Special section: The church in Africa

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Poverty, HIV/AIDS, ethnic and tribal divisions, political corruption, climate change, equality-these are many of the challenges that the Catholic Church faces in Africa. But the church is also growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world. The African church is full of hope and a rich spirituality, and it is committed to strong values, solidarity, and justice.

The bishops of Africa are currently meeting in Rome to discuss their jobs of leading such a complex church. From October 4 to October 25, they are participating in the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. Even since the first Special Assembly for Africa in 1994, the continent has emerged as a central part of the church, not simply a missionary territory. In U.S. Catholic, we also have strived to cover the church in Africa in all of its complexity. Here we have compiled some of the news from the Synod along with our own coverage of the continent. Peruse these stories to gain some understanding of our brothers and sisters in Christ across the Atlantic.

U.S. Catholic stories:

No forgiveness, no future: An interview with Archbishop Desmund Tutu

Kenya rising: The church confronts ethnic violence in a young democracy

Church fights for women's rights in Kenya

Kenya: Missionary territory and the church's future

The Congo's killing fields: Demand for valuable resource drives violence in this country

See no evil: Catholic groups struggle to help Darfur's refugees

There is a balm in Tapologo: The church treats the bodies and souls of HIV/AIDS patients in South Africa

Morality check: It's time to reevaluate the church's approach to AIDS in Africa.

Out of Africa An interview with Father James Chukwuma Okoye, C.S.Sp., a priest from Nigeria

The whole world in our hands An interview with Caritas Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight on development

News on the Synod

Oct. 5: Synod opens with call on Africans to be forces for justice, peace

Oct. 6: Racial justice still must be achieved in US, archbishop tells synod

Oct. 7: Ethnic tensions in the church must be overcome, say African bishops

Oct. 9: Women at synod urge bishops to face reality of discrimination

Oct. 9: Synod spotlight: African cardinal finds candor brings complications

Oct. 14: US-Caritas meeting on pediatric AIDS calls for justice in health care

Oct. 19: Sell the Vatican? Nigerian archbishop calls the idea 'stupid'

Oct. 20: Dialogue, negotiations must replace war, say synod bishops

Sept. 23: Synod may not reflect reality of North Africa, say church leaders

Additional resources

Africa Faith and Justice Network

Catholic Taskforce on Africa

Catholic Relief Service's page on Africa 

Africa Rural Connect  (Suggest and discuss new ideas to help Africa. Follow @ideasforafrica on Twitter)