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Bishops fear ‘powder keg’ in Burkina Faso

Catholic World News - July 25, 2013

In a lengthy pastoral letter, the bishops of Burkina Faso declined to take sides in the dispute over the government’s controversial creation of a senate but questioned the senate’s value.

Located in West Africa, the French-speaking nation of 17.3 million is 61% Muslim and 13% Catholic, with 15% of the population retaining indigenous practices.

Expressing concern that the nation is becoming a “social powder keg,” the bishops noted that the youth are becoming increasingly angry at the “plutocracy” that rules Burkina Faso, where “more than two-fifths … live on less than a half-dollar per day.”

The bishops also spoke of the “paradox” of “the rise of religious practice” accompanied by “the decay of moral and ethical values” at “all levels of society.”

As they concluded the letter, the bishops emphasized several “Gospel values,” including “the absolute value of the person,” “special attention to the poor,” a non-xenophobic commitment to national unity, and “interreligious and cultural dialogue that excludes all fundamentalism and all fanaticism.”

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