We are certain that Cardinal Agre — and the three other archbishops who attended our Congress and were also present at the Synod — talked to their peers about the financial proposals advocated by our Movement, because these proposals are reflected in the final propositions issued by the African Bishops at the end of the Synod. 57 propositions were submitted by the African bishops to the Pope, who will later issue an apostolic exhortation based on these propositions. Here are excerpts from propositions 17 and 18, which are especially relevant to us:
Proposition 17: Social Justice and the Eradication of Poverty
The Synod Fathers have pleaded for an economy that is in service to the poor and strongly denounced an unjust economic order which has led to the perpetuation of poverty.
We therefore propose that:
- the further cancellation of debts with favourable conditions be advocated and the elimination of the practice of usury;
- as in the case of the early Church, the Church in Africa and its Islands must develop an internal system for taking care of their needs…
- the Church-Family of God in Africa recommits herself to the service of the poor, orphans and marginalized in imitation of life in the early days of the Church;
- leaders take adequate measures (access to land, access to water, infrastructures, etc.), to remedy poverty and to develop policies to ensure self-sufficiency in food production and educational programmes which are production-oriented;
- African governments be more prudent in accessing grants and loans so that they do not push their people into further debt…
Proposition 18: Social Doctrine of the Church
The Synod Fathers, recognizing the usefulness of "The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" in the task of evangelization on the continent and its Islands, propose that every National and Regional Episcopal Conference:
- revise all catechetical materials at every level (children, youth, young couples, families) to include elements of the Church’s Social Doctrine and translate "The Compendium" into local languages;
- require that the Church’s Social Doctrine be made mandatory in all seminary training and ongoing formation programs for priests and men and women religious and in the formation and activities of the laity in service to the Church and society;
- gather in collections, where they do not yet exist, the messages and pastoral letters from their own social teaching;
- establish a team of researchers to draw a syllabus for teaching and communicating social and Christian values and the syllabus, thus devised, be taught from the primary to the university level; and
- make the Gospel and African values of solidarity, generosity and the common good, both known and loved.