African archbishop: We’re not blocking progress in the church

Print More
Archbishop Charles G. Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, is pictured during a meeting with representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Accra on Aug. 27, 2010. Photo by Nancy Wiechec, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Archbishop Charles G. Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, is pictured during a meeting with representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Accra on Aug. 27, 2010. Photo by Nancy Wiechec, courtesy of Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Ghanaian Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle on Thursday (Oct. 8) defended African bishops’ role in the Vatican’s meeting on family issues, stating they were not in Rome to block progress but to present their own views.

As bishops get to work discussing key issues affecting family life at the meeting, known as a synod, they have broken into small language-based groups. Palmer-Buckle was responding to a question at a press conference suggesting that African bishops were trying to stop “progress.”

“If someone thinks Africa is blocking something, it’s only proposing what we feel,” he told journalists at the Vatican. “We’re not here to block anybody.”

Ahead of the start of the three-week synod, which began on Sunday, there was much debate about whether the 270 bishops at the synod would agree on a more open view toward gays and divorced Catholics who have remarried in civil ceremonies. 

Palmer-Buckle said he would not be supporting such proposals if brought to the table at the synod.

“The pope is making it very clear that doctrinal issues remain what they are, and we definitely endorse what the church teaches about marriage, the family and Holy Communion for Catholics.”

Under current church guidelines, divorced Catholics who have remarried without first getting an annulment are barred from receiving Communion.

The archbishop said African bishops are interested in discussing issues surrounding the extended family model that they are confronted with in Africa; it differs from the nuclear families that are more common on other continents.

Since Africa is the continent with the fastest-growing Catholic population, Palmer-Buckle said African bishops had a lot to discuss at the synod. “We are here from Africa in our good numbers and we are contributing very, very validly to what is being discussed.”

But he did not believe discussions underway at the synod were favoring a particular part of the world. “We don’t think that the issues being dealt with are European; they are issues of the entire Catholic Church, and we are here to contribute from that perspective,” he said.

Palmer-Buckle’s comment followed a warning earlier this week by Pope Francis, who told synod bishops not to give in to “conspiracy” theories. The arrival of bishops from around the world has been met with an air of mistrust and the suggestion of regional alliances being formed, which the pontiff has tried to dispel.

LM/MG END SCAMMELL

  • Pingback: African archbishop: We’re not blocking progress in the church - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • Deacon John M Bresnahan

    Unfortunately the power of the secular media shapes the vocabulary we all use. And the media uses the vocabulary of the left to propagandize their positions. This article is a perfect example. The Catholic Church–which is the Church of Tradition– is treated as if there is a problem unless the Church gets with “Progress”—- Never mind if some forms of “progress” are nothing but promoters of death or evil. “Progress” is always portrayed as good–never mind if the “progress” in question is a cancer on society.
    This Catholic bishop is sadly made to virtually grovel to Western prejudices with regard to what is :progress in religion.

  • Pingback: Archbishop Discusses African Bishops’ Silence on Criminalization of LGBT People | Bondings 2.0()

  • Ted

    Ah, yes. The Roman Church of Tradition, which waited 350 years, until 1992, to pardon Galileo Galilei for daring to claim that the Earth orbits the Sun.

    The 17th Century is over. The Curia should take note that they can no longer make stuff up from casual observations, and expect the world to accept their half-baked, amateur theories of biology as “natural law”. Science proves and describes the structures of God’s creation, not men in red beanies.

  • How awful it must be for a medieval institution such as the Church to find the rest of the world daring to treat it as the medieval relic it is. Pity the poor little things!

  • Deacon John M Bresnahan

    Ah yes–science is pristinely accurate and beneficial all the time. It has even given us a way to blow up the planet and destroy all human life here.
    And the Church does listen to science that is moral. It is because of science and an ability to look inside the womb by TV for all to see that has actually convinced many people of conscience to join the Church in its defense of the sanctity of human life.(While many narrow-minded non-believers continue the lie that a baby in the womb is merely a blob of tissue (the now discredited propaganda argument of PP. )