Religion and social transformation in Africa: A critical and appreciative perspective
RS: Ethics: The Relationship Between Religion & Morality Home & Away Text A: The Relationship between Religion and MoralityThe. the needed mental and moral strength to complete this study. Special thanks go to the. Ennin's family .. Foundation of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference. .. power relations between religion and the public sphere. T. Kelsall (Eds.), Between a Rock and a Hard Place: African NGOs, Donors and the State (pp. We further find evidence for a relationship between religious . Research in Ghana found that denominational differences in rural to faith to those further a field such as sexual morality and family life. Rock A, Barrington C, Abdoulayi S, Tsoka M, Mvula P, Handa S. Social science & medicine ().
Whilst Africans are steeped in religiosity - this is expressed in many ways - poverty and corruption are rife on the continent. The question thus arises as to whether African religiosity gives impetus to poverty and corruption on the continent or whether religion has a crucial role to play in the liberation of African societies from poverty and corruption. By using the concept of religion in relation to African Traditional Religion, Christianity and Islam, this article investigates the role of religion in the crisis of poverty and corruption in African society and argues that whilst religion has been instrumentalised in some instances to perpetuate poverty and corruption on the continent, it remains a crucial component of 'Africanness' and could contribute to moral, socio-political and economic transformation.
But although religion is flourishing in Africa, many sub-Saharan African countries are amongst the world's poorest nations. In response to the challenges of poverty, corruption and underdevelopment faced on the African continent, Lual Deng In the same vein, Dele Omosegbon African religions therefore constitute an enormous terrain that overlaps with the socio-political and economic spheres in sub-Saharan Africa and its diaspora.
Religion, accordingly, is not just a typical function or variable amongst other variables: From this point of view, religion is of integral importance: John Mbiti, for his part, has argued that it is difficult to define religion. He argues that it is even more difficult to define religion in the context of African traditional life.
Despite this difficulty, he asserts that for Africans, religion is an ontological phenomenon: Religion has rules about conduct that guide life within a social group and it is often organised and practised in a community, instead of being an individual or personal affair.
All African societies view life as one big whole and religion permeates all aspects of life. In terms of this thinking, it is the whole that brings about the unification of the parts. There is no such thing as com-partmentalisation or dichotomisation when it comes to human existence: Speculative reflection without practice has never been characteristic of Africans; the two always go together Kunhiyop As such, in the African worldview religion permeates the political and socio-economic life of Africans, just as politics, economic activities and other vital components of life permeate religion.
In many African countries people who do not subscribe to any form of religion make up less than 0. In line with the perspectives or claims of several other scholars Deng Furthermore, like these scholars we similarly depart from an understanding of 'Africa' as constituting 'a specific cultural context' that allows for at least some degree of common identification amidst diversification.
Within a framework that allows for common identification and understanding, this article wishes to reconsider the role of religion in eradicating poverty and corruption - and in doing so contribute to the socio-political and economic transformation of sub-Saharan African societies. By using the concept of religion in relation to African Traditional Religion, Christianity and Islam, the article seeks answers to the following questions: What is the essential nature of African religiosity?
How do poverty and corruption pose major challenges to African societies? If African societies are very religious but at the same time very poor and corrupt, to what extent does religion contribute to poverty and corruption on the continent? If religion is crucial to Africans, how could its resources and actors be mobilised to liberate African societies from poverty and corruption?
In striving to answer these questions, we will first seek to develop a better grasp of religion as a major constituent of the worldview of African people. This will be followed by a more pertinent examination of how the realities of endemic poverty and corruption pose ongoing challenges to African societies, despite the phenomenon of overt religiosity in those same societies. Departing from this discussion we will proceed to reflect more critically on the factor of religious complacency and on how religion is instrumentalised - especially through Africa's leaders - to sustain and enhance the structural existence of poverty and corruption in African societies.
Finally, we will end our discussion by giving new consideration to the ways in which the resources of religion could be utilised by Africans as a force for positive social transformation and development in African society.
However, despite the influence of secular modernism in Africa, such separation has not left a lasting imprint on African societies, where religion continues to play an important role in socio-economic and political life. Mbiti asserts that Africans are notoriously religious.
According to him, religion permeates all departments of life to such an extent that it is not easy or possible to isolate it Mbiti Although the African religious consciousness was initially derived from the practice of traditional religion, Christianity and Islam have given further impetus to this consciousness. Conversely, however, as the unfolding of a natural cultural process, both Christianity and Islam have in turn been influenced by traditional religion Muzorewa In African traditional life, the individual is immersed in religious participation that starts before birth and continues after death.
For the African, "to live is to be caught up in a religious drama" Mbiti Religion is indeed fundamental for Africans, since human beings live in a religious universe. Both the universe, and practically all human activities in it, are seen and experienced from a religious perspective. This means that the whole of existence is a religious phenomenon, which leads Mbiti to argue that in the African worldview, to exist is to be religious in a religious universe. In this sense it is unthinkable for an African to live without religion.
This religious worldview informs the philosophical understanding of African myths, customs, traditions, beliefs, morals, actions and social relationships Mbiti This same worldview also accounts for the religiosity of the African in political and socio-economic life Kalu a: That Africans resort to religion unconsciously shows how deeply a religious consciousness is ingrained in an African person, whether he or she is at home or in the diaspora Chitando et al.
It is, therefore, common for Africans to display their religious beliefs and rituals in moments of joy and despair. Africans come alive when they manifest their religiosity. African expressions, names, activities, symbols, celebrations, work, ideology and philosophies are loaded with religiosity.
Whilst the African traditional religious heritage remains a potent force that - on a subconscious level - still influences the values, identity and outlook of Africans, Christianity and Islam have become major sources of influence in African society. Christianity has been in existence in Africa for more than two thousand years and its enormous influence is undeniable.
Evidence of such influence can be seen in, for example, the number of Christian churches, names and institutional establishments in many African societies Metuh In turn, Islam has also been around for such a long period of time that it has led Mbiti Mbiti argues that it is obvious that - in their encounter with indigenous religious traditions - Christianity and Islam have succeeded in converting many Africans.
However, traditional religion shows resilience in its impact in such areas as Africans' historical-cultural roots, self-consciousness and expectations Mbiti The influence of Christianity on African Traditional Religion and African Christian religiosity was achieved through the evangelisation of Africans by returnee African Christian slaves and Christian missionaries from the West.
The emphasis of the Aladura, Zion and Roho churches is on prayer, dreams, prophesy, faith-healing and providing solutions to existential problems. The Aladura of West Africa, for example, strongly believe that the spoken word can be endowed with 'Agbara emi' spiritual power.
This idea is derived from Yoruba traditional beliefs but finds biblical backing in 1 Thessalonians 5 and 1 Corinthians 4: The Aladura, like other AICs, believe in witchcraft, demon-possession, and in the link between sickness, misfortune and the activities of evil spirits - which are also familiar themes in the New Testament and correlate with traditional beliefs Kalu b: The influence of the beliefs and practices of the AICs on mainline and Pentecostal churches in Africa and the African diaspora is substantial Adogame Although the emphasis on prayer, healing, the power of the spoken word and music and dance is rooted biblically, these liturgical activities derive from traditional religious practices.
The impact of these practices in sustaining a vibrant Christian faith and promoting the growth of the church in Africa and in the diaspora is indeed undeniable Kalu c: Whilst the influence of Christianity on traditional religion and vice-versa is significant, especially as this concerns attaining a meaningful indigenous African Christianity, the mutual influence of religion and the socio-political and economic life of Africans should not be underestimated.
Admittedly, just as religion influences the socio-political and economic spheres, so is religion also influenced by these spheres Kalu a: African political and economic elite have often resorted to religion in their intense competition for the diminishing resources of wealth, political power and prestige. In African societies such as Nigeria, the state provides a source of power and wealth, more so than any other institution in society.
The power and wealth provided by the state is usually competed for with enormous ferocity. Religion is used in this contest as both a contested field and as an instrument of competition.
The religious dimension in socio-economic and political contestation in Africa could be said to be both pervasive and complex Kalu d: Kalu argues that the intrusion of spirituality in contemporary political dynamics is, firstly, given impetus by the claim of African politicians that African political ethics are rooted in an African traditional worldview. Secondly, religion is employed in the political and economic spheres by those who legitimate their power by appealing to ritual sources to be found in traditional religion and culture.
These two factors "enable traditional secret societies such as Ogboni, Nyamkpe, Owegbe, and Ekine to serve as instruments for mobilising economic and political power" in contemporary African society Kalu d: Whilst Christianity and Islam, like traditional religions, serve as instruments for the mobilisation of political and economic power, they are also wrongly used by the elite as "instruments of political conflict" Kalu d: At the same time, however, if religion is so entrenched in the socio-political and economic lives of Africans, it is unimaginable that it does not also have a vital role to play in the transformation of the continent.
Endemic Poverty and Corruption in the Wake of Overt Religiosity The recent economic performance of African countries has clearly not done enough to promote economic diversification, job growth and social development in order to lift millions of Africans out of poverty UNECA And whilst poverty persists on the continent, corruption is also rife Kolade Definitions of poverty are varied and there is no consensus on the definition of the concept Laderchi et al. According to Peter Townsend, in a more recent discussion on the concept of poverty initiated by the United Nations Development Programme UNDP"people can be said to be in poverty when they are deprived of in -come and other resources needed to obtain the conditions of life - the diets, material goods, amenities, standards and services - that enable them to play the roles, meet the obligations and participate in the relationships and customs of their society" Townsend For his part, Stan Burkey Absolute poverty refers to the inability of an individual, a community or a nation to meet basic needs such as the need for food, shelter, potable water, healthcare and education.
Religion and Morality
Relative poverty refers to conditions where basic needs are met, but where an inability persists to meet perceived needs and desires. Most African countries fall within the absolute poverty category. African communities also have definitions, anecdotes and proverbs that depict both the meaning and implications of poverty. For instance, among the Olulumo Okuni people of Cross River State in Nigeria, poverty okpakbesides referring to a lack of possessions, financial incapacity and the inability to meet the basic needs of individuals and the community, also denotes a state or condition devoid of people, happiness and good health.
This understanding is reflected in proverbs such as okpak oni okor "the poor has nobody"kelam ka okpak a dima koide "the speech of the poor is heard in the evening or when it is late"and okpak oradoma kenyam "the poor has a stench". These proverbs clearly imply a real awareness of how poverty as an undesirable state or condition of human well-being not only leads to exclusion from communal life but also to an undermining of the 'good life' that gives meaning and purpose to human existence.
He goes on to argue that corrupt practices vary enormously in kind from place to place, but usually include fraudulent, collusive, coercive and obstructive practices. Given the levels of poverty on the African continent, Omosegbon Referring to the example of Nigerian Christians, Ben Kwashi And what have we achieved?
For him this feature of intense religiosity should be contrasted with the enormity of corruption in Nigerian society.
The enormity of corruption in African society in the midst of intense religiosity inevitably raises serious questions about the kind of Christian, Islamic and traditional religious morality that exists in this predominantly religious continent. Moreover, one may ask: What are the consequences of this form of religiosity? How does the moral experience and performance of Africans conform to the requirements of biblical, Quranic and African traditional religious morality?
If Christianity, Islam and traditional religion are the norm, how, then, should the remarkable rise in instances of corruption, the looting of public treasuries, electoral malpractices, cultism, bribery, armed robbery, kidnappings and other forms of criminal activity in so many African societies be explained? What constitutes the actual moral authority of Christians, Muslims and traditional religionists? Is it expressed through the media, the internet, through secular values, reason, tradition or the scriptures?
Why have Africans, both in moments of crisis and when in political or elevated positions, failed to live up to their religious vocation, especially in terms of enacting sound moral values? In as much as these are extremely difficult and disturbing questions, they clearly call for deep reflection on the part of religious scholars and practitioners. Religious Complacency in the Wake of Endemic Poverty and Corruption Whilst the endemic problems of African poverty and corruption should first of all be blamed on the African political elite, the blame rests in the second place on religious leaders who are part of the elite and have done little to stem poverty and corruption Gifford Indeed, it could well be said that religious groups - Christian, Islamic and African Traditional - and their leaders have by and large been compliant as far as these problems are concerned.
With reference to the case of Nigeria, for instance, Agbiji and Swart have pointed out that religious and political leaders have through the centuries derived their leadership ideology from similar ideological sources. In doing so, the religious, socio-economic and political spheres have continued to influence each other both positively and negatively.
As a result, religion has been used in particular instances by politicians, political institutions, religious leaders and religious communities to foster and sustain the structural entrenchment of poverty and corruption in the continent in a number of ways. Firstly, the complacent attitudes of religious leaders towards African governments in power Agi A few examples will suffice in this regard.
During Ibrahim Babangida's regime as a military despot in Nigeria fromreligious and traditional leaders were used to support his schemes. They were lodged in hotels in Abuja and were given briefcases stuffed with money - after endorsing his projects.
When Sani Abacha was Nigerian head of state from and was finding a way to keep himself in office, foreign and local clerics of various religious persuasions likewise travelled to Abuja at Abacha's invitation and expense. In the end, with the exception of the Roman Catholic Pontiff Pope John Paul IIwho insisted that Abacha should release all political prisoners, all other clerics went back to their destinations singing the praises of Abacha Agi Likewise, induring the health crisis of late president Umaru Yar'Adua of Nigeria, Christian and Muslim religious leaders were invited to Aso Rock the Presidential residence to pray for the ailing president.
Whilst the entire nation was kept in the dark with regard to the state of health of the president, none of the religious leaders came out to declare the true state of his health Agbiji Whilst it could have been argued at the time that these leaders were not medical practitioners and that there was no pastoral obligation on them to declare confidential information, the least those religious leaders could have done was to declare that the president's health was still in a critical state, instead of keeping silent - especially since they knew the unjust way in which Nigerians had been treated with regard to the issue.
In all three cases, religious leaders were used to cover up for the political elite. The cases of religious and political patronage by politicians and religious leaders in Nigeria cf. Terence Ranger has reported on the way in which religion was used by politicians in the build-up to the elections in Zimbabwe.
At a prayer day in Harare in FebruaryMugabe addressed an audience that included a large contingent from the sect known as African Apostolic Faith; 4 they held placards inscribed with ZANU-PF political messages, whilst singing and dancing. For his part the leader of this sect, Madzibaba Nzira, 5 announced a prophecy that Mugabe was the divinely anointed king of Zimbabwe and that no person could dare to challenge him. ZANU-PF leaders thus used religion both Christian and African Traditional to promote their political interests, even when these contradicted religious values such as freedom, justice, the sanctity of life and peace.
This visit by representatives of the MDC similarly demonstrated how political leaders resorted to religion to promote their political ambitions. Whilst some religious leaders have consistently maintained a critical stance against unjust political leaders, there are others that continue to "sway wherever the political wind blows".
For instance, in the elections in Zimbabwe, whilst Archbishop Ncube declared Robert Mugabe's new election as president illegal and refused to attend the inauguration, two other Catholic bishops attended. It is also common knowledge that politicians in many African countries patronise pastors, imams and traditional medicine men in seeking spiritual power to win elections, keep themselves in positions of authority and even to undo their opponents Ranger ; Rodrick Secondly, historically during the industrial revolution, colonial expansion and thereafter religious bodies in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa have often relied on welfare and material aid in the form of poverty-relief programmes Swart a: Poverty is often accompanied by psychological and physical indignities.
Although relief programmes are helpful in at least keeping the body and soul of the poor together as an interim measure, this does not amount to actual empowerment. In this sense, religion has in some ways contributed to the social disempowerment of the poor in African societies.
Thirdly, through their work as distributors of relief and charity, religious institutions -such as the churches - are effectively providing psychological relief for unjust conditions and political and socio-economic institutions Swart a: The use of religious institutions as distributors of relief and charity by political and economic institutions and by powerful individuals both locally and internationally further exacerbates the challenges of poverty and corruption in Africa.
Fourthly, religious practitioners have often encouraged 'God-talk' that weakens the resolve of masses to rise up against unjust political and economic systems in Africa.
Much of this nonchalance with regard to public issues is initiated by the political elite and given impetus by religious leaders and by the faithful. In the face of socio-political and economic challenges on the continent, instead of Africans rising to the challenge, they resort to prayer.
Whilst praying over issues of socio-political and economic importance is necessary, prayer should not replace responsible actions that are geared towards fighting unjust systems. The remarkable indifference of religious institutions in Africa in the face of enormous socio-political and economic injustice runs counter to their ethical claims. Such indifference on the part of religious institutions and practitioners in Africa also distances them from their known roles in overturning social injustice in various contexts such as Europe in the past.
In this regard, for example, Paul Tracey He asserts that between the 18th and 20th century, religious movements provided the basis for nearly all of the major uprisings by peasant or urban workers in Europe. The importance of the role of religious institutions in overturning unjust social institutions elsewhere lies in the example this presents to African religious institutions and practitioners. Fifthly, the politicisation and radicalisation of religion in a number of African countries - such as in post-independence Nigeria, Rwanda and recently in Egypt, Kenya, Sudan and other African countries - have led to violence, deaths, injustice, poverty and hardship, which will be very difficult to eradicate from the continent Kalu e: Religious riots and Islamic terrorism in Nigeria, Kenya, Libya, Egypt and other parts of Africa all demonstrate the negative impact of religion.
These negative trends have not only claimed hundreds of thousands of human lives, but are also responsible for the enormous destruction of resources Kalu e: Instead of being a source of complacency, conflict and poverty, religion could provide a lens through which the public space can be re-imagined Kalu e: The Role of Religion in African Political and Social Development In the nations of the global North or the so-called developed world, the forces of enlightenment and modernisation have distanced religion from socio-political and economic life, relegating it to the private sphere.
During the same era, religion was seen as counter-developmental. However, over a period of time, and particularly from the latter part of the 20th century, a movement from estrangement to engagement between faith and development occurred. Unlike societies of the global North, where faith and development were estranged at some point in history, in African societies religion remained central in all aspects of society Kobia Religion, moral values, wealth and social progress were, historically speaking, all communal matters and have remained so in many instances.
Poverty was not a pronounced feature of African societies. For example, among the already-mentioned Olulumo Okuni people of Cross River State, Nigeria, traditional norms still exist until today that are religiously informed and that ensure there is care for all members of the community.
A stranger, on passing by a yam barn when hungry, can stop over to roast yam and eat to his or her satisfaction. When passing by tapped palm trees, a thirsty person that desires to drink palm wine but cannot afford it can drink some wine. A cut tree branch or leaves placed on the spot where the needy person helped himself or herself was sufficient to inform the owner that the wine was not taken by a thief but by a person in need.
To be wealthy or rich, means to be surrounded by many people - community. It also means to be healthy and ethically sound, and to be in tune with one's creator, ancestors and community Narayan Among the Olulumo people, for example, a rich person is called efang-ane, which literarily means "being wealthy of people or having many people".
The concept of honour and shame was also helpful in African societies as it prevented people from stealing in order to gain prestige or win accolades from the community.
John Paul II
Stealing was taboo and stigmatised the thief, his family and community, all of whom would suffer shame and stigmatisation on account of such behaviour Agbiji There are critics who argue that the African patterns of social behaviour are basically responsible for the material backwardness of African societies.
However, within the corpus of alternative developmental approaches, humankind is being urged to return to communal and sustainable lifestyles, as they are now believed to be the solution to the global economic and environmental challenges Theron Despite the erosion of many religiously informed traditional practices by the forces of modernity and globalisation, religion, whether African Traditional, Christian or Islam, still has a vital contribution to make to the progress of African societies.
And he added, "for all the times that Muslims and Christians have offended one another, we need to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and offer each other forgiveness". During the visit to Syria the Pope also called for greater understanding and respect between the followers of the "three Abrahamic religions" Judaism, Islam, Christianity. In harmony, but apart However, one should not take this call for harmony as suggesting anything other than a way of coexisting in the face of profound differences.
In his book On the Threshold of Hope, John Paul showed his conviction that Islam had discarded much that was essential, by making God exist outside of the world: John Paul was clear that "not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant from Christianity". Top Jews We Christians recognize that the Jewish religious heritage is intrinsic to our own faith: He had been brought up as a child playing with Jews in Poland.
No other pope had had such a close experience of Jewish culture so it was not surprising that he went further than any other pope to restore friendship between the Vatican and the Jewish people. I can vividly remember the Jews who gathered every Saturday at the synagogue behind our school.
Both religious groups, Catholics and Jews, were united, I presume, by the awareness that they prayed to the same God. Despite their different languages, prayers in the church and in the synagogue were based to a considerable degree on the same texts. Crossing the Threshold of Hope John Paul lost many people he knew during the Holocaust, so anti-Semitism was a reality that he had experienced.
Furthermore he had experienced the anti-semitism of the Church, having heard the viciously anti-Jewish remarks made by an earlier Polish Cardinal. For more than 20 years John Paul II pursued a consistent policy of moving the Church towards a historic reconciliation with the Jewish people. He was the first Pope to visit a Jewish synagogue and Auschwitz. He made a dramatic apology for a history of Christian anti-Semitism, and throughout his papacy spoke strongly against any form of anti-Jewish sentiment.
In spring he went to Israel as a pilgrim. The document Nostra Aetate had gone some way to recognise the vast spiritual heritage that Christians and Jews had in common, and John Paul capitalised on this.
He believed that he should work for a new era of reconciliation and peace between Jews and Christians, and he pledged March that the Catholic Church would do everything possible to ensure that it was not just a dream but a reality.
First acts of reconciliation One of John Paul's first acts of reconciliation was to pay a visit to the synagogue in Rome in His predecessor, John XXIII had stopped his car outside the synagogue once to bless people leaving the sabbath service. Inthe Vatican gave diplomatic recognition to Israel, and in he formally apologised for the failure of Catholics to help Jews during the Holocaust. The apology in March also acknowledged that Christian anti-semitism might have made Nazi persecution of the Jews easier.
The Pope described the Holocaust as "an indelible stain on the 20th century. In March he apologised for wrongs inflicted on Jews down the ages, although he did not explicitly mention the Holocaust. We hope that the Jewish people will acknowledge that the Church utterly condemns anti-Semitism and every form of racism as being altogether opposed to the principles of Christianity.
We must work together to build a future in which there will be no more anti-Judaism among Christians or anti-Christian sentiment among Jews. John Paul II during visit to the Chief Rabbis of Israel, March As Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter, I assure the Jewish people that the Catholic Church, motivated by the Gospel law of truth, and love, and by no political considerations, is deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place.
But although the Pope called for a new relationship between the Christian and Jewish faiths based on their common roots, he stopped short of the apology many Israelis had sought for the silence of the Catholic Church during the Holocaust. Nor did he condemn explicitly the Nazi persecution of the Jews. For many, Jew and Catholic alike, the longed-for apology was acted out, even if not spoken, when the Pope walked in the footsteps of uncounted millions of Jews to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and put a prayer for forgiveness and togetherness into the wall God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations.
We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer.
Religion and Morality
And asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant. He did not shun the Austrian president, Kurt Waldheim, despite much public disquiet about his role in war crimes. Many commentators thought that John Paul's apology in Israel did not go far enough, but any stronger apology would have implied criticism of the wartime Pope, Pius XII, and popes do not criticise other popes.
Choice of saints John Paul was heavily criticised for some of his choices for sainthood. Pius XII is on the road to sainthood, despite much criticism of his failure to take strong enough action against Nazi anti-semitism. Nor was Pius XII the only controversial papal candidate for canonisation. Pius IX, pope between andwas notoriously anti-Semitic: He is also accused of kidnapping a Jewish child and raising him as his own son. Another controversial candidate for sainthood whom John Paul II beatified was the Croatian wartime Archbishop, Cardinal Stepinac, whom Jewish groups accuse of collaborating with the Nazi regime in Croatia.
Jews were also offended by the canonisation of Edith Stein, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who became a nun and died in Auschwitz. It was the first occasion since Bible times that a Jewish-born person had been made a saint, but Jewish groups claimed that she had been killed for her Jewish origins, and not as a martyr to her Catholic faith - the reason for her canonisation.
Another controversial saint was Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan monk who died at Auschwitz in the place of another prisoner who had been condemned to death. Kolbe had edited an anti-semitic magazine in Poland before the war. Abortion and the Holocaust In the Pope was involved in controversy when his new book controversially compared abortion and the Holocaust.
In his fifth book, Memory and Identity, he said both were the result of governments clashing with divine law. The Pope wrote that both abortion and the mass murder of six million Jews came about as a result of people usurping the "law of God" beneath the guise of democracy.
It was a legally elected parliament which allowed for the election of Hitler in Germany in the s We have to question the legal regulations that have been decided in the parliaments of present day democracies. The most direct association which comes to mind is the abortion laws Parliaments which create and promulgate such laws must be aware that they are transgressing their powers and remain in open conflict with the law of God and the law of nature.
This added new energy to the ongoing debate about who the next pope might be.