Grassroots movements, local communities, and faith-based organizations – especially the Catholic Church – have an important role to play in building peace and preventing conflict in Africa, said a Holy See representative.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, spoke July 28 to an open session of the U.N. Security Council on peace building in Africa.
Faith-based and grassroots groups have “concrete knowledge of local realities” and immediate interactions with locals, the archbishop said.
“They empower individuals and societies at a local level, identify and nurture new leaders, and rally communities to work together for the greater human good. They get results that local individuals and communities can easily relate to and identify with.”
Archbishop Auza said the Catholic Church’s direct contributions to peace building and conflict prevention come through its “capillary presence” in its tens of thousands of institutions: its hospitals, schools, and other places of formation.
Catholic humanitarian and charitable agencies help provide emergency assistance, foster village dialogues, and help build small businesses’ capacities.
“The Holy See oversees this vast network of quick-impact, medium-term and long-term programs to foster the best possible levels of education and health care, and to assure continuing efforts to prevent conflict and to build peace through dialogue and integral human development,” the nuncio said.
Archbishop Auza said the Holy See sees that sustainable peace needs people who come together in concrete dialogue to give a fair hearing and to agree upon solutions.
Read more at Catholic World Report.