Do site Rome Reports:
November 18, 2011. (Romereports.com) It was in the early afternoon, that the pope began his apostolic visit to Benin. He was greeted at Cotonou's international airport by president Thomas Yayi Boni and his wife Chantal. The pope was also welcomed by hundreds of locals who waved colored cloths and danced to traditional African rhythms.
During his first speech, the pope said, the country shouldn't forget its rich history as it continues to build its future.
“It needs to be accompanied by prudence for the good of all in order to avoid the pitfalls which exist on the African continent and elsewhere, such as the unconditional surrender to the law of the market or that of finance, nationalism or exaggerated and sterile tribalism.”
The pope also talked about the presence of the Catholic Church in Benin, especially when it comes to education and healthcare.
“She wants to be close to those who are in need, near to those who search for God. She wants to make it understood that God is neither absent nor irrelevant as some would have us believe, but that He is the friend of man.”
The visit marks the pope's second trip to Africa, but the first to Benin. The three main reasons for his apostolic visit were also laid out during his speech.
One of them is to honor late Cardinal Bernard Gantin in his native country. Gantin served as the Dean of the College of Cardinals and worked closely with Benedict XVI.
“We both happily assisted my predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, in the exercise of his Petrine ministry. We had many occasions to meet, to engage in profound discussions and to pray together.”
During his speech the pope also highlighted the two other reasons for his visit. They include celebrating the country's 150th evangelization anniversary. And also, presenting African bishops with a new Apostolic Exhortation. The papal document is meant to be a pastoral guide for the Church in Africa.
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