Policy & Advocacy

Quotes from Church documents about Concern for Africa

Year Published
  • 2011
  • English

The Church's concern for Africa

  • The splendid growth and achievements of the church in Africa are due largely to the heroic and selfless dedication of generations of missionaries. Pope John Paul II Ecclesia in Africa

  • It seems that the "hour of Africa" has come, a favorable time which urgently invites Christ's messengers to launch out into the deep and to cast their nets for the catch. Pope John Paul II Ecclesia in Africa

  • We stand with the Church in Africa; we seek to call attention to Africas problems and potential; we want to amplify the voices of Africa, so that they can be heard by a sometimes distracted world. USCCB, A Call to Solidarity with Africa

  • We are called to a much greater commitment of resources and energy [because]:

    • Our faith demands it

    • Our sisters and brothers are asking for help

    • Our world needs our effort.

    • The United States has special responsibility

    • We can make a difference (pp 3-4) USCCB, A Call to Solidarity with Africa

  • Our voices can join with others to encourage a sustained, just, and comprehensive engagement of the worlds vast resources to generate lasting solutions that respect the full, human dignity of our brothers and sisters in the poorest countries of Africa. USCCB, A Call to Solidarity with Africa pg. 4

  • As Catholics, we embrace the universal character of our Christian identity, an identity that transcends national boundaries and calls us to live in solidarity and justice with peoples of the world. As Americans, we acknowledge the singular position enjoyed by the U.S. as one of the wealthiest nations on earth, but privilege cannot be divorced from responsibility. USCCB, A Call to Solidarity with Africa pg.3

  • The United States has a clear moral duty to adopt policies and support programs that encourage integral human development and long-term economic growth for the poorest countries, with particular attention on sub-Saharan Africa. This is not just a policy option; it is a moral obligation. USCCB, A Call to Solidarity with Africa, pg. 4

  • We encourage dioceses to help Catholics to educate themselves about Africa and commit themselves to the promotion of justice, peace, and development through public advocacy. USCCB, A Call to Solidarity with Africa, pg. 30

  • U.S. Catholics help promote a just and equitable development in Africa [through]:

    • Prayer

    • Responsible investment

    • Corporate responsibility

    • Self education and involvement in public advocacy

    • Diocesan and parish twinning USCCB, A Call to Solidarity with Africa pp. 28, 30

Africa in Crisis

  • We stand with the church in Africa; we seek to call attention to Africa's problems and potential; we want to amplify the voices of Africans, so that they can be heard by a sometimes distracted world.- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Call to Solidarity with Africa, 2001

  • Almost 38 million people in southern and eastern Africa are threatened by malnutrition and starvation as a result of flooding, droughts and other circumstances. Conditions are exacerbated by the AIDS pandemic gripping the African continent. The world's highest rate of HIV infections is found in southern Africa. In December 2002, CRS along with other U.S. humanitarian relief organizations signed the Baltimore Declaration to launch a coordinated campaign to assist the millions of people at risk of starvation in Africa. Catholic Relief Services

  • The eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine." Psalm 33:18-19

Suffering in the Breadbasket
  • "Statistics on the impending famine, poverty, and the infectious diseases in southern Africa fail to convey the pain of a mother's anguish over the suffering and slow death of her child whose body is racked by AIDS-related infections, or the humiliation of a family forced to forage for roots in order to staunch the pain of hunger."- Bishop John Ricard, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Threat of Famine in Southern Africa Focus of Bishops' Visit, November 8, 2002

  • Zimbabwe was once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa. Now, due to flooding, drought and other conditions, over one-half of the population of 14 million faces severe famine. Millions in the neighboring countries of Malawi and Zambia are also face life-threatening food shortages. In addition to the famine facing this region, AIDS is affecting a third of the population of Zimbabwe and over one-fifth of the population of Zambia and Malawi. The Consortium for the Southern Africa Food Security Emergency (C-SAFE), of which CRS is a member, has worked to acquire and distribute food rations to a half million beneficiaries and will continue to work to reach even more. Catholic Relief Services

Hunger in the Horn of Africa

  • "Our fear is that Africa's hopes could be destroyed by indifference and inaction in Africa and around the world."- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Call to Solidarity with Africa, 2001

  • Years of drought paired with the HIV/AIDS pandemic have led to severe food insecurity in eastern Africa, also known as the Horn of Africa. Over 16 million people are at risk of food shortages including more than half of the population of Eritrea. In Ethiopia, it is estimated that one-quarter of children could be orphaned by HIV/AIDS within eight years. CRS is the lead agency among a consortium of humanitarian aid organizations working together to distribute food resources to 1,748,670 beneficiaries in Ethiopia. The CRS staff in Ethiopia, who work within the midst of this crisis on a daily basis, donated 10 percent of their December salary to the drought relief effort. Catholic Relief Services

More than a Hunger Crisis

  • Despite reports that a famine in Africa has been averted, sections of Africa are still facing large-scale humanitarian crises. Zimbabwe is now the fastest declining economy in the world, with an inflation rate of 180 percent, and over 2,500 people dying each week from HIV/AIDS. In Lesotho, where HIV/AIDS infection rates exceed 40 percent, the disease is decimating the social structure. The crisis in southern Africa is best characterized as an HIV/AIDS pandemic exacerbated by food shortages. Catholic Relief Services


  • The crisis in Darfur must be ended. We cannot stand idly by while human life is threatened. The United States and the international community can and must do more to end this moral and humanitarian crisis, says Bishop Ricard in a call to action on behalf of the bishops in September 2005.