ACN News: Friday, 27th April 2012 – LIBERIA
Liberian bishop: trial and conviction of Charles Taylor - a strong signal
By Reinhard Backes
Andrew Karnley, Bishop of Cape Palmas in south-eastern Liberia, welcomed the impending verdict of the UN Special Court in the Hague as “A strong signal, and not just for Liberia.” Since 2006, the former Liberian president has been standing trial there for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Taylor ruled the West African country from 1997 to 2003. He is on trial for crimes in the neighbouring country of Sierra Leone. Just a few hours before the verdict was announced in the Hague, Bischof Karnley declared during a visit to the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), “The important fact is that Taylor was taken to account. This is a clear signal: those who hold responsibility must take responsibility for their actions.”
During the civil war during Charles Taylor’s rule, all Liberian dioceses suffered greatly, according to Bishop Karnley. Priests were assassinated, the Church infrastructure was decimated, numerous nuns and monks fled the country. With the aid of outside help, Liberia’s three dioceses, the archdiocese of Monrovia and the dioceses of Cape Palmas and Gbarnga, have been able to rebuild convents and seminaries. “There are strong signs of hope in Liberia, but there is still a lot to do,” noted Bishop Karnley.
The voice of the Catholic Church is heard in the country, he added, because it spoke out against violence and terror during the civil war. Liberian president and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf praised the former Archbishop of Monrovia, Michael Francis, calling him the nation’s conscience. Bishop Karnley added that the Church stands for a process of reconciliation, justice and peaceful coexistence. And the Church is also making important contributions in the area of education. There are currently 50 Catholic schools in Liberia.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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