Burkina Faso


Cardinal in Burkina Faso Urges Christians to
“build bridges of love”, to Shun Hostility

Le Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo de l'archidiocèse de Ouagadougou au Burkina Faso.Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo of Burkina Faso's Ouagadougou Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

By Jude Atemanke

The Cardinal in Burkina Faso has, in his Easter 2022 Message, called on the people of God in the West African nation to “to break down the walls of hatred” and instead “build bridges of love”.

In his Easter Message shared with ACI Africa Tuesday, April 19, Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo highlights the need for peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the process of addressing insecurity in Burkina Faso.

“The security crisis in our country, Burkina Faso, challenges us all and should make us sensitive and determined with regard to the Easter message on peace,” Cardinal Ouédraogo says.

“We must agree to do everything possible to break down the walls of hatred, hostility, misunderstanding, extremism, violence and killing... and to build bridges of understanding, mutual respect, tolerance, brotherhood and love,” the Burkinabe Cardinal says.

The Local Ordinary of Ouagadougou Archdiocese who doubles as the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) further says, “Religions never incite war or solicit feelings of hatred, hostility, extremism, or invite violence or bloodshed.”

The misfortunes in Burkina Faso, Cardinal Ouédraogo says in his message dated April 14, “are the result of the deviation of religious teachings, of the political use of religions and also of the interpretations of groups of religious men who have abused - in certain phases of history - the influence of religious feeling on the hearts of men to lead them to accomplish what has nothing to do with the truth of religion, for worldly and blind political and economic ends.”

“The first and most important objective of religions is to believe in and honor God and to call upon all men to believe that this universe depends on a God who governs it, that He is the Creator who has fashioned us with His divine Wisdom and granted us the gift of life to preserve it,” the 77-year-old Cardinal says.

Burkina Faso, one of the ten countries in the Sahel region, has been facing rampant violence occasioned by political crises, which offer a fertile ground for the proliferation of extremist groups such as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the al-Qaeda affiliate Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin.

In his Easter Message, Cardinal Ouédraogo also highlights the importance of Muslim-Christian brotherhood in Burkina Faso.

“Thanks to the providential coincidence of the Lenten season and the month of fasting of our Muslim brothers and sisters, we met on Wednesday 13 April 2022 to discuss an activity related to peace,” the Cardinal says about the encounter that took place under the theme, “Social cohesion and human brotherhood”.

He further expresses appreciation to members of the Muslim community in Burkina Faso for their efforts towards peacebuilding and reconciliation.

“In the name of our Church Family of God, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Islamic League for Peace in Burkina Faso, for its initiatives, its availability and its commitment to social cohesion, brotherhood, peace,” Cardinal Ouédraogo says in his Easter Message titled, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

He implores, “May the Lord make the efforts of all the sons and daughters of Burkina Faso bear fruit for the promotion of human brotherhood and peace.”

Making reference to Pope Francis’ message to Muslims on the occasion of Ramadan 2022, from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Ouédraogo highlights the importance of sharing.

“Pope Francis draws our attention to one of the important aspects of life: sharing. All that we are and all that we have is a gift from God and we must share with our brothers and sisters in need,” he says in reference to the Holy Father’s Ramadan message.

The Cardinal adds in his Easter Message dated April 14, “Our internally displaced brothers and sisters live in poverty and precarious situations. Last night, in a symbolic way, we showed our compassion and solidarity with a hundred displaced families, victims of the terrorist attacks.”

“Beyond material support (corn, rice, soap, sugar, salt), it is above all a question of sharing the joys and sorrows of each other that are part of every human life, because a shared pain is halved and a shared joy is doubled,” Cardinal Ouédraogo says, citing Pope Francis.

He expresses his “sincere gratitude” to the people of God in Burkina Faso “for your presence and your personal and collective involvement in bringing about reconciliation, justice and social cohesion, the guarantee of true and lasting peace.”

“Let us not cease to pray for our terrorist brothers, for the internally displaced persons, without forgetting our brothers and sisters who have been kidnapped and not yet released,” Cardinal Ouédraogo says.

He implores, “May the Almighty and Merciful God accept our supplications and efforts for the advent of a world more worthy of God and a world more worthy of men.”

Source :  aciafrique.org

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