AN African archbishop said in an interview that Europeans seemed to put more confidence in computers than in Africans when it came to the development of Africa. He urged greater reliance on African Catholics for the development or their Church.
Archbishop Zoa of Yauonde said: "The first period of the Catholic Church among us is closed. This period was a time of evangelisation and missionary institutes, The missionaries had been given "a mandate by Rome to take charge of our territory. section by section. That was done not only with admirable generosity but also was effective."
The second period of the Church in Africa had now opened. This period "is marked by the appearance of African priests. bishops and laity." The missionary institutes "are no less precious to us. nor less indispensable than previously, but the situation is fundamentally changed."
"New churches have been born. But a child cannot grow, or resolve the crises of its growth except according to its own personality. The same goes for our Churches in the whole family of the Universal Church."
The first responsibility of the African Churches was to become or to be themselves. he said. "We owe it not only to ourselves, but to our African brothers and to the whole Church.
"The activity of the Church in Africa today is too disparate. It is broken up into sectors that are too compartmentalised. We must find a better integration of the efforts of all the parties involved. for Africa is at sea and the growth of our Churches is delayed."
Explaining what he meant h y c o mpartmentalisation, Archbishop Zoa said the missionary congregations that prepare priestly or Religious personnel for the benefit of the African countries dealt with Rome. "and we are not there.
MISSIONS STII,I. NEEDED
"Their highest authorities have their headquarters far from us and out of context as a result. They meet each other for undertaking common labours. which is excellent. I can only applaud it, but must observe at the same time that the game is going on in the African countries.
"The same thing is true of the organisations that aid our churches. Their policies are defined for us, without us, in the capitals of Europe and North America. The same goes for Catholic organisations that aid development. They studied scientifically — how aid funds were managed and distributed — to what sectors, education, agriculture or otherwise, they were applied.
"1 cannot help observing that in the West, when it is a question of our development. greater confidence is put in computers than in us. The Pope told us: You are now to take over the direction. You Africans must pursue the building of the Church on this continent'."
Archbishop Zoa said the collaboration of missionaries was still necessary, but Africans must direct and build even at a time when African pastors were few in number — an average, compared with Europeans. of one priest in every live and one bishop in every three.
He urged the establishment of "fraternal round table" that would include Africans and representatives of the missionary institutes, aid organisations, Vatican authorities and the bishops in countries "where Christianity has been long established."