The Common Good in Africa

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The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has released a pastoral letter as a contribution to the promotion of good governance and democratic transitions in Africa and is offered to all people of good will.

SECAM is an organisation that brings together the pastors of the Church in Africa and believes that everyone, including the Church, has a responsibility to contribute to the Common Good of all members of society. As Pope John Paul II noted, “as a body organized within the community and the nation, the Church has both the right and the duty to participate fully in building a just and peaceful society with all the means at her disposal”1
. Moreover, the Church identifies herself with the people such that, “the joys and the hopes, the grief and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted these are the joys and hopes, the grief and anxieties of the followers of Christ”2

The letter states that “being neutral, regarding partisan politics, the Church wishes to humbly propose the values which will lead to justice, liberty, and the fundamental respect for human dignity. These are essential values in the creation of a just social order.”

The Most Rev. Gabriel Mbilingi, Archbishop of Lubango, Angola and Second Vice President of SECAM writes in his covering letter:

“The Pastoral Letter, which is in-line with Pope Benedict XVI’s post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Africae Munus“, points out that the Church in Africa cannot be indifferent and isolated in the face of our present socio-political and economic challenges that have become a major concern in Africa. In the spirit of peace and justice, it notes that common good, respect of people’s rights, and the promotion of good governance are the essential elements of the Gospel message.

“The way in which we organize our society directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow together in community and contribute to the Common Good. The Common Good is the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily. The Common Good concerns the life of all and consists of three essential elements: respect for the person; the social well being and development of the group; and peace, which gives stability and is the source of security for a just order.”


Read SECAM’s pastoral letter, along with the covering letter from Most Rev. Gabriel Mbilingi, Archbishop of Lubango, Angola and Second Vice President of SECAM, by downloading from the top right of this page.

Official website of SECAM – The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar

Africae Munus
The Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation released by Pope Benedict XVI in Benin in November 2011

Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation: Ecclesia in Africa, No.107
Vatican II Documents, The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), No. 1.