The Catholic bishops of Africa are out with a blistering statement condemning what they call “filthy campaigns that promote a culture of death.” That’s a sharp contrast to the softer message Pope Francis is delivering in the United States this week.
This is a direct reference to the campaigns of westerners to convince Africans to accept American and European-style human sexuality including contraception, abortion, and an expansive notion of sexual orientation, issues Pope Francis mentioned only obliquely during his few days in Washington, D.C.
The statement is aimed directly at the UN meeting the Pope is scheduled to attend this weekend, the conference of heads of state that will bring into force the Sustainable Development Goals that will guide international development for the next 15 years.
The approach and language could not have been more different that the softer language used by Pope Francis and the language he urged the American bishops never to use. In his prayer meeting with the U.S. Bishops on Wednesday, Francis said they should avoid “harsh and divisive language” because it “does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart.”
On the other hand, the African Bishops refer to the “moral decadence” of current times that have produced “ills that we, Africans, do not want!” They urge governmental leaders not to “give in to triple seduction of pleasure, money, and power.”
And they are only getting started.
In 2,200 sharp words, the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar refer to “selfish and perverse interests…imposing themselves on our continent..introducing individualism and hedonism…” They call this a “terrifying resurgence of a colonialists spirit under the guise of the appealing names of liberty, equality, right, autonomy, democratization and development.”
They refer to “the agents of the civilization of death” blackmailing government and other African leaders. They say, “this is a new type of slavery” and that Africans who agree with this have “sold their sovereignty for a lentil stew…”
The Bishops say, “These political and economic pressures have but one objective: the drastic control and reduction of the African population, the planned destruction of marriage and the family.”
Francis’s language in Washington D.C. stands in stark contrast to language he has used previously but was missing in his U.S. visit and that he seemed to condemn. Francis told African bishops “to be on guard against colonization by new ideologies. These are forms of ideological colonization that are out to destroy the family. They are not born of dreams, of prayers, of closeness to God or the mission which God gave us; they come from without, and for that treason I am saying that they are forms of colonization.”
Taking dead aim at the Sustainable Development Goals that will come into effect this weekend, the African bishops say:
The billions of dollars allotted to the production and distribution of condoms and contraceptives and to the establishment of sex-education programs that do not respect universal moral norms are a scandal that cries to heaven for vengeance, a new slavery at the service of the idol “money.”
Perhaps the African Bishops did not get the memo.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse