The correspondent of RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA has reported that a Vatican Cardinal has charged the Church in Benin Republic to bread new air into the church. This Vatican authority further admonished the clergy in this country to “Implement everything that promotes life”. He added that there is a need for followers of Christ to do everything in their power to foster life. This Cardinal is no other than the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD), who has been in Benin for a four-day pastoral trip.

At a Mass in Benin on Friday, January 19 urged Christians in the West African country to “respect life” and “implement everything that promotes this life.”

In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration at St. Michael Parish of Benin’s Cotonou Archdiocese on January 19, the third day of his January 17-20 pastoral trip, Michael Cardinal Czerny used the example of David’s reaction to Saul’s provocations in the day’s first reading to emphasize the value of respecting human life.

“David’s response to Saul’s adversity can be a source of nourishment for us in our world of rivalries. David refuses to enter the logic of elimination,” Cardinal Czerny said.

He added, “David’s lesson of respect for God’s anointing is an invitation to respect life, which is sacred because it is willed by God and granted to every human being.

David’s reaction, the Prefect of DPIHD emphasized, is “a respect that’s not limited to refusing to lay a hand on another person; it’s a respect that invites us to implement everything that promotes this life.”

The Czechian member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) continued, “This respect includes the fight against poverty, hunger, discrimination, exploitation and the like. This respect calls for the promotion of all values that contribute to the true fulfillment of the human being created in the image of God.”

“It’s about living human solidarity in the image of the union that prevails between the persons of the Holy Trinity,” he said.

Referencing the Statue of the perforated jar, a symbol of unity in Benin, Cardinal Czerny said, “The perforated jar highlights the challenges facing our world and the Church, and the solidarity inherent in possible responses.

“The jar indicates a world that is not perfect, but is called to strive for perfection,” the 77-year-old Cardinal, who was Ordained Bishop in October 2019 further explained.

He continued, “The perforated jar reveals that our world, our society, is facing challenges. Just as the holes prevent the jar from fulfilling its role of preserving the water that sustains human life, so the difficulties of our world prevent us from fulfilling our human vocation of happiness, to which the Beatitudes beckon.”

“It is this happiness that is often put on hold by the difficulties and rivalries of our living environments, as we see in the first reading,” he added.

The Vatican-based Cardinal further said that “the unbridled taste for leadership can lead to all kinds of strategies to continue to exercise power or influence it, and alter the smooth process of succession.”

“The same is true of our Church, where the management of our ecclesial communities is sometimes marked by authoritarianism, selfishness, and exclusion. The charisms with which God endows us are sometimes used to dominate others,” the Cardinal lamented.

Against the unfortunate tendencies he highlighted, Cardinal Czerny said during his January 19 homily, “Christ in today’s Gospel points us to values of collaboration, inclusion, and solidarity.”

“It seems to me that it is this spirit of collaboration and union that presides over the synodal approach to which Pope Francis has been inviting us for some three years now,” he said about the ongoing Synod on Synodality, which the Holy Father extended to 2024.

Cardinal Czerny further said, “Building a world where we all want to live requires the contribution of each one and the collaboration of successive generations. Each generation also has the mission of passing on a better world to the next, a world that remains our common home where we can live and praise God.”

“May our faith make our Church in Benin grow and enable us to be true witnesses to the Good News of the coming of God’s reign, which considers the poor and excluded of our society. May our faith be a leaven of peace, love, and justice in our country, Benin,” the DPIHD Prefect implored.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu