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|Ioannes Paulus PP. II|
Ecclesia in Africa
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139. By entering into contact with all the peoples of the world through her dialogue with the various cultures, the Church brings them closer to one another, enabling each people to assume, in faith, the authentic values of others.
Ready to cooperate with all people of good will and with the international community, the Church in Africa does not seek advantages for itself. The solidarity which it expresses "seeks to go beyond itself, to take on the specifically Christian dimensions of total gratuity, forgiveness and reconciliation".266 The Church seeks to contribute to humanity's conversion, leading it to acceptance of God's salvific plan through her witness to the Gospel, accompanied by charitable work on behalf of the poor and the neediest. In so doing she never loses sight of the primacy of the transcendent and of those spiritual realities which are the first fruits of man's eternal salvation.
In their discussion on the Church's solidarity with peoples and nations, the Synod Fathers were at all times fully aware that "earthly progress must be carefully distinguished from the growth of Christ's Kingdom. Nevertheless, to the extent that the former can contribute to the better ordering of human society, it is of vital concern to the Kingdom of God".267 Precisely for this reason the Church in Africa is convinced — as the work of the Special Assembly clearly demonstrated — that waiting for Christ's final return "can never be an excuse for lack of concern for people in their concrete personal situations and in their social, national and international life",268 since these earthly conditions have a bearing upon humanity's pilgrimage towards eternity.
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