Burkina Faso – Interreligious Dialogue to combat violence

“It is undeniable that the Church has contributed much to the African society in the areas of education, health and human progress. But evangelization, even though it has progressed in the past 50 years, remains the priority.
“Christians represent only about 17 percent of the African population compared with the 30 percent worldwide.”

– Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo

During a recent pilgrimage to Lourdes where he celebrated his 75th birthday, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, spoke to La Croix International about the growing unrest that is threatening the hitherto relatively stable and religiously tolerant West African country. 

Burkina Faso is the headquarters of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, which works with Christian and Muslim communities across nine Sahelian countries. The Foundation will have a critical role to play in the future as the Cardinal believes that interreligious dialogue will play an increasingly important role in combating violence. 

Cardinal Ouédraogo spoke candidly about the growing crisis that is affecting the Sahel, including Niger and Mali, and states that Burkina Faso and the entire region cannot cope with the challenges alone. Over half a million people are internally displaced and some 2000 schools have been closed. 

Having reached retirement age it is expected he will soon tender his resignation to Pope Francis. In response to La Croix International’s request for an assessment of the African Church, Cardinal Ouédraogo replied:

“It is undeniable that the Church has contributed much to the African society in the areas of education, health and human progress. But evangelization, even though it has progressed in the past 50 years, remains the priority.

“Christians represent only about 17 percent of the African population compared with the 30 percent worldwide.”

To read the full La Croix International interview, please click here.