The great world powers are continuing to abuse African countries and many conflicts would not have taken place without foreign influence, Pope Benedict said on Saturday. But he said Christianity could play a key role in healing the continent. The Holy Father made the statement during a meeting with the Roman clergy at the Vatican, in response to a priest who questioned him on the African Church. Pope Benedict said that many current problems in Africa had been caused because the colonial powers had divided up the continent into different countries without paying any regard to ethnic boundaries. This had made the establishment of democratic governments more difficult. The Pope said the Church in Africa could be a healing influence, playing a similar role as that played in Europe in the past, when Christianity helped overcome "the existent ethnic divisions" and form "the large bodies of the nations, the great languages, and therefore the communion of cultures and spaces of peace." He said: "In many parts of Africa there is ... a situation of the dominant ethnic groups. ... the Church, in all this confusion, with its Christian unity, is the great factor that unites in the dispersion." "In many situations, now mainly after the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Church remains the only reality that works and helps life to move on." Where there was no political stability the Church was helping to build social cohesion and help bring about reconciliation. Pope Benedict XVI concluded that today, even more than in the past, "we also have the responsibility of having a zealous faith that brings us to help others, well aware that giving faith is not introducing a force of alienation, but giving a real gift that mankind needs to also be a source of love." Source: MISNA
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