AFRICA/IVORY COAST - One month of the presidential elections, a conference on "prevention and peaceful management of conflicts"

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 peace   reconciliation   local churches   elections  

Abidjan (Agenzia Fides) - "Prevention and peaceful management of conflicts", is the theme of the conference held on 6 September at Notre Dame de la Tendresse de la Riviera Golf parish in the archdiocese of Abidjan, organized by the parish priest and his pastoral council.
According to the organizers, the holding of this conference-debate one month before the electoral deadlines in the Ivory Coast, intends to make the Church an actor of reconciliation in a delicate moment, given that the electoral years in Africa in general and in the Ivory Coast in particular are marked by cycles of controversy, violence, aggression and often inhuman acts against which the Church, actor and protagonist of social life, cannot remain silent.
"We faithful Catholics are a force; because the human values we are talking about, that must govern society to reduce conflicts are in fact those that Mother Church teaches us and therefore talking about them is not being outside the Church but the opposite", said Thérèse N'Diaye, 1st vice president of the pastoral council parish church of Notre Dame de la Tendresse de la Riviera Golf explaining the reasons for the conference.
Should the laity take part in crisis management? Why are Christians very often silent in the face of violence and why do we not actively participate in crisis management? And finally, what do Christian laity need to better understand and assume their responsibilities in the face of crises and conflicts? Many questions were answered in the contribution of the speakers.
Speaking first on the "prevention and peaceful management of conflicts" with regard to biblical texts and the social doctrine of the Church, Fr. Charles Koua, Vicar of the parish of Notre Dame de la Tendresse de la Riviera, said that conflict "is a natural fact inherent to life in society; in this sense, conflict is inevitable, it cannot be removed forever".
Fr. Koua cited as examples of conflicts in the Bible, from the Old to the New Testament and among the most eminent people including "Abraham, Sarah and his servant Hagar, Joseph and his brothers, Elijah the prophet and King Ahaz. . ." to emphasize that "these conflicts are due to injustices, to problems that arose at a given moment for which it was necessary to react effectively". "Conflict cannot escape the life of a Christian, who therefore must react by providing solutions, because peace is a necessity for Christians". Fr. Koua recalled the means of crisis management such as negotiation and arbitration.
"In the book of Leviticus, on receiving the Word of God Moses describes the procedures when there is a conflict between Israelites, between a man and a woman, and between a Jew and a non-Jew. This is also what is translated in the New Testament, precisely in the Gospel of St. Matthew, that part that we have called the speech on community life: if you have something against your brother, first go and reconcile with him and then reconcile with God".
Adeline Touali, expert in conflict management, stressed that "conflict management is a daily action through concrete acts, each of us is responsible for peace; it is not only the prerogative of politicians, it requires everyone's involvement through tools such as maintaining always the level of communication even when it seems difficult, to be able to listen actively and finally to avoid judging on the basis of prejudices". (S.S.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/9/2020)