Ritual Crimes: The Church Steps Up the Fight

Source: FSSPX News

Human sacrifice is ongoing in Gabon. In 2016 the Association for the Fight against Ritual Murder stated that about 100 persons fall victim to this abominable practice every year. The Church continues to fight on the front lines against these crimes that, according to UNICEF, target young children in 70% of the cases.

“Ritual killings are committed very frequently during elections or other special events,” declared Archbishop Jean-Vincent Ondo Eyene of Oyem, in the north of the country. The prelate who is also president of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Gabon, pointed out that this problem that did not exist under the independent regime, has been on the rise since the year 2000.

The Church Stands Against Ritual Killings

The Catholic Church, through the Justice and Peace Commission, is fighting with greater intensity this year for this Animist practice to be eradicated in the country. “There is need to discuss with the authorities to see how to put an end to the practice. Human life is sacred and cannot be made banal,” says Archbishop Ondo Eyene indignantly.

The priority today, according to the prelate, is to fight against the impunity of these crimes: “Most often, the perpetrators go unpunished. Several factors are to blame for this: the families of the victims are often threatened and pressured into not pursuing the cases; many officials in the government are corrupt, if not complicit in the killings; and the high cost of investigating the murders, which involves sophisticated forensics and autopsies,” lamented the president of Justice and Peace.

The Episcopal Conference of Gabon published a statement saying: “Each time we notice that despite our condemnation, there is once more a crime committed, we must make our voice once again say, ‘This has got to stop!’”

Commemorating the Victims of Human Sacrifice

To raise awareness among the political leaders and population, the Catholic Church in Gabon has decreed that December 28, feast of the Holy Innocents, will become a national day of commemoration of the victims of human sacrifices.

The Catholic Church in Gabon has six dioceses: Libreville, Franceville, Port-Gentil, Oyem, Mouila, and Makokou. One diocese, Franceville, still has no bishop since the death of Bishop Timothée Modibo Nzockena last year.