The Angola and São Tomé Episcopal Conference (CEAST) expressed its opposition to the decriminalization of abortion such as it is established in the new Penal Code.
CEAST bishops have also expressed their solidarity with the victims of police violence. In their usual pastoral note - released yesterday at the closing of another annual meeting - the bishops of the Angola and São Tomé Episcopal Conference (CEAST) said that abortion is "an attack on the fifth commandment of the Law of God." The bishops argue that "life is a gift from God, which must be received, loved and protected from all threats."
The new Penal Code considers the interruption of intrauterine life a criminal offense but makes a few exceptions: when the woman's life is in risk, when pregnancy results from rape and incest, and when the fetus' survival is medically unfeasible.
The bishops have also expressed their solidarity with the victims of the storms that have recently ravaged the country and of the collapse of a gold mine in the municipality of Chipindo, Huíla province, which killed 13 people.
The pastoral note further mentions the "continuing and growing deforestation of the country" without a visible replenishment plan, which contributes to environmental degradation.
CEAST bishops have also expressed their concern with rising unemployment and crime rates among young people, "who feel desperate for not having immediate solutions in sight." They have also argued that "pursuing an informal market without offering alternative survival options" is "counterproductive."
Catholic bishops acknowledged yesterday that "there is no data regarding the abuse of minors in the [Angolan] church," adding (without specifying when) that in the only known case the culprit was "handed over to justice and tried."
Read more in Jornal de Angola