As the Synod of African Bishops gets underway, Pope Benedict warns Africa of religious fanaticism and corruption.
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN (OCTOBER 4, 2009) CTV - Pope Benedict opened a synod of Roman Catholic bishops on Africa on Sunday (October 4) by denouncing the West's materialism and lack of moral values, which he said were contaminating the world's poorest continent like "toxic waste."
In his homily the Pope compared Africa, which he visited earlier this year, to a spiritual "lung" at risk of being attacked by what he called the viruses of materialism and religious fundamentalism.
"There is absolutely no doubt that the so-called 'First' World has exported up until now, and continues to export its spiritual toxic waste that contaminates the people of other continents, particularly those of Africa. In that sense colonialism -- at a political level -- has never really entirely come to an end," he said.
"In this sense colonialism, which is over at a political level, has never really entirely come to an end."
Lamenting the exploitation of Africa's vast resources, the pope also spoke out against religious fundamentalism, which he said was mixed with political and economic interests.
In the 20th century Africa's Catholic population shot up from about 2 million in 1900 to about 140 million in 2000, making the continent ever more important to the Vatican as the number of practising Catholics in the developed world declines.