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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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    • I. Brief history of the continent's evangelization
      • 44
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Some choices of the African peoples

44. While the shadows and the dark side of the African situation described above can in no way be minimized, it is worth recalling here a number of positive achievements of the peoples of the Continent which deserve to be praised and encouraged. For example, the Synod Fathers in their Message to the People of God were pleased to mention the beginning of the democratic process in many African countries, expressing the hope that this process would be consolidated, and that all obstacles and resistance to the establishment of the rule of law would be promptly removed through the concerted action of all those involved and through their sense of the common good.51

The "winds of change" are blowing strongly in many parts of Africa, and people are demanding ever more insistently the recognition and promotion of human rights and freedoms. In this regard I note with satisfaction that the Church in Africa, faithful to its vocation, stands resolutely on the side of the oppressed and of voiceless and marginalized peoples. I strongly encourage it to continue to bear this witness. The preferential option for the poor is "a special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole Tradition of the Church bears witness ... The motivating concern for the poor — who are in the very meaning of the term ?the Lord's poor' — must be translated at all levels into concrete actions, until it decisively attains a series of necessary reforms".52

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