|The Fruit of Past Papal Visits to Africa|
|Written by Sherry|
|Wednesday, 18 March 2009 08:46|
I found this fascinating comment from Bonnie Ekwowusi about papal visits at allAfrica.com:
"Papal visits are important visits for several reasons. Aside from the spiritual benefits derived from such visits, they exert enormous influence on contemporary public life, dictate the right ordering of society, and, above all, leave a furrow of permanent positive change.
With 104 trips outside Italy (16 trips to the African continent) Pope John Paul 11 was outstanding for his tenacity in promoted peace, tolerance, commitment to social justice, respect for human dignity inter-religious dialogues. In fact Pope John Paul 11 acted directly as intermediary in the promotion of justice and peace in countries where peace was threatened. Recall that on 15th December 1982, Pope John Paul 11 had an audience with Yasser Arafat on the peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question. Not to talk of the famous meeting of the Pope to Morocco with King Hassan 11 on August 19th, 1995 which was attended by well over 80,000 youths. Or his visits to Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Cameroun and Nigeria.
In fact Pope John Paul 11's visit to Nigeria during the reign of Sani Abacha will remain indelibly engraved on the minds of many Nigerians. Life was very tough at that time. There were many human rights abuses. The Pope had a private audience with Sani Abacha and members of his family. After the Pope's visit some predicted that there would be change in Nigeria because no country the Pope had visited had remained same. True to their prediction, there was a resounding change in Nigeria; something happened which eventually paved the way for the enthronement of a civilian democracy."