Mgr Andrew Nkea spoke to our colleagues at Vatican News at the end, this week, of the first session of the 16th synod of bishops. The Archbishop of Bamenda, also president of the Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, especially commented on the report summarizing the work, insisting on the fact that the prelates of the continent are standing firm against homosexuality.
“Africa insisted on the theology of the human person and sexuality. For us, in Africa, marriage is between two people: a man and a woman. We insisted on this so that we do not change the theology of the human person,” said Mgr Andrew Nkea. He continues: “it was something very important for us and I think the synod understood very well that Africa is different from the rest of the world. In addition, the synod learned something from us.”
This priority of African bishops is not trivial. In fact, before the synod began, Pope Francis held an extensive consultation with lay people and religious priests around the world. In the multiple contributions, which served as a corpus for the work of this synod, the question of the place of LGBTQ + people (Lesbians, Gays, Bi Trans, Queer, etc.) in the Catholic Church came up several times. It was therefore not possible for the bishops and the pope to ignore this issue.
All things considered, the Catholic Church is not yet ready to accept marriages between people of the same sex. A victory for Africa, as Mgr Andrew Nkea suggested.
In addition to homosexuality, the religious and lay people who were around the pope during the synod discussions also discussed the perception that should be given to the place of the bishop. But also evangelization. “We are on a mission. The church exists for the mission,” concludes Mgr Andrew Nkea.