, under certain circumstances.
However, in a statement issued on 21 December, the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Cameroon) denounced the new position announced by Pope Francis, saying homosexuality is an abomination. Read the statement:
DECLARATION OF THE BISHOPS OF CAMEROON ON HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE BLESSING OF “HOMOSEXUAL COUPLES”
Faced with the semantic abuses designed to distort the value of realities and the true meaning of the notions of family, couple, spouse, sexuality and marriage;
Faced with the wave of indignation, questioning and concern that the Declaration “Fiducia supplicans” on the question of the blessing of same-sex couples has aroused among the people of God;
For the sake of human dignity and the salvation of all humanity in Jesus Christ; We, the Bishops of Cameroon, unanimously declare the following on the subject of homosexuality and the blessing of “homosexual couples”:
1. In conformity with our 2013 Declaration on Homosexuality, we strongly reaffirm the truth of the Church, Mother and Educator, which teaches the sacredness of the sexual identity of man and woman created in the image of God (Gn 1:26), of the dignity of their sexuality and of marriage which is the foundation of the family. The human person is created male and female: “Male and female he created them” (Gn 1:26). This invariable difference, which is the foundation of their relationship and their complementarity, is fulfilled in the bonds of marriage.
2. Homosexuality falsifies and corrupts human anthropology and trivialises sexuality, marriage and the family, the foundations of society. In the African culture, this practice is not part of family and social values. It is a flagrant violation of the heritage bequeathed to us by our ancestors. In the history of people, the practice of homosexuality has never led to societal evolution but is a clear sign of the imploding decadence of civilizations. Homosexuality sets humanity against itself and destroys it.
3. The profound identity of sexuality is misunderstood, hijacked and perverted outside the conjugal relationship between man and woman. Consequently, homosexual acts are not “sexual”, but “acts against nature” (Rm 1, 26).
4. Marriage is an institution that legitimizes sexual relations and procreation for the foundation of a new family. It is the union of a man and a woman who commit themselves to the life of a couple, to find a family and to live together in love. Homosexual unions are not marriages. They distort the meaning of marriage by reducing it to a sterile, pleasure-seeking and perverse bond: “infamy between man and man” (Rom 1:26).
5. Homosexuality is not a human right. It is an alienation that seriously harms humanity because it is not based on any value proper to the human being: it is a dehumanization of love, “an abomination”. (Lev, 18, 22). Rejecting it is in no way being discriminative; it is a legitimate protection of the constant values of humanity in the face of a vice that has become the subject of a claim to legal recognition and, today, the subject of a blessing.
6. Literally, “To bless is to speak well of”. And to “speak well of” to gain grace through the gesture of blessing a “homosexual couple” would be tantamount to encouraging a choice and a practice of life that cannot be recognised as being objectively ordered to the revealed designs of God. What is more, differentiating between liturgical and non-liturgical contexts to apply the blessing to same-sex “couples” is hypocritical. The act of blessing, whether performed in a liturgical assembly or in private, remains a blessing. We therefore declare non-compliant any form of blessing, public or private, that tends to recognize “same-sex couples” as a state of life.
7. Faithful to the constant teaching of Ecclesial Tradition which declares acts of homosexuality intrinsically disordered and contrary to the natural law (Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2357), we, the Bishops of Cameroon, reiterate our disapproval of homosexuality and homosexual unions.
8. Consequently, we formally forbid all blessings of “homosexual couples” in the Church of Cameroon.
9. Since God does not want the death of the sinner, but his/her conversion to eternal life, we recommend those who are inclined to homosexuality to the prayers and compassion of the Church, with a view to their radical conversion. We also invite them to turn away from their mentality of victimization in which they take pleasure in considering themselves as “victims”, “weak”, and “minorities”; to seize the opportunity for conversion that God gives them in the many exhortations of His Word.
The statement was signed by Andrew Fuanya Nkea, who is the Archbishop of Bamenda and President of National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon.
3 million children at risk in Sudan as civil war engulfs – U.N
The war between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has killed 12,190 people, according to conservative estimates by the Armed Conflict Locations and Events Data project. It has displaced 5.4 million people inside the country, according to the UN, and sent over 1.3 million fleeing abroad.
Sudan’s raging civil war threatens the lives of almost 3 million children, the United Nations Children’s Fund said Thursday, as fighting imperils what had become a haven for hundreds of thousands of displaced people.
Fighting in the huge northeastern African nation has now reached Jazeera state, the country’s breadbasket with a population of 5.9 million people — half of whom are children, UNICEF said.
« This new wave of violence could leave children and families trapped between fighting lines or caught in the crossfire, with fatal consequences, » the organization’s executive director, Catherine Russell, said in a statement Thursday.
The latest about of violence broke out on April 15, as Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force vied for power. Since then, heavy fighting has left hundreds of thousands of people facing the agonizing decision of whether to flee their homes or stay and risk injury or death in the violence. Cease-fires have failed to halt the power struggle and fueled the growing humanitarian crisis.
Civilians are often caught up in the crossfire as neighborhoods are divided between the armed forces, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.
Some 9,000 people have been killed in the violence, according to the U.N., but local doctors groups and activists say the death toll is likely far higher.
Almost 300,000 people have fled Jazeera state, moving to the nearby Sennar state, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Wednesday.
‘Nothing for me in Cameroon’: Waiting in Tunisia, one eye on Europe
Having lost everything and everyone precious to him, Joseph tries to hold things together, waiting to leave Africa.
Joseph Afumbom is a big man who has faced unimaginable tragedy.
The conflict in Cameroon between Anglophone separatists and the government killed the 27-year-old’s mother, father and siblings. It also took his home in Bamenda in the country’s northwest.
“I was there when the war started. The war took everyone,” he said, “It was three years ago. My brothers and sisters are all gone.”
With his home and family destroyed and no jobs available, Joseph felt he had no option but to gather his fiancee, Esther, and their three-year-old daughter and travel the 5,000km (more than 3,000 miles) overland to the Mediterranean coast. They arrived in Algeria, where they considered crossing into Tunisia and from there to Europe.
However, both Joseph’s fiancee and daughter died in El Menia. “They are all gone because of the cold,” he says. “That was last month.”
“I’m just trying to act normal, you know,” he tells Al Jazeera. “See, I’m smoking. I’m whiling away my thinking, trying to act like a normal person, but I’m not.”
He paused, allowing his thoughts to drift back. “We had been together for years. My daughter was three. I called her ‘Little Joy’.”
Eventually, Joseph crossed into Tunisia, making his way to the coastal city of Sfax before travelling by shared taxis to the capital, Tunis. He didn’t eat for two days.
“There is nothing left for me in Cameroon,” he says. “I will continue to Europe if I have the opportunity.”
This article is the third of a five-part series of portraits of refugees from different countries, with diverse backgrounds, bound by shared fears and hopes as they enter 2024. Read the first and second parts here.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Chad: Supreme court approves ‘yes’ referendum vote
Chad’s Supreme Court definitively validated the results of the referendum for a new constitution organized by the military junta that has been in power for the past two and a half years, a key step intended to pave the way for elections in the country at the end of 2024.
According to the final results, the « yes » side won with 85.90% of the vote, while the « no » side won 14.10%, with a turnout of 62.8%, the president of the Supreme Court told a press conference.
For some members of the opposition and civil society, the result of this ballots a plebiscite resembles designed to pave the way for the election of the transitional president, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Bloc Fédéral, an opposition coalition which had called for the results to be annulled on the grounds of several irregularities in the voting process.
The opposition, which had widely called for a boycott, denounced, in the words of Max Kemkoye, president of the Groupe de concertation des actors politiques (GCAP), « a second coup d’état by Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno », in the face of results which, in his view, were not credible.
The new constitutional text is not very different from the one already in force, and still gives great power to the Head of State.
Mahamat Déby, 37, was proclaimed transitional president by the army on April 20, 2021, at the head of a junta of 15 generals, following the death of his father Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed by rebels on his way to the front. Idriss Déby Itno had ruled the country with an iron fist for over 30 years.
The young general immediately promised elections after an 18-month transition period, and made a commitment to the African Union not to run. Eighteen months later, his regime extended the transition by two years and authorized him to stand in the presidential elections scheduled for late 2024.
On the anniversary of the 18-month transition, October 20, 2022, between 100 and more than 300 young men and teenagers were shot dead in N’Djamena by police and military, according to the opposition and national and international NGOs.
They were demonstrating against the two-year extension of the presidential term.
More than a thousand were imprisoned before being pardoned, but dozens were tortured or disappeared, according to NGOs and the opposition.