Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI - Apostolic Journey to Benin (November 18-20, 2011)

From the Vatican

Pope Benedict waves at the crowd as he arrives in his Popemobile to celebrate a mass at the Stade de l'Amitie (Friendship Stadium) in Benin's economic capital Cotonou November 20, 2011. Source: Reuters

Addresses of the Holy Father

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a mass at the 'Friendship Stadium' in Cotonou on November 20, 2011. Source: Getty Images


Veteran papal journalist John Allen Jr. (National Catholic Reporter) accompanied the Pope -- and blogged the papal journey:

  • From rumba to voodoo, subtext abounds on pope’s Africa trip 11/17/11.
    For anyone seeking an off-beat lens through which to see the journey, there’s almost an embarrassment of riches. From witchcraft to voodoo, from funky rumba music to politically incorrect comic books, subtext abounds – and that’s even without any new papal commentary on condoms, which was the sideshow that dominated Benedict’s last outing to Africa in 2009."
  • Don't surrender to laws of market, pope says 11/18/11.
    On the heels of a controversial Vatican document blasting free-market ideologies and calling for a global authority to regulate the economy, Benedict XVI today warned the continent of Africa against an “unconditional surrender to the law of the market or that of finance,” in a speech opening his second African journey as pope.
  • The political nerve of Catholicism in Africa 11/18/11.
    A core motive for Benedict XVI’s trip to Benin this weekend is to honor the late Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, yet it's actually another former Archbishop of Cotonou whose memory may be most helpful in grasping one key feature of African Catholicism: Its brazen disregard of Western notions of church/state separation.
  • From a Eurocentric pope, a remarkably African message 11/19/11.
    If one were to survey African Catholic leaders about their most pressing social challenges, responses would likely focus on their struggles against corruption and religious intolerance. As it happens, those were precisely the two themes raised today by Pope Benedict XVI, in a highly anticipated speech to government and religious leaders at Benin’s Presidential Palace.
  • In voodoo capital, Benedict blasts 'occultism and evil spirits' 11/19/11.
    In a West African city widely regarded as the spiritual capital of voodoo, Benedict XVI today urged Catholics to resist a “syncretism which deceives” and to uphold a Christian faith that “liberates from occultism” and “vanquishes evil spirits.”
  • On AIDS, Benedict avoids the ‘C’ word 11/19/11.
    Heading into Pope Benedict XVI’s Nov. 18-20 trip to Benin, one bit of drama was whether this African outing, like the last one two years ago, would be engulfed by controversy over the pope’s stance on condoms and AIDS. That now seems unlikely, for a simple reason: The “C” word has not passed from the pope’s lips.
  • Benedict’s Africa plan: Stay spiritual, and stay Catholic 11/19/11.
    Pope Benedict XVI came to Africa this weekend primarily to deliver his conclusions from a 2009 Synod of Bishops for Africa, representing a papal game plan for the faith in the region of its most explosive growth. He chose an evocative setting – the city of Ouidah on Benin’s Atlantic coast, a onetime slave port known as the spiritual capital of the Vodun religion, referred to in the West as voodoo.
  • The lonely liberation theology of Benedict XVI 11/20/11.
    Anyone just tuning in now to Pope Benedict XVI, who doesn’t know much about him but somehow caught wind of his Nov. 18-20 trip to Benin, could be forgiven a bit of confusion about exactly what the pope came here to say about the political role of Catholicism in Africa. Understanding that a unique form of ‘liberation theology’ circulates in the pope’s intellectual and spiritual bloodstream can, perhaps, help make sense of things.
  • Hard questions about Pope Benedict in Africa 11/23/11.
    It may seem counterintuitive that an 84-year-old German intellectual should be the Western leader most enthusiastic about Africa, yet it actually makes all the sense in the world. Spiritually speaking, Africa is a superpower -- both the world's largest manufacturer and consumer of religion. For a pope who has spent a lifetime lamenting the "death of God" in Europe, Africa can't help but seem an oasis of vibrant faith. Africans seemed to return the sentiment.