(Bishop of Nouakchott, Mauritania)
This intervention has been made to favour the better knowledge between the Synodal Fathers and permits them to share their preoccupation and hopes.
It begins with a presentation of the Church "in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania". Immense in area, minute as to the number of Christians, entirely made up of expatriates, very cosmopolitan and moving. This Church was born a year after Vatican II which placed the accent on the universality of the People of God. She is inscribed in the Universial Mission of the Church; she is an integral part of the whole which she serves and benefits of its support. To her alone, she is the whole Church and, however, she can only survive through the other members which make fraternal love interdependent. Because of this, she counts especially upon the solidarity of the unique college of all the Bishops. This is her only hope of relief for her pastoral agents.
She is conscious of her missionary task wanting to be, in many ways, witness to God's tenderness and servant of the creation of the Kingdom. Approximately thirty pastoral agents (priests, religious and lay people) asure the life of the Christian community and even more service to the poor, the sick, the orphans, the emarginated of all kinds. Caritas is the working peg of this pastoral, social and charitable action. This service is being accomplished in an entirely Muslim nation.
The Muslim fundamentalists have been strongly manifest in the last several months. Caritas, having accomplished a great deal, finds itself in the middle of a diffamatory campaign: it is being accused of proselytsm.
In October, two priests were cruelly tortured within the walls of the Cathedral before the Mass for Sunday's Verspers.
Faced with this Islamic tide, we intend to pursue our task by putting our entire trust in He who guides us and refuses all hate.
We denounce the tendency to identify all Muslims with the Islamic fundamentalists. These last are only a minority and many are those, among the others, who wish to create a more just world.