VATICAN CITY, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI, opening a synod of African bishops in Vatican City, said Africa's cultures and spirituality are a "spiritual lung" for the world.
The pope warned, however, that Africa is tormented by the "so-called first world toxic spiritual rubbish of materialism," adding that "political colonialism is never finished," the BBC reported Sunday.
Approximately 200 bishops from 53 African states came together to discuss the Catholic Church's role in solving Africa's wars and social injustices. The pope said he plans to attend as many of the sessions of the conference as his schedule will allow, the BBC said.
African music rang through St. Peter's Basilica in Rome during the opening of the special synod, the second to be organized for the purpose of focusing on the problems of Africa.
The first occurred in 1994 when Rwandan genocide was starting, but did not progress beyond the discussion stages, the BBC said.