Thursday, July 19, 2007

On the frontier

Sandro Magister has a piece on the Church in the Congo. He explains through a first person account of a priest the difficulty in getting the news or even the Pope's book to the interior of that country and others like it.

Raphaël Dila Ciendela, 44, a priest of the diocese of Mbujimayi, found out only at the beginning of June that pope Benedict XVI had published – almost two months earlier, on April 16 – the book entitled “Jesus of Nazareth.”

“I learned about it by chance, while talking with a priest friend, the rector of a seminary in my diocese, who had received the volume from a confrere who had just returned from Europe.”

Soon after it was Fr. Raphaël’s turn to take a trip to Europe. That was when he had the chance to see with his own eyes, for the first time, a copy of the volume.

“It was June 21, and I had just arrived in Italy. I saw the book by chance at the home of a friend of mine in Pisa. I finally bought the French edition for myself in Bordeaux, on July 11, the feast of Saint Benedict.”

Magister talks about the spotting internet access, the lack of TV, newspapers, book, etc. Jusb about the only thing they have is radio and there they must rely on things like the BBC and Vatican Radio on shortwave.

There are of course the usual recommendations for the Holy See:

End of story. In the Vatican, the secretariat of state, the pontifical commission for social communications, and the other officials in charge of media matters should place at the top of their agenda this very problem: how to bring news and documents from Rome quickly to the diocese of Mbujimayi and to all the other regions of the Church that find themselves in a similar situation, not only in Africa.

And all the more so in that these segments of the Catholic population are not the rear guard of the Church. They are often the youngest and most lively components, with the most fervent faith, the strongest missionary impulse. They are its future.

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