THE POPE has urged the bishops of West Africa to work for peace, charity, dialogue with other religions in their region, which has been torn apart by violence and war.
John Paul II made this plea when he recently met the bishops of Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.
He said: "I call on you, my brother bishops, to work tirelessly for reconciliation. You must bear authentic witness to unity by gestures of solidarity and support for the victims of decades and violence. The Church, which has suffered enormously from these conflicts, must maintain her strong stance in order to protect those who have no voice."
Conscious of the tragic situation of millions of refugees, the Holy Father exhorted the bishops to continue to love and care for these brothers and sisters just as you would for the Holy Family, reminding them always that their condition makes them no less important in God's eyes.
In his message, the Pope highlighted the family as a fundamental element of African culture and the source of hope and stability. In these countries,
the family is being threatened by the forces of polygamy, divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking and a contraceptive mentality, the Pope said.