Ad limina visit of Benin Bishops: Voodoo and Islam

Source: FSSPX News


The pope expressed the wish that “In conformity with the Church’s wisdom, priests may be able to discern in their people’s "traditions" the true goodness that favours growth in the faith and in genuine knowledge of God, and rejects all that is in opposition to the Gospel. On the other hand,” continued the Sovereign Pontiff, “your quinquennial reports show how strongly traditions continue to influence social life. Although their best aspects must be encouraged, manifestations that are harmful, stir up fear or exclude others must be challenged. Christian faith must inculcate in hearts the inner freedom and responsibility that Christ gives to us as we face the events of life. A sound Christian formation will therefore be an indispensable support in helping the faithful compare the Faith with "traditional" beliefs.”

In Benin, Voodoo festivals gather together indiscriminately, Voodoo-animists (61%), Catholics (19%), Muslims (15%), and Protestants (3%). This is the reason why the pope specified that “in order to avoid the introduction into the liturgy of cultural elements incompatible with the Christian faith or actions that give rise to confusion, seminarians and priests must be given a sound liturgical formation which enables them to deepen their knowledge of the basics, and the importance and theological value of the liturgical rites.”

“Furthermore, the Church’s presence in society is also expressed through the public interventions of her Pastors. On various occasions, you have courageously defended the values of the family and respect for life when they were threatened by ideologies that proposed models and attitudes in opposition to an authentic conception of human life. I encourage you to continue this policy which is a service to the whole of society. In this perspective, the formation of young people is also one of your pastoral priorities.”

“Lastly,” the pope concluded, “I would like to tell you of my pleasure in noting that in general, relations between Christians and Muslims are evolving in an atmosphere of mutual understanding. Therefore, to prevent the development of any form of intolerance and to avoid all violence, it is advisable to encourage genuine dialogue based on an ever more genuine reciprocal knowledge, especially through respectful human relations, through an agreement on the values of life and through mutual cooperation in all that furthers the common good. Such a dialogue also requires that competent people be trained to help spread knowledge and understanding of the religious values that we share and to sincerely respect each other’s differences.”