March 22, 2013
In case you are thinking you are having a particularly bad day, the Bishop of Bangassou has a few words to say as reported by Agenzia Fides, the communication arm of the Pontifical Mission Societies. Bangassou is on the southern border of the Central African Republic toward the eastern end of the state, just across the river from the Democratic Republic of Congo. After reading what happened in his diocese I’m not complaining about anything. Emphasis mine.
Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, sent to Fides Agency the following testimony on the conquest of the Central African city on behalf of a faction of the rebel coalition Seleka (see Fides 12/03/2013). [The Seleka coalition are jihadists and mostly mercenaries. The situation in Central African Republic is similar to Mali, but news agencies are not reporting on it.]
The rebels of SELEKA arrived in mid-December from the north of the Country. Many Chadians, others Sudanese, all speak Arabic and want to overturn the government to create an Islamic republic. They have already conquered five dioceses and more than 10 cities.
They entered Bangassou on March 11 after having clashed with the few Central African forces who were in town. They stole a dozen mission cars, of the minor seminary of the second parish in Bangassou. They destroyed the home of the Spiritan Fathers, of the Franciscan Sisters, then they stole and destroyed the rector’s house of the diocesan minor seminary, the carpenter’s shop, the internet center, the Catholic college, the pharmacy, the new surgery block. They brutalized the people, fathers and nuns. They have a list of people to hit: I am the first, followed by my vicar then the prosecutor and others. They destroyed the town hall, the general hospital, throwing the patients who had an IV in the arm on the floor to steal the mattress. They respected only mosques and Muslim traders to whom they gave our goods to sell.
Then the rebels left on 15 vehicles packed with stolen goods and headed towards Bambari (400 km away), leaving a brutalized population and afraid, that is dispersed in the forest. Along the way they occupied one mission after another, camping in the house of the missionaries. Now except for the 3 missions in the East, the other 8 are in their hands.
To the east we have another rebellion, the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), that for 7 years is raging on civilians. We have witnessed the horrors of every kind: murders, children torn from their parents and taken into the forest, burning of villages, rapes, people’s rights trampled on ruthlessly. Now we have the Seleka rebels and I do not know how long they will stay. We just have to pray to the Lord. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 21/03/2013)
We tend to be preoccupied by the things affecting our lives most immediately, and rightly so because we have duties and obligations to those around us. But all over the world our brothers and sisters in Christ need our prayers, and we need perspective. What is happening in Africa reminds us that the demons of hell aren’t wasting any time trying to destroy the Church and all of mankind for that matter.
Nearly all of Africa is a powder keg. Everywhere on the continent Muslims are hiring mercenaries to go into country after country, kill the Christians and steal all that supports the Church. They are serious about establishing Sharia law which is not only anti-Christian, but totally against the basic fundamentals of human dignity. It is perfectly easy to get recruits when a faction can go into an area, brutalize the people, rape and pillage, taking money for the spoils for themselves, all under the banner of the Koran. This is pure, aggressive, and unjust war. But there is more to this than meets the eye because religious differences are the convenient excuse to mask a mad desire for material wealth and power.
The Central African Republic is rich with mineral and other resources including crude oil, gold, diamonds, and arable land. It is one of the poorest countries of the world and among the ten poorest in Africa according to Wikipedia.
As a Catholic I care very much about what is happening to the Church everywhere in the world. The structures set up by the Church to care for the poor are being destroyed in nation after nation on all continents. In Africa by blood, in America by law. As we approach Good Friday, let us keep our African brothers and sisters in our prayers, and beg God for the grace of the conversion of the Muslims.
May Pope Francis, the Pope of the Poor, strengthen the bishops, priests, nuns, and laity of all Africa, confirming them in the Faith.
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