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The Pope in Cameroon (2): Of Clerics, Corruption and Politics

The visit of the head of the Roman Catholic Church to Cameroon this March 2009 has ignited some Cameroonian bloggers to point the search lights on the political effects (if any) of a Papal visit to country like this. Neba Fuh blogging at Voice of the Oppressed is one of them:

Two times before, Late Pope John Paul II visited The Cameroons and the effect on the already impoverished populace was nothing more than a religious euphoria at the expense of their personal financial contributions and the public treasury. The unanswered questions of the Biya's repressive acts were still unanswered.

Aloysius Agendia, a journalist and ex-seminarian in a post entitled Pope Benedict XVI visit to AFRICA : Going beyond spiritual rhetoric seems to suggest that the Church should denounce acts by states and politicains that harm the people's interest instead of being clothed in diplomatic robes:

We understand the Church and the Vatican as a state, and as a religious body, though with political connotations, sometimes has to be diplomatic in its approach. In my opinion, true religion must not be indifferent to injustices, oppression, exploitation, colonialism in all its forms and other vices. The Catholic Church has done much and is still doing a lot but a lot more still has to be done.However, diplomacy though good in its own ways, must not be of too common usage in the Church because, a spade must be called a spade. In trying to always use “subtle” means to explain burning issues, the message is either lost or the meaning/importance, seriously minimized. Church leaders must not choose to dine only with those in power, the rich, and the powerful. They must not necessarily be with the opposition, but, they should stand beside the weak, the oppressed, the sick etc.

He is clear about what he expects from the Pope:

As a spiritual leader who represents hope, he must not only tell us to just keep waiting and hoping. We expect him to be courageous enough to tell those thwarting the hope of Cameroonians and Africans to at least, have some feelings for human beings and or their fellow citizens.

On the other hand, Voice of the Oppressed wonders if the clergy particularly in Cameroon has the moral high ground to demand change from those who govern the country when they themselves are not shinning examples:

What lessons can an already morally impoverished society learn from a bishop or priest who fathers children haphazardly in his community?
What lessons can that society learn from a priest who has numerous ‘girlfriends’ in his community, under the excuse that he is only as human as everybody else?
Or sponsored a girlfriend's trip abroad, away from his community, so she can bear him kids, and when he takes his vacation or study leave, he's welcome abroad by ‘his wife’ and ‘children'?
Or a Principal of a school,who is a priest, who embezzles school money through fake bills and accounting?
Or priests that have become predators to vulnerable children put at their disposal?

To Aloysius Agendia should Pope Benedict XVI of the perceived waywardness of Catholic prelates in Cameroon:

As the Holy Father visits Cameroon and Africa , he should note this. First and foremost, the Catholic Church and most of its (shepherds) in Cameroon in particular, need serious “redressing” or “overhauling”. The numerous stories about promiscuity, extravagance and gallivanting attitudes of some of our priests including some bishops, some even go as far as bearing children, others fornicating with their students, peoples’ wives, parishioners etc must be addressed…

This blogger belives if these issues of corruption within the Roman Catholic Church in Cameroon are not handled by the Pope then the visit would have no meaning to him:

Mortgaging the Church and its assets for “loans”, as if to sell Jesus Christ again for FCFA 950.000. 000 as Judas did for 30 pieces of silver. Tis follows using a famous Cathedral in Cameroon as a security for a loan taken by one of its bishop. The serious and terrifying cases of embezzlement among others, merit papal attention. These are issues which if the Pope fails to address even in private with his priests, then his mission to Cameroon, I must admit, must have fallen far belowexpectations, and why not, a non-starter.

Will the Pope dare? That may be the next point of interest of the Cameroonian blogosphere.

Note: Part 1 of this post is found here.

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