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Central African Republic: evangelization amidst chaos, persecution

Catholic World News - June 06, 2013

Three months after the Islamist rebel movement Seleka assumed power in the Central African Republic, a Spanish missionary bishop said that the nation remains in chaos.

“I am walking as usual,” said Bishop Juan-José Aguirre Muñoz of Bangassou. “We have no other means because all the vehicles available to the diocese and the missionaries were stolen” by Seleka forces.

“They stole everything: 28 cars, three motorcycles, all medicines in the pharmacy; the home of the Franciscan Sisters, that of the Holy Ghost Fathers [was] looted,” he added. “The list is long.”

“We are not making a fuss because it is not the first time that such things happen to us,” he added. “The important thing is to stay here and be close to the poor to evangelize. We were not the first to experience moments of such violence and pain, nor will we be the last. We remain just like the apostles, who said it is an honor to be beaten for the Lord.”

The nation of 5.1 million is 50% Christian and 15% Muslim; approximately half of the Christians are Catholic. 35% of citizens retain indigenous beliefs.

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