By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In condemning the practice of female genital mutilation, the Catholic Church must offer alternative rituals for helping girls mark the passage to womanhood, a bishop from Tanzania told the Synod of Bishops for Africa.
The appeal from Bishop Michael Mabuga Msonganzila of Musoma came in a written submission to the synod and was published by the Vatican Oct. 23. A condemnation of female genital mutilation was included in the 57 propositions the synod presented to Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 24.
Bishop Msonganzila had told the synod that the practice of female genital mutilation is widespread in his diocese.
"Despite campaigns that have been carried out, this cultural practice for so long has been taken to be part of the initiation process to maturity and to a new state of womanhood," he said[...]
"This is good. However, should that process be done through the butchering of the most sensitive part of one's body?" he asked.
"Women are born with certain body parts for good reason, just as men are. If God wanted those parts missing, why did he create them?" the bishop wrote.