In Eritrea, where the Church to a great extent provides care and education services—two areas deserted by the administration,—the power is in the hands of the totalitarian regime of Issayas Afeworki, a rebel turned Maoist, who seems to have made the fight against the Church his priority. The bishops of the country have just sent to the government a solemn and unpublished protest.
“If this is not hatred against the faith and against religion what else can it be?” questioned, ex abrupto, the bishops of Eritrea, in a letter sent on September 4, 2019 to the government of their country, and published on September 11 by the Italian news agency SIR.
The letter protests against “the arbitrary and unilateral measures recently taken by the government with the nationalization of our clinics” and “of our schools.”
After the hospitals and health centers requisitioned by the central government, it is the schools’ turn to gradually experience the same fate: on September 3rd, the confiscations were thus extended to the Saint Joseph De La Salle Brothers’ school in Cheren as well as two institutions hitherto run by the Capuchins: Addi-Ugri High School and Massawa High School.
“We protest in conscience against all these measures, being sure of our right,” because hospitals and schools are an integral part of the “life and mission” of the Church, say the Eritrean prelates.
“We consider that any action contrary to such a mission is prejudicial to the freedom of the Church, as well as to her rights.” As long as this state of affairs lasts: “the Church will not cease to demand justice from those who hold power,” conclude the bishops of the country’s four eparchies (dioceses).