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Violence will not deter Church in Africa: Cardinal Turkson

Catholic World News - August 07, 2012

Violent attacks on Christian churches in Africa are likely to continue, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. But those attacks will not deter Christians from bearing witness to the faith.

“The aim is without any doubt what Christians represent,” Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson told Vatican Radio. The African prelate said that the Church is vulnerable in part because of a very different approach to religious belieft.

As a practical matter, Cardinal Turkson observed, most Christian churches are “built by preference in places closest to the missions,” which often puts them in relatively isolated areas. “Muslim mosque, on the contrary, always stand in the busiest places in the midst of their faithful,” he said.

Moreover, the cardinal said, African Christians are distinct from their neighbors in their reaction to the threat of attack. For Christians, he observed, “having to defend ourselves is not part of our nature.” As for other African faiths, “They think that religion is something that must be defended—that theirs is a god to be defended.” Christians, he said, worship a God who wants not to be defended but to “be loved, known, and witnessed to.”

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