Pope Benedict presided at an opening Mass for a Special Synodal Assembly for Africa today. In his homily, he spoke about Africa's "deep sense of God" and called it "an enormous spiritual 'lung' for a humanity that appears to be in a crisis of faith and hope." He warned of the risks of "materialism, combined with relativist and nihilist thinking."
Zenit and Benedetto XVI Forum have full English translations of the homily. The Daily Journal has the original Italian text. Asia News has an article about the homily and the Pope's words at the midday Angelus. Catholic News Agency has an article about the synod.
At the midday Angelus, the Holy Father recalled the first "African Synod" established by Pope John Paul II in 1994, and described the way the synod works, with the Holy Spirit leading the Church. He said, "The most important thing, for everyone,
is to listen - to listen to each other, while all of us listen to what
the Lord wishes to tell us. That is why the Synod assembly takes place
in an atmosphere of faith and prayer, in religious obedience to the
Word of God."
In his remarks to English-speaking visitors after the Angelus, he said:
"I invite all of you to join me in praying for the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa, which opened this morning in Saint Peter’s Basilica. May this great ecclesial event strengthen the Church in Africa in her witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in her efforts to promote reconciliation, justice and peace among its peoples. May the Synod also help turn the eyes of the world to that great continent and inspire renewed solidarity with our African brothers and sisters. As we entrust these prayers to the intercession of Our Lady, I invoke upon you and your families God’s blessings of joy and peace!"