Most Rev. Raymond Razakarivony, bishop of the diocese of Miarinarivo, Madagascar, is the President of the Justice and Peace Episcopal Council for his country, and has a lot of influential connections. Mr. Jean Marie Rakotoarizoa is the secretary general of this same Council. (Mr. Rakotoarizoa and the 13 families of his small village of Anjorozo in the bush, in Madagascar, were the first to start an association to apply the Social Credit principles locally. Mr. Rakotoarizoa gave us a report of their activities.) Father Venance Joazandry is the vicar general of his diocese and President of Caritas-Mdagascar. They were introduced to the audience at our Congress by Miss Dina Razafimahatratra.
by Dina Razafimahatratra
I am just completing a six-month training course in Rougemont; I think I am ready to make Social Credit known, and above all, to apply it, to help people in Madagascar. I know myself what it is all about to be poor; I live amidst poverty. I thank the priest and my bishop who are here. I think that we are all ready; I think that our task will be made easier since they can cover the whole country. Their voices are listened to in towns and villages as well; they are taken into account in the economic life of the nation. The four Christian Churches in Madagascar take part in the social and economic life of the nation.
I am very happy to have here Most Rev. Raymond Razakarivony, the bishop of my diocese. I would like to thank him for having sent me to a beautiful place like Rougemont! I enjoyed every day of my sejourn here. | also thank Father Venance who left his parish and his duties for a few days to be here. Thank you as well to Mr. Jean Marie Rakatoarizoa, a father of 8 children, who left his family to be here. One of his daughters is a nun. And thank you to Mr. Ndrianjasoa Ramanantsalama, first counsellor of the Ambassador of Madagascar in Canada, for honouring us with his presence. Once again, I thank all the Pilgrims of St. Michael, all the Social Crediters who support the Movement. I now hand over to Most Rev. Raymond Razakarivony, bishop of the diocese of Miarinarivo, Madagascar.
by Bishop Raymond Razakarivony
I thank you, especially Mr. Marcel Lefebvre and Mr. François de Siebenthal. We had invited them, on behalf of Justice and Peace, to come to Madagascar and talk about Social Credit. They came. They did not hesitate to travel 16,000 kilometres – the distance between Montreal and Antananarivo. That is something! I thank you for having visited us, and for giving us the warm talks on Social Credit. I think that at this very moment, as I speak, the Social Credit principles are gaining ground in my country. We are presently organizing between 300 and 1,000 Social Credit groups, which shows that our people in Madagascar are really taken to Social Credit. This is understandable because of the poverty in our nation — one of the poorest countries in the world, a lot poorer than Benin — but nevertheless, a nation that is proud and anxious to get out of poverty. I think that with a Social Credit system, we will manage to do it, to get out of poverty. I therefore thank you for having come, for having given us hope for a future that will be more human, more secure, with less hardships, to allow us to be a little more comfortable economically speaking.
I also thank the Pilgrims of St. Michael for having invited us to their International Congress, and I know you made a lot of sacrifices to make it come true. Since our arrival last Tuesday, we could not do nothing but to admire the atmosphere that prevails among this Movement of the Pilgrims of St. Michael. Thanks to what we have seen and heard, in our minds and hearts, we are now much more knowledgeable to be able to move forward, along the way shown by Louis Even.
You are certainly more experienced than us. Of course, we need competent, skilled people to make Social Credit a success in Madagascar. That is why we ask you to pray for us, so that we may not meet any enemies or hindrances, for we now know where to go and what to do.
It is possible for us to cover all of Madagascar. There are 20 dioceses in our country, and every parish of every diocese has a representative of Justice and Peace. This will help us a lot; we do have financial difficulties, of course, but with the help and good will of all of these people, we will manage to have right and justice prevail in Madagascar.
I was happy to hear yesterday that Social Credit is not only about money, because one can also be poor intellectually and spiritually, and I believe that these issues of right and justice have a lot to do with intellectual poverty.
We also fight to establish schools everywhere. I was happy to read in your journal that you also fight against secular, godless schools. In our diocese, our motto is: one parish, one school; one region, one high school; one diocese, one university. People in Madagascar now know why Catholic schools are preferable to state schools. In the beginning, this was difficult to accept, because you have to pay to attend Catholic schools, whereas State schools are free. People are already very poor, and it was difficult for them at first to understand that they must make sacrifices to pay for the schools, so that their children may receive a Christian education. This is a very important issue.
At the closure of our Congress, Monday morning, Bishop Razakarivony gave us his impressions:
My impressions? They are good! The few days that we have spent together so far gave me, above all, the feeling of living as a Church — the Church is universal — and it is a feeling that gives me courage, for we know now in Madagascar that we are not alone. We are together in this fight against poverty. If we, in the past, in our little country, stricken with poverty, felt forgotten by the rest of the world, now this feeling has changed completely. We know that you do not ignore Madagascar, because we are a small delegation here, thanks to you, and we really take part in what you have, organized here... I was also very much impressed by the testimonies of the people who work full time in your headquarters in Rougemont, who give themselves heart and soul. For that special monetary system called Social Credit to attract you here and cause you to give not only some of your spare time, but all of your lives, I think that there is something great, something precious in Social Credit. And for us, that is enough to convince us that Social Credit is something serious and feasible.
We came here above all to learn. Personally, I have been reading your journal for over ten years now, but I must confess that it is only here, among you at your headquarters, that one can really understand what Social Credit is all about. And I am sure that I will learn and understand even more after the week of study that will follow this Congress. Thank you.