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The Catholic Church in Benin: Thirty Years of Reconciliation and Missionary Commitment

30 Years since the Benin National Conference: Catholic Church Celebrations and Commitment to the Democratic Future

The Catholic Church in Benin celebrates with fervor and gratitude the 30th anniversary of the National Conference, a momentous moment that marked the transition to democratic renewal in the African country. This pivotal event, which began with the Conference of the Nation’s Living Forces in February 1990, represented a new social compact after 18 years of Marxist-Leninist military rule, without bloodshed.

The Bishop of Abomey, Monsignor Eugène Cyrille Houndékon, stresses the importance of the fear of God, spiritual fervor and the participation of all in nation-building. Tenacious perseverance to achieve a culture of consensus was vital in this process of democratic renewal. The prelate also reiterated the essentiality of reconciliation, saying it ennobles human beings and elevates their dignity as sons and daughters of God.

The celebrations included a solemn Eucharistic concelebration presided over by the Bishop of Lokossa, Monsignor Victor Agbanou, attended by numerous bishops, priests, and a crowd of faithful, including politicians and representatives of different denominations. The event featured prayer, fasting and a novena dedicated to social cohesion, democracy and development in Benin.

The Catholic Church of Benin, conscious of its role as spiritual leader, concluded the celebrations with an international conference entitled “Benin National Conference, 30 Years Later.” During this cultural and intellectual gathering, the journey so far was reflected upon, highlighting that the outcomes of the Conference, such as peaceful and participatory democracy, the rule of law and respect for freedoms, must continue to illuminate the country’s political, economic and social choices.

The link between the Catholic Church in Benin and the National Conference was emphasized as an ongoing missionary commitment. Consensus-building, forgiveness and reconciliation are core values that the Church invites the Beninese people to embrace in order to build an inclusive and prosperous society.

The 30th anniversary of the Benin National Conference represents a significant chapter in the country’s history, and the Catholic Church is committed to keeping the spirit of that moment alive so that it can continue to inspire and guide Benin toward a future of peace, justice and solidarity.

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Vatican News

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