Pope to call for African peace and reconciliation
Baku, November 19 (AZERTAC). Pope Benedict is to present plans by the Roman Catholic church to encourage reconciliation in Africa, on the second day of his visit to the state of Benin.
The Pope will travel to the city of Ouidah, the symbolic heartland of Voodoo, where he is expected to call for respect for traditional beliefs but issue a warning against witchcraft.
Ouidah is home to one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in West Africa.
Large crowds are expected to greet the Pontiff in the city.
His first public engagement was at the presidential palace in the capital, Cotonou.
In front of an audience of politicians, diplomats and church leaders, he issued an appeal to Africa`s leaders.
"Do not deprive your peoples of hope. Do not cut them off from their future," he said.
The Church`s reconciliation plans are contained in a formal apostolic exhortation entitled The Pledge for Africa (Africae Munus in Latin), which the Pope will sign in Ouidah.
The document was drawn up two years ago at a meeting in Rome by Catholic bishops from all over Africa.
It is intended to encourage reconciliation, peace and justice.
Pope Benedict is expected to call for elements of traditional cultures and religions to be recognised, if they are compatible with church teaching.
However, he will warn people to reject magic and witchcraft, which the Church condemns for what it believes is their negative effect on families and society.
On the first day of his visit the pontiff spoke of avoiding "exacerbated and useless nationalism or tribalism" which he said could fuel deadly inter-religious tensions.
He also urged Africans to avoid the "unconditional surrender to the law of the market and finance".
"Modernity must not cause fear, but it cannot be built by forgetting the past," he said.
The Pope is likely to face questions about the Church`s attitude to the use of condoms during his trip.
He caused controversy on a previous visit to Africa, in 2009, by saying that handing out condoms could speed up the spread of HIV.
Africa has the highest prevalence of the virus in the world and his comments angered AIDS campaigners.