Justice & Peace in Mozambique
Our vocation in the Church is linked with our fight for more justice in society. Already the Second Vatican Council said explicitly that “the joys and hopes, the grief and the fears of the people of today meet an echo in our hearts” (GS 1). The Church feels intimately linked with the cares and needs of all people. The Second Assembly of the Bishops likewise emphasised the necessity of working for justice: “The task of justice is an integral part of the mission of evangelisation of the Church” (Justice in the world, 1971). Engagement in justice and peace is part of the missionary’s action in all Christian communities as it is prayed in the fourth Eucharistic prayer for various needs: may your Church stand as a living witness to truth and freedom, to peace and justice, that all people be raised up to a new hope.
In Sena Parish (diocese of Beira, Mozambique), the people managed to organise themselves for the protection of their land against a multinational that wanted 18 000 hectares of their land in order to grow sugar cane and produce ethanol for the european market. This multinational intended to expel the inhabitants to other areas lacking basic infrastructures like schools, hospitals, proper roads and stores. The person in charge of promoting justice and peace issues distributed documents explaining the Law of the Land to all churches and beyond. He was threatened at the Local Court, but people who don’t belong to our Church protected him. Then, with their Paramount Chief, people started to get involved. They finally succeeded to protect their land with the help of the Diocesan Commission of Justice & Peace. A lawyer assisted them too to be officially recognised as an Association. As a result, the multinational had to withdraw from the area. Sadness and fear were transformed into joy and hope for a better world. Seeing this success story other communities want to do the same. Together with prayer and worship in church the work of evangelisation means helping people to overcome powerlessness, ignorance and submission to the powerful. It is the will of Jesus to work against injustices and all inhuman conditions including slavery.
Norbert Angibaud, M.Afr