“We, the bishops of the Catholic Church in Southern Africa, gathered for our plenary session in Pretoria from the 17th to the 24th of January 2023, give thanks to God for the opportunity of
meeting to reflect on several issues facing us in our Conference area. We are also grateful for
the opportunity this plenary session provided us to gather together and to encourage one another. We express gratitude to our respective dioceses for the resources that enabled us to have our plenary meeting, as well as to all those who were immediately involved in the preparation and took care of us for the duration of the plenary.” Those are the opening words of the Communique from Bishop Sithembele Sipuka on behalf of the SACBC Bishops regarding the Plenary Session that ended last week.

In the communique the President shows that they deliberated about a number of issues including the following:

  • Tribute to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
    He taught us that a life worth living is not based on a personal construct of what we feel is good or right for us but rather on one that is grounded in something greater than ourselves, a truth independent of time and culture, binding everywhere and for everyone.”
  • Tribute to Fr Albert Nolan OP
    “He was fondly remembered for his humble but powerful witness during the dark years of apartheid as well as for his passion for relating the Gospel to the circumstances of the poor and oppressed.”
  • 75th Anniversary of the SACBC and the Centenary of papal representation in Southern Africa
    “Through its various organs and departments, the Conference has served society beyond the confines of the Catholic Church and helped improve people’s lives. This is particularly true of our schools which, though few and under-resourced, continue to provide quality education to many children of poor backgrounds. In recent times, the Catholic Church has been the number one institution in taking care of people with HIV and AIDS.”
  • Call to Civil Responsibility and Ethical Leadership
    “We looked at and acknowledged again the plethora of problems facing our countries and affecting especially the poor and vulnerable. However, we are troubled by the phenomenon of the poor failing to take responsibility and initiative within the scope and the means available to them, choosing instead to depend on and rely only on government grants.”
  • The Continuing legacy of Colonial and Apartheid racism
    “Racism, we note again, is deeply entrenched in our society, and cannot be ended
    simply by pretending that it does not exist or by wishing it away. In this regard, we recalled with a sense of remorse that while in the past the hierarchy of the Church issued statements condemning apartheid and racism, in its internal daily life and practice the Church colluded with discrimination and segregation in its parishes, seminaries, and religious congregations. This racially informed way of
    being Church has, unfortunately, continued well into our own times and is proving difficult to
  • The situation in eSwatini

    Full Statement below


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