Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Good Shepherd, Synod Edition

Before its second day could even wrap up, the African Synod found itself down a delegate yesterday -- an archbishop from the Democratic Republic of the Congo headed home following a new outbreak of violence against his local church:
Archbishop Fran├žois-Xavier Maroy Rusengo of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, told the assembly Tuesday that while they were gathering in Rome to discuss the situation of the church in Africa, a parish in his diocese was burnt down, his priests were attacked, and two were abducted and held for ransom.

Notably moved with emotion, the archbishop explained that the diocese had to pay the high ransom "to save the lives of our priests that they threatened to massacre."

"Through these acts," he noted, "it is the church, remaining the only support for a terrorized, humiliated, exploited, dominated people, whom they would reduce to silence."

Archbishop Rusengo, 53, decided to leave the synod after his address to return to his diocese and comfort those who were the victims of last Friday's attack.

"Lord, may your will be done," he concluded. "May your Kingdom of Peace arrive."...

Violence is nothing new in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1996, [Rusengo's predecessor] Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa was shot in the head [and killed] by Rwandan forces who had just overtaken the city.
And there, but for the grace of God....

You know the rest, gang -- and may we never forget it.