Writing from Uganda, Martyn Drakard of MercatorNet exclaims "The international media has a woeful ignorance of Africa," and wonders: "Why don't they listen to someone who knows? -- Such was evident from the media's coverage of Benedict's visit in Africa:
As he flew from Rome to Cameroon for his first African trip, Benedict XVI held a press conference. He spoke of many things relevant to Africa: the credit crisis, its ethical dimension, its social welfare dimension; solidarity between the developed and developing world; corruption; the vibrancy of the faith and energy of the people; how he hopes to implement Catholic social teaching; and a forthcoming Synod of African Bishops. He even rebutted suggestions that he was “lonely” in the Vatican.National Catholic Reporter's John Allen Jr. agrees:
Yet what did the media pick up? That the Pope is opposed to condoms as a solution to Africa’s supposedly overwhelming problem: AIDS. And, in fact, he was right to say that condoms are only making the problem worse.
"I don't think I've ever covered a papal trip where the gap between internal and external perceptions has been as vast as over these three days. It's almost as if the pope has made two separate visits to Cameroon: the one reported internationally and the one Africans actually experienced.So for those whose only (or chief) impression of the Pope's visit to Africa by way of the mainstream media was that he said something about condoms, what follows is an ongoing compilation of news, coverage and commentary on what really happened.
From the Vatican Website
- Missal for the Apostolic Journey
- "Instrumentum Laboris" – The Church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice and peace - Working document of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.
Spoken Words & Addresses of Pope Benedict XVI (Added as available from the Vatican)
- Welcome ceremony at Nsimalen International Airport of Yaoundé (March 17, 2009)
- Meeting with the Bishops of Cameroon at Christ-Roi Church in Tsinga, Yaoundé (March 18, 2009)
- Celebration of Vespers at the Basilica Marie Reine des Apôtres in Mvolyé, Yaoundé - Address of the Holy Father (March 18, 2009)
- Meeting with representatives of the Muslim Community of Cameroon at the Apostolic Nunciature of Yaoundé (March 19, 2009)
- Homily during the Holy Mass on the occasion of the publication of the Instrumentum Laboris of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops at Amadou Ahidjo Stadium, Yaoundé (March 19, 2009)
- Publication of the Instrumentum Laboris - Words of Benedict XVI (March 19, 2009)
- Meeting with the world of suffering people at Card. Paul Emile Léger Centre - CNRH of Yaoundé (March 19, 2009)
- Meeting with the members of the Special Council for Africa of the Synod of Bishops at the Apostolic Nunciature of Yaoundé (March 19, 2009)
- Farewell ceremony at Nsimalen International Airport of Yaoundé (March 20, 2009)
- Welcome ceremony at 4 de Fevereiro International Airport of Luanda (March 20, 2009)
- Meeting with the political and civil authorities and the Diplomatic Corps at the Presidential Palace in Luanda (March 20, 2009)
- Meeting with the Bishops of Angola and São Tomé at the Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature in Luanda (March 20, 2009)
- Homily during the Holy Mass celebrated with the Bishops, priests, religious people, ecclesial movements and catechists of Angola and São Tomé at São Paolo Church in Luanda (March 21, 2009)
- Meeting with youth at Dos Coqueiros Stadium of Luanda (March 21, 2009)
- Homily during the Holy Mass with the Bishops of I.M.B.I.S.A. (Interregional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa) at Cimangola Square in Luanda (March 22, 2009)
- Recitation of the Angelus Domini at Cimangola Square in Luanda (March 22, 2009)
- Meeting with Catholic Movements for the Promotion of Women at Santo António Parish of Luanda (March 22, 2009)
- Farewell ceremony at 4 de Fevereiro International Airport of Luanda (March 23, 2009)
- 3-19-09: Vatican Responds to Concerns over Fight against Aids
- 3-19-09: Homily of Pope Benedict XVI Mass in Yaoundé Stadium
- 3-19-09: Yaounde Mass After meeting with Muslim leaders in Cameroon, Pope Benedict celebrated Mass in an open air stadium where he presented the working document for the next Synod of Bishops on Africa.
- 3-20-09: Reflections on the Synod for Africa Interview with Missionary priest Giulio Albanese, who works in Africa and accompanied Benedict on his visit.
- 3-20-09: Taking the African Synod Home Interview with Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and the President of the Ethiopian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, on the importance of the Pope's visit.
- 3-21-09: Pope Celebrates Mass with Religious in Angolan Capital, Luanda Report on Benedict's Mass with the clergy and religious of Angola in the Church of St. Paul in Luanda.
- 3-22-09: Pope Benedict XVI Says Mass for a Million African Faithful in Angola
- 3-22-09: Fr Lombardi SJ Comments on Youth Tragedy, Sunday Mass The Director of the Holy See's Press Office, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, responds to the news of the tragic deaths of two young people at the Youth meeting on Saturday evening, and shares his impressions of Pope Benedict's homily on Laetare Sunday.
- 3-23-09: Leaders of Church in Africa Reflect on Pope Benedict XVI's Visit Interview with Bishop Joseph Befe Ateba of Kribi diocese in Cameroon.
With this visit I intend to embrace the whole African continent: its thousands of differences and profound religious soul; its ancient cultures and its toilsome road to development and reconciliation; its grave problems, its painful wounds and its enormous possibilities and hopes. I intend to confirm the African Catholics in faith, to encourage the Christians in their ecumenical commitment, and bring to all the announcement of peace that the Lord has entrusted to his Church. [...]
Yes, dear brothers and sisters! I depart for African with the awareness of having nothing else to propose and give to those whom I will meet if not Christ and the Good News of his cross, mystery of supreme love, of divine love that defeats all human resistance and in the end makes forgiveness and love of enemies possible. This is the grace of the Gospel that is capable of transforming the world; this is the grace that can renew Africa, because it generates an irresistible power of peace and of deep and radical reconciliation. The Church does not pursue economic, social and political objectives; the Church proclaims Christ, certain that the Gospel can touch the hearts of all and transform them, renewing persons and society from within. -- Excerpted from Pope Benedict XVI's mid-day Angelus March 15, 2009.
- EWTN: Pope Benedict XVI's Papal Visit to Africa Live coverage via the Eternal Word Television Network.
- Apostolic Journeys of Pope Benedict XVI (Currently: Africa--Cameroon, Angola) - Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club Forum.
- Benedict in Cameroon @ DayLife.com.
- Benedict in Angola @ DayLife.com.
Coverage and Commentary
- 3-10-09: Cameroon: Vatican - Africans Mobilise For Pope's Visit (AllAfrica.com)
- 3-10-09: Interview with Father Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, Vice Rector, Urbaniana Pontifical University, Vatican City Tche Irene Morikang. (AllAfrica.com)
- 3-13-09: 500,000 faithful expected to attend Pope mass (Angola Press)
- 3-13-09: Angola: Bishop Considers Pope's Visit Incomparable Interview with Angolan Bishop, Filomeno Vieira Dias.
- 3-14-09: Roman Catholic Church in Lesotho ready for Pope XVI’s visit in Africa (African Press Agency)
- 3-17-09: Cameroon: Vatican - Cameroon Has Its Embassy, by Tche Irene Morikang (On the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Vatican). (AllAfrica.com); see also AllAfrica's interview with H.E. Antoine Zanga, Ambassador of Cameroon to The Vatican, as he highlights the impact of the Pope's visit on the bilateral relations between the two countries.
- 3-17-09: Mgr José Luis Redrado - «The Holy Father Will Bring Spiritual Support to the Sick» Interview with Mgr José Luis Redrado, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, Vatican City. (AllAfrica.com)
- 3-17-09: Mgr Nikola Eterovic - «Africa is Very Important to the Church» Interview with Mgr Nikola Eterovic, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops at The Vatican. (AllAfrica.com)
- 3-17-09: These Africans Who Grease the Roman Curia - A few Africans are well into the administration of The Vatican, by Tche Irene Morikang. (AllAfrica.com)
- 3-18-09: Africa: Pope Condemns Africa's Vices, by Lukong Pius Nyuylime. "The Holy See was received in total ecstasy yesterday at Nsimalen at the start of his maiden visit to Africa." (AllAfrica.com)
- 3-20-09: Angola: Local Painter Rejoices Over Pope's Visit (AllAfrica.com)
- 3-22-09: Angola, São Tomé dioceses give gifts to Pope (Angola Press Agency)
- 3-24-09: Cameroon: Christian Re-awakening, by Richard Kwang Kometa (AllAfrica.com)
Zenit News Service
- 3-15-09: Pope to Bring Good News to Africa
- 3-16-09: Cardinal: Papal Visit to Foster Solidarity With Africa: Predicts Positive Spiritual And Human Results, by Jesus Colina. [Interview with Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum].
- 3-16-09: Cameroon Awaits Papal Visit Interview With the President of the episcopal conference of Cameroon Archbishop Simon-Victor Tonyé Bakot of Yaoundé.
- 3-17-09: Pope Welcomed by Cameroon Muslims and Protestants: Imam Says Papal Visit is a Blessing
- 3-17-09: Providing Cameroon's Street Children With Hope: Spanish Priest Heads Up Outreach Center, by Nieves San Martin
- 3-17-09: Cameroon: a Fragile But Stable Democracy: Young Republic Is 1st Stop on Papal Visit to Africa, by Nieves San Martin
- 3-17-09: Pontiff Offers Riches of God's Kingdom to Africa: Says Church Gives Hope in Time of Hardship
- 3-18-09: Pope Urges Bishops to Evangelize Their Communities, Encourages Episcopal Cooperation to Meet Modern Challenges
- 3-18-09: Benedict XVI Makes Appeal for Solidarity With Africa: Highlights Work of Church in Fighting AIDS
- 3-18-09: Cameroon President Assures Pope of Cooperation: Says Pontiff's Visit Is Antidote to "Afro-pessimism"
- 3-19-09: Media Reports on Condoms Seen as Superficial: President of Catholic Medical Federation Offers Clarification
- 3-19-09: Pontiff Tells Muslims Religion Must Unveil Reason: Encourages Cooperation in Building Civilization of Love
- 3-20-09: Pontiff Urges Cameroon to Seize the Moment: Assures People Visit Will Remain Deeply Etched in Memory
- 3-20-09: Benedict XVI Speaks for Impoverished Angolans: Underlines Reason and Faith, Not Law of Strongest
- 3-20-09: Papal Visit Seen As Blessing for Angola Interview with Sister Marlene Wildner, national director of Caritas-Angola.
- 3-20-09: Pope to Africa: Be Agents of Your Own Development; Says It's Time for Africa to Be Continent of Hope
- 3-21-09: Angola Has High Expectations of the Papal Visit Interview with Italian Missionary Father Luigi De Liberali.
- 3-22-09: Pope Prays for 2 Young Angolan Stampede Victims
- 3-23-09: Pope Urges Africans to Build Peace and Solidarity: Exhorts Politicians to Care for Poor, Common Good of All
- 3-24-09: Father Lombardi: Pope Gave Africa Message of "Great Hope"
- 3-24-09: Benedict XVI Reflects on Africa Trip; Says He Was Impressed by Joy, Devotion
- 3-29-09: Africa's Joy, Reverence Impresses Pontiff: Reflects on Recent Trip to Cameroon, Angola | Translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before praying the midday Angelus, reflecting on his visit to Africa.
- 3-29-09: African Students Defend Benedict XVI: Protest Biased Media Coverage of Africa Trip
- 4-01-09: Pope Recalls Trip to Cameroon and Angola: Makes Balance During General Audience
Catholic News Service
- See: Catholic News Service: Africa [Comprehensive coverage]
- 2-20-09: Since '94, Africa has seen tremendous changes, but some issues remain, by Bronwen Dachs.
- 3-16-09: Pope says trip to Africa will focus on continent's hopes, challenges
- 3-17-09: Pope, on plane, says church can help Africa address its problems
- 3-17-09: In Africa, pope says Gospel is answer to continent's problems
- 3-17-09: Pope's condom comments latest chapter in sensitive church discussion
- 3-18-09: In Cameroon, pope asks bishops to lead new evangelization efforts
- 3-19-09: Pope encourages Christian-Muslim efforts to defend African values
- 3-19-09: In Africa, pope warns of erosion of values, 'tyranny of materialism'
- 3-19-09: Pope outlines his view of African synod's main themes
- 3-19-09: Congolese bishops describe complex conflicts in northern Congo
- 3-20-09: In Angola, pope encourages postwar spiritual and material recovery
- 3-20-09: Pope appeals for African families, condemns promotion of abortion
- 3-20-09: Cameroonian Pygmies give pope send-off, gift of a turtle
- 3-22-09: Pope asks church in Africa to resist 'clouds of evil' on continent
- 3-22-09: Pope pleads for women's equality in Africa, praises 'silent heroines'
- 3-23-09: In Africa, pope challenges attitudes, cultural trends
Catholic News Agency
- 3-09-09: New stamp to commemorate papal voyage to Africa
- 3-18-09: Catholic Church in Africa ‘best hope’ for peace, charity says
- 3-19-09: Pope encourages Muslims to promote ‘genuine religion’
- 3-19-09: Archbishop explains working document for African Synod
- Flash! Vatican opposes birth control GetReligion.org.
- Pope's condom message resonates with many, by John Allen, Jr. (National Catholic Reporter)
- Media Reports on Condoms Seen as Superficial: President of Catholic Medical Federation Offers Clarification Zenit News Service.
- From Saint Peter’s Square to Harvard Square: Media coverage of papal comments on AIDS in Africa is March madness, by Kathryn Jean Lopez. National Review
- HIV Researcher, a Self-described Liberal, Defends Pope's Recent Condom/AIDS Statement Ken Shepherd, NewsBusters.org.
- AIDS Worker Says Africans Don't Need Condoms: Web Site Documents Catholic Approach to Pandemic, by Genevieve Pollock. Zenit News Service. March 25, 2009.
- Cameroon Bishops' Statement on AIDS: "The Holy Father Has Put Man at the Center of His Concern" Translation of the statement of the episcopal conference of Cameroon on the negative media response to Benedict XVI comments on the role of condoms in the fight against AIDS. Zenit News Service. March 26, 2009.
- The Pope, Africa and AIDs: Interview With Vatican Spokesman Father Lombardi, by Edward Petin. April 2, 2009.
John Allen Jr., National Catholic Reporter
- 3-13-09: Five reasons the papal trip to Africa is important
- 3-13-09: Benedict needs to show that he 'gets' Africa
- 3-13-09: Cameroon journalist warns of ‘cheap political points’ from pope’s visit Interview with Charly Ndi Chia, editor-in-chief of The Post.
- 3-14-09: 'Africa in miniature,' warts and all, awaits Benedict: Cameroon 'a great place to dip his toes into Africa'
In the U.S. and many other parts of the world, coverage has been "all condoms, all the time," triggered by comments from Benedict aboard the papal plane to the effect that condoms aren't the right way to fight AIDS. In Africa, meanwhile, the trip has been a hit, beginning with Benedict's dramatic insistence that Christians must never be silent in the face of "corruption and abuses of power," and extending through a remarkable meeting with African Muslims in which the pope said more clearly and succinctly what he wanted to say three years ago in his infamous Regensburg address, and without the gratuitous quotation from a Byzantine emperor." (Excerpted from Benedict in Cameroon a tale of two trips National Catholic Reporter March 20, 2009.
- 3-17-09: Pope addresses corruption, conflict in Africa: Western media reports condom quote, Africa hears different message
- 3-18-09: Pope's condom message resonates with many
- 3-18-09: Pope demands halt to sexual, financial scandals: Bishops must have greater oversight of priests and religious, Benedict says
- 3-19-09: Pope to Muslims: 'Religion rejects all violence': Cameroon's Christian-Muslim harmony alternative to the 'clash of civilizations'
- 3-19-09: Imam speaks of Christian-Muslim peace When Pope Benedict XVI met 22 Muslim leaders from across Cameroon this morning, Sheikh Ibrahim Moussa, the Imam of Yaoundè’s Grand Mosque, spoke for the Islamic delegation. That speech was written by Moussa’s highly regarded deputy imam, Sheikh Mohama Oussani Waziri, who sat down with NCR afterwards to discuss the meeting with the pope.
- 3-19-09: Pope: African Catholics can transform society
- 3-20-09: Accent on 'peace, fraternity' sets tone for Angola: Little 'church-speak,' Benedict focuses on Africa's political and social realities
- 3-21-09: Condemned by pope, witchcraft a reality in Africa: African converts often keep one foot in traditional spirituality
- 3-22-09: Pope extols women's rights in Africa
- 3-23-09: A quick pulse of women religious in Africa Interview with Sr. Anastasie Bekono of the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, Cameroon.
Additional Press / Media
- 3-10-09: Street stalls demolished for pope's visit, by Tansa Musa. (Reuters)
- 3-15-09: Catholics hope Pope can win ground in Angola, by Henrique Almeida. (Reuters)
- 3-17-09: Pope to raise issue of human rights in Africa, by Jennifer Gold. (Christianity Today)
- 3-18-09: Pope: transforming African society with the Gospel (AsiaNews.it)
- 3-19-09: Pope to meet with Muslims, Mass in stadium, by Victor L. Stimpson (Associated Press)
- 3-19-09: Angolans set to embrace Pope Benedict (BBC News)
- 3-20-09: African turtle hitches ride on pope's plane (Reuters)
- 3-21-09: Pope Tells Clergy in Angola to Work Against Belief in Witchcraft (New York Times)
- 3-22-09: Two girls die in stampede to see Pope (Telegraph UK)
- 3-23-09: Critics: Thousands evicted from Angola church land, by Michelle Faul. (Associated Press) - More than 2,000 families have been evicted since Angolan authorities began returning land to the church that had been seized by the former Marxist state.
- Potpourri of Popery, Swoon In Cameroon Edition Wheat & Weeds
- Pope Benedict XVI's Journey to Cameroon and Angola Blog by the Sea
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