Pope Heads to Africa To Articulate Position On Continent

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

COTONOU, Benin (AP) -- Pope Benedict is visiting Africa, the Roman Catholic Church's fastest-growing region whose pool of aspiring priests are helping to replenish orders in Europe, where congregations are dwindling.

Benedict is visiting a seminary in Benin. The tiny nation is on Africa's western coast and is emblematic of the church's growth spurt. In the past decade, Benin's Catholic population has grown by half, to more than half-a-million converts. Meanwhile, congregations in Europe including in Germany and Poland, the countries that produced both the current pope and his predecessor, are declining.

Benedict is planning to release a document outlining the future of the church in Africa. The pope's position will likely be guided by the 57 recommendations of the 2009 synod held in the capital of Cameroon, where bishops met to articulate the future of the African church.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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