We have compiled a Book of Abstracts outlining the contributors focus for the conference
- Proposal for the inclusion of women in leadership in the Catholic Church in Africa
I will be approaching this topic from the perspective of a converted catholic female professional communicator who is married with seven children. I currently belong to the Catholic Women’s Association of my church, Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd Osapa, which is currently an outstation of the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki Lagos, Nigeria. In this paper, I trace the traditional roles within the church for the clergy and laity, based on the Holy Bible and traditions of the Church, with an attempt to situate and understand where the female roles begin and end. The paper will evaluate the same in today’s context while attempting to make recommendations for fitting roles women can play today and in the future that can make them better evangelisers who will bring more people to Christ through the Holy Catholic Church; beginning in their families
- COFP Fellowship Program: Strategy for Interreligious Dialogue & Peaceful Co-Existence
Agatha O. Chikelue DMMM
Increase in violent religious extremism across Nigeria has necessitated the need to put in place a platform for training local religious leaders in interreligious dialogue and peacebuilding initiatives in the country. The ongoing insurgency and terrorism by the Boko Haram and their likes in the north east and other parts of the country has become a thing of grave concern especially as it continues to claim lives of many innocent citizens. Sadly, these terrorists’ groups claim to act in the name of religion thereby generating violent image of religion which often serve as a leading cause for intolerance, sentiment of hatred, animosity/aggression, sectarian violence and destabilization of the entire country. Government’s response to the crises has not only been untimely but inadequate. Unfortunately, the level of religious and tribal intolerance has gotten to an unbearable stage which makes peace almost impossible to achieve in Nigeria. Inspite of this hopeless situation, the COFP Foundation believes that peace can be restored once-more by building the capacities of the community and faith leaders with skills on conflict transformation through interfaith dialogue and mediation annually.
3. The Formation of Pastoral Agents in the Spirit of Pope Francis: Addressing the Challenges of Sexual Abuse and Boundary Issue in Pastoral Ministry in Africa
Sexual abuse and the management of boundaries are linked in a number of ways. Most pastoral agents in Africa are faced with the challenge of socio-cultural values with its limitations one the one hand; and on the other hand, the requirement of ethical boundaries to manage pastoral ministries taking into account the global reality. The understanding of boundaries has some cultural considerations; therefore it will be necessary to explore what is the contextual understanding of boundaries.
It would be essential to examine if there are mechanisms in place in local situations to aid pastoral agents in the understanding and implementation of the required ethical standards of behavior. This essay will seek to explore how African pastoral agents may be formed to ensure contextualized value based pastoral engagements with ethical practices within the diverse pastoral setting.
Pope France challenges us to a new way of living the day to day pastoral life with a new enthusiasm which requires practical creativity. The Pope calls all to make a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation”.
Often the teeming Christian population in sub-Saharan Africa imposes a great urgency to prepare sufficient pastoral workers to respond to the great needs. This article will articulate some of the essential elements which must be ensured as prerequisite for pastoral ministry today.
- Authentic formation of pastoral agents: A veritable means of New Evangelization in Africa
Anthonia Bolanle Ojo
The mission of the Church to bring the Good News to the ends of the earth was the main task of both the early missionaries and the subsequent pastoral agents, whereby they preached the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the people who were hearing it for the first time. This is in fulfilment of the injunction of Christ in Mark 16:15. One must acknowledge that after decades of evangelization, there ought to be clear signs of deepened faith by those who have received it. However, the Church in Africa, in the contemporary age, continues to experience the challenge of lacking true conversion and deep faith in the lives of many Catholics. Hence, the quest for deeper evangelization has been the preoccupation of the African Church in the recent past and was at the heart of the two Special Assemblies on Africa of the Synod of Bishops in 1994 and 2009, and even the recent encyclical of Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium. Today, for the Church in Africa to achieve the mission of new evangelization, formation of pastoral agents cannot be overemphasized. The formation which will take into consideration the theological, pastoral and doctrinal life of the Church. The objective of this formation is to re-awaken the apostolic vocation of all the pastoral agents, the vocation that defines the Christian purpose of witnessing to Christ. This article, therefore, aims at emphasizing the urgent responsibility of the Church to equip leaders, especially lay members at all levels, who will be committed to new evangelization of the members for “nemo dat quod non habet.” It argues that authentic formation is indispensable for the growth of any institution, hence, if the pastoral agents are properly equipped, this will help in the active participation of all in the new evangelizing mission of the Church in Africa.
5. Serving the Vulnerable Among Us with Integrity: Best Practices of Accompaniment
Annah Theresa Nyadombo
This paper explored the issue of serving the vulnerable among us using best practice accompaniment. Conceptual delimitations were given regarding serving, vulnerability and integrity in order to allow a common ground of understanding with the readership. Serving the vulnerable was unpacked as a concept that was associated with service and sacrifice on the part of the members of the church, and also as something that was meant to help the vulnerable to develop a consciousness of vulnerability as a human condition that could be used to open a window of opportunity for growth and development. The vulnerable in the context this paper were seen as orphans, street children, people living with HIV and AIDS, people with disabilities and women, among others. The paper did intimate that vulnerable groups of people may need psychological, spiritual, emotional, social support. All these support systems were seen to be made available through the church offering psychosocial support. Serving the vulnerable groups was also considered to be complete if it were holistic, comprehensive and global in outlook. Given that understanding, the paper did explore opportunities for creating synergies between the church and other institutions that could complete its efforts in areas that it may not be fully equipped to do so. The paper also explored the thinking that vulnerability sometimes gives humanity a window of opportunity to learn to deal with discomfort, and that own its own has the potential to make a vulnerable person to be a better person. Essentially, vulnerability may help people to reconnect with God, but that may take the efforts of the church to empower vulnerable people to realise that.
6. Inculturation and Liberation from Poverty: Lessons and Challenges on Implementing the Teaching of Africae Munus
This paper reviews some of the situations in Africa in the decades before Africae Munus, on the basis on which that great Apostolic Exhortation was presented to the Church and people of Africa. It then revisits some of the recommendations of Africae Munus regarding the inculturation and liberation from poverty. Attention will then be paid to the reception of the exhortation and its impact at home. The situation in Africa since Africae Munus would be analyzed to see if the exhortation was taken as seriously as it was rancorously received. Were there any serious attempts at implementing the teaching of Africae Munus? If there were, what are the outcomes? Are we anywhere better than we were before the teaching was issued? If there were not, what did we do right or wrong and how can we revisit and set ourselves on the right path? The paper shall attempt to respond to these and other questions in the light of the theme of the congress and propose a way forward in ensuring that inculturation as a project does indeed include issues of social justice in the applications of its principles and does take the lives and experiences of our people, especially, the impoverished, more seriously.
7. Politics Without Bitterness in Africa: Appropriating the Wisdom of Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
Aloys Otieno Ojore
The African Continent is experiencing change in very special ways in the twenty-first century. People are demanding urgent change in the areas of social justice, leadership, management of resources, democracy, human rights, gender equality and religious freedom. Those who participate in these critical aspects of human life, have to be open to personal transformation that makes them accepted as stewards rather than masters. Those leaders slow to respond to this urgency, must prepare for immediate exit or be pushed out via revolutions as already witnessed in Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, and the Republic of Sudan. In this chapter, we will illustrate how African peoples may apply the wisdom of Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, in midwifing a transition from poor leadership and bad governance, to responsible management of African affairs without violence. Jesus Christ, the liberator per excellence, provides us with divine guidance and steps towards lasting peace. He prayed for his murderers without condemning them. Martin Luther King Jr provides African liberators with a practical way of addressing the pain of slavery, racism and exclusion without resort to violence. His philosophy of active non-violent resistance helped to end centuries of humiliation of African Americans. This culminated in the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the first black President of the United States of America. Nelson Mandela is the African icon who emerged from 27 years of imprisonment to establish a government in South Africa in which his own persecutors had a place and a voice. These three historical personalities are classical examples of how we might do politics in Africa without the bitterness that only leads to anger, revenge, fear and destruction of society. Building on these three examples, we end the paper with suggestions on how the Catholic Church might play a role in guiding and creating healthy environment to facilitate politics that evade bitterness. We draw the suggestions from SECAM’s Co-Responsibility in Evangelization (1974), Ecclesia in Africa (1994), Africae Munus (2011), and Evangelii Gaudium (2013).
8. Health and Healing Ministries: Catholic Hospitals and Public Health in Africa
Anthony Aniagbaoso Igwe
In this paper, I will draw from my work as the Coordinator of the Enugu diocesan Health Commission to show the challenges and opportunities which a typical local church in Africa faces in profitably managing hospitals and clinics in order to provide healthcare for God’s people. I will discuss particularly our success and limitations in designing a healthcare system which provides holistic care through Catholic hospitals vis-a-vis the kinds of tropical and infectious diseases which are predominant in our settings. The questions which I will focus attention on are: Can Catholic hospitals provide holistic healthcare in Nigeria? Can Catholic hospitals be operated through a business model which runs the system profitably while at the same time being accessible to the poor? Is the upsurge in healing ministries and the healer priest syndrome in Africa and in Nigeria particularly the result of our failed healthcare system or can we integrate spiritual or faith healing to public healthcare?
9. From Silos to Systems: Assessing the Conditions for Successful Integration of Faith-based Health Service Organizations
Barry C. Eneh
Adopting a complex adaptive system framework that would reliably deliver on the promise of improved access to care for individual patients and specific populations, including, strengthening the operational efficiency and capacity for health care organizations is the goal of an integrated health system. There is general consensus that faith-based health care organizations compliment the role of government by providing up to 30% of the market share of health services; taking care of the sick, suffering, troubled and disadvantaged persons and providing services as private non-profit organizations in the form of clinics, hospitals, medical homes, rehabilitation centers and more. However, little is known about the conditions that will better streamline silos of independently owned faith-based organizations into a network of robust interdependent health care delivery systems. This study examines how organizations might successfully adopt the complex adaptive systems framework to bolster operational efficiency, strengthen organizational capacity and improve access to affordable quality care for populations. Our approach builds on the World Health Organization’s integrated care model (WHO, 2016) and integrative frameworks for systems integration, written by experts in the field and, the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, the Committee on Engineering and the Health Care Systems; Reid, Compton, Grossman et al. (2005) to develop a conceptual framework for assessing health service organizations readiness for and, progress toward complex adaptive systems integration, that could easily be tested with hospital leadership, provider groups, patients and communities to guide the design, improvement, pilot, implementation, management, governance and evaluation of fully and/or partially integrated care delivery systems
10. Proposals for Theologies and Pastoral Practices which can liberate our People from Fear and Poverty.
My paper would be a theological-pastoral reflection promoting contextual and liberation perspectives within African theological investigations. African people and churches need and deserve theologies of a God who sees the misery and listens to the cries of the crucified people; of a Church that is both prophet and Good Samaritan, of a liberating Christ whose presence calls not only for spiritual conversion but also for a social and political transformation… African realities and experiences call for a contextual theology that should break from a western paradigm and embrace and articulate a theological model or theological models relevant to Africa and to Africans.
The main inspiring figures/models for my paper would be Jean-Marc Ela (Cameroon), Mercy Amba Oduyoye (Ghana), Allan Boesak, Michael Lapsley, and Albert Nolan (South Africa).
11. Lessons and Best Practices for Formation of Pastoral and Change Agents for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation in Africa: A Field Note.
Since its inception in the 19th century, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has suffered many historical forms of pathological violence and war-related trauma. This violence has its basis in slavery, colonization, brutal dictatorships, massive corruption, neo-colonization, and ongoing war. The violence has impacted the Congolese people on the sociopolitical, religio-cultural, and psychological levels.
The 32-year dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko, ending in 1997, significantly weakened the economy, validated corruption, perpetrated severe human rights abuses, and consecrated the cult of personality. The leader who came after Mobutu, Laurent Desire Kabila, brought a war that continues to this day in many regions, especially in the eastern Congo, killing more than 10 million people. The particularity of this last war is that beyond the typical forms of violence, rape and sexual torture of women have occurred with impunity on a large scale. The violence has destroyed the soul of the Congolese people, who belong to the Bantu race.
This study addresses the effects of this pathological violence on the vulnerable populations of the DRC, particularly seniors, women, and youth, and investigates a holistic and salvific approach to the healing and reconciliation of the Congolese nation. The Bantu people are intrinsically religious. Therefore, any modality of healing and reconciliation must have a strong theological basis.
This paper proposes, therefore, that the depth of violence and trauma experienced by the Congolese people calls for a psycho-therapeutic approach that can bear the weight of the healing and reconciliation process for the Democratic Republic of Congo. It demonstrates that an approach which integrates theology and psychology, in concert with Bantu cultural customs, will function sacramentally to mediate a holistic and enduring reconciliation process for Eastern Congo.
My approach is thus interdisciplinary in nature, as I believe that theology, psychology, and African (Bantu) culture share a deep concern for the healing of the whole human person. I therefore employ the insights of key psychotherapists and liberation theologians (both African and Latin American), and present case studies of some of the profound psychological challenges resulting from the violence in Congo. I propose that the modalities or means through which this healing/reconciliation process will occur most adequately include the African palaver, the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, the Congolese/Zairean Rite, and moral exemplars.
The study demonstrates that a contextual (culturally relevant) and liberation theology brings healing to people holistically, including psychological healing. Theology becomes truly salvific, nurturing a form of psychotherapy that gives birth to a new life for those who have suffered so deeply under the cruel weight of sustained pathological violence. An inculturated theology for the Congolese context will foster a new creation for those who are touched by God’s healing power and sustain hope for a better life.
12. Public Health And Public Faith: Lessons From African Families
Cajetan I. Ilo
Health is a prized possession for individuals and societies and has many dimensions. One of the evolving dimensions of health is what is referred to as spiritual health which is that aspect of health that gives a world view and defines values for life which is a product of belief in a higher reality which influences temporal affairs. When one dimension of health is affected, it has a ripple effect on other dimensions of health. Therefore, any activity, affiliation or ideology that enhances the quality of health of any society is upheld and embraced. Religion is part and parcel of the African heritage just like any other society. The practice of religion is an expression of dependence on a higher reality and this is expressed in different types of spirituality, ideology and faith. The manner and variations in the expression of faith have far reaching effect on the wellbeing of society. Public expression of faith in Africa have had both negative and positive effect on public health and the overall health of African families and societies. The effects include physical, psychological, economic and moral which have direct consequences on public health. This paper will focus on developing the concept of spiritual health an evolving component of public health and to identify the indices for measuring spiritual health and evaluate this in the context of the expressions of faith in its different forms and expressions in Africa. These evaluations will help make conclusions on the relationship between public health and public faith and suggest ways of the gains of public health through a positive and responsible expression of faith across African.
13. Inculturated Faith and Church in Africa: Lessons and Failings since African Synod I
Charles A. Ebelebe
Between the 1960s and now there is a plethora of doctoral dissertations written by Africans on the subject of inculturation. Equally, the subject of inculturation has dominated theological conversations in Africa for many decades. The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa, convoked by Pope St. John Paul II in 1994 as part of the ecclesial events leading up to the Jubilee Year 2000 gave a new impetus to the subject of inculturation. The Synod Fathers adopted ‘Church as family of God’ as the African Church’s preferred imagery for the African way of being church. The years following the synod and especially after the publication of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Africa (1995), saw a flurry of activities: conferences, symposiums, seminars, workshops, all aimed at bringing home to the Churches in Africa the fruits of the synod, one of which was a ringing endorsement of inculturation. Almost 25 years after the synod, if asked to assess the state of inculturation of faith and church in Africa, many African theologians and Church leaders would submit that the promise of the synod has not been realized. Africa, of course, is a big continent and so we can expect that the state of inculturation of faith and church will not be the same across the continent. Some regions of Africa seem to have made more progress on the subject than others. The paper examines the state of inculturation of faith and church in Africa and is of the view that there are more failures than successes. It investigates the reasons for this and proposes possible ways of turning the situation around.
14. The History and Mission of CIDJAP
The Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (and Caritas) CIDJAP, founded on 4th October 1986 draws its inspiration from the Lord Jesus Christ in His injunction thus…”Go out to the whole world proclaim the Good News…”; ” I have come that they may have life and have it in full” (Mk 16:15; Jn 10:10). CIDJAP is a social organ of the Catholic Church, committed to the implementation of the Social Teachings of the Church (Catholic Social Teachings):
The foundation of Christian Social teaching has been laid by Pope Leo XIII through his encyclical letter “Rerum Novarum” in the year 1891. The manipulation and monopolization of economic means and economics of production and consumption triggered in the darkness of hunger and poverty globally. The passion for the betterment of the world turned into refrain in the church and the pope supported this development. In 1931, Pope Pius X1 released the Quadregessimo Anno, in commemoration of the fortieth year of Rerum Novarum. It was the birth of Rerum Novarum, the ground breaking encyclical letter of the pope, which launched the church into the cause of social reform. It was a discovery of the social reform, it was a discovery of the social vocation of the Christian and radical response of the church to the socio-political situation of the time. It was in 1965 that fathers of the Vatican Council II released the document: Gaudium et Spes ( Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the modern world) in which the church agreed unequivocally that temporal issue besieging mankind like poverty is really of special interest for the Church. A Pontifical Council was created at the behest of the Second Vatican Council “to stimulate the Catholic Community to foster progress in needy regions and social justice on the international scene” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 90). Pope Paul VI established the Pontifical Commission “Justitia et Pax” by a Motu Proprio dated January 6, 1967 (Catholicam Christi Ecclesiam); and ten years later he gave the Commission its definitive status with the Motu Proprio Justitiam et Pacem of December 10, 1976. Pope John Paul II lifted its status from Commission to Pontifical Council and reconfirmed the general lines of its work as the Vatican teaching office on justice and peace.
CIDJAP implements its vision of human empowerment, human development and promotion of human rights, justice and peace through its various programs and departments, these includes: Educational department -Ethics and Catholic Social Teachings; Legal department and prison assistant
services – with a team of 7 lawyers and welfare officers; Caritas department; School Sponsorship programme/scholarships; Vocational Technical Training centre/Skill acquisition programme; Pro credit Micro Finance enterprise and promotion of SME, Motherless babies’ homes; Primary health care programmes and centres; Primary and secondary school programmes; workshops, seminars, international conferences and symposiums.
15. Understanding the Nature and Complexity of Religious Conflict, Islamic Terrorism, and Christian Persecution in Africa: A Guide for the Perplexed.
Cosmas Ebo Sarbah
Religion has been exploited throughout history by many to satisfy parochial interests with the guise of safeguarding the sanctity of religious institutions and religion itself. Africa’s special situation in the global community makes the continent particularly vulnerable to religiously motivated conflicts. The infrastructural weaknesses of the states, disparity in distribution of wealth as well as other factors make mobilization for militant activities easy and rewarding. The paper discusses the socio-economic and political issues which are critical for the generation of religious conflicts in Africa. It also argues that Islamic extreme groups have also been able capitalize on local or internal struggles of African nations for some power and influence. This paper further discusses the implications of the general conditions for Christian-Muslim encounters in some African countries.
16. Dialogue in Cultural Conflicts between the Church and African Traditions: Lessons from Biblical Traditions!
Cosmas Uzowulu OFMCap
Conflict is natural to human persons. It could be harmful, hurtful and disruptive of relationships. It could also be for the well-being of the conflicting persons, parties or ideologies. Indeed, it is a struggle or battle for survival and sustenance between opposing forces. Conflict springs from a perceived disagreement or a clash between ideas, principles or between cultures. The Church has a tradition likewise Africa as a Continent. But how do these two traditions survive and live together and in peace in a harmonious environment for the service to humanity? We respond to this question showing how this may be done using constructive dialogue. The Church, ab initio, through a tested and informed methodology has solved conflicts. So doing, we employ some themes from both the sacred Text and Biblical Traditions.
17. A Forgotten Mission in African Catholicism? Migration Experiences from the African Catholic Diaspora in the USA
Dorris van Gaal
Pope Francis emphasizes that migration is a “sign of the times.” He continues to challenge us to listen to the stories and experiences of the world’s migrants to “decipher authentic signs of God’s presence and purpose” (GS 11).
In my PhD research, I engage the stories of African migrants whose migration journey brought them to the United States of America. Their presence is hardly visible due to the manner in which society in the USA relates to racial categories. This invisibility hinders both the pastoral outreach to African migrants and the theological reflection on their experience of migration and settlement. My research project among African migrants in the USA makes their experiences visible as a source of theology and intends to elicit a pastoral response for this group of the faithful in American Catholic Church.
I consider the experience of migration as a process of transformation of identity and faith. Knowledge of the current developments in the theology of migration provides the theoretical framework for the qualitative analysis of the African migrants’ narratives, gathered in first hand interviews, in order to describe the characteristics of a transformation of identity and faith on their own terms.
In this paper I will focus on the obstacles and challenges the participants describe in their narratives. I will pay particular attention to the transnational dimension of this experience: the changing relationship with their home country’s relations, culture and faith. Paying attention to these aspects of their migration experiences will bring some truth and reality to some of the myths surrounding migration and especially migration to the USA.
Based on these insights, I will present some core characteristics of the transformation experienced by African migrants in the USA. Understanding the transformation they experience, leads to suggestions on how to approach pastoral support of those who will engage the adventure of migration to the USA. These suggestions will pertain to pastoral support both in the home country as well as in the destination country.
18. The Church in Africa and the Challenges of Climate Change: Pathways for an African Ecological Ethics
Sub-Saharan Africa has been identified as one of the most vulnerable parts of the world to the vicissitudes of climate change. There are impending and predictable catastrophic consequences for the activities of humans upon the earth, which will be felt throughout both the natural and human systems. From what science reveals about Africa, for instance, there is a definite warming trend, particularly in the inland subtropics. It is also projected that there will be extreme heat events, increasing aridity, and changes in rainfall patterns, which could result in as much as one meter of sea-level rise by the end of this century. Obviously, our civilization is in crisis, and human beings are to blame for it. Every new scientific revelation points to the fact that our economistic emphasis on markets, profits and technological advancement is exhausting the very fabric of our existence and stretching the limits that nature imposes. I shall use the ecological distortions occasioned by the environmentally insensitive oil and gas industry in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Region as a case in point to indicate the overwhelming importance of the Church’s ecological concerns. The intervention efforts of the Niger Delta Catholic Bishops’ Forum (NDCBF) are significant, though hardly good enough. To intervene more effectively, the church in Africa needs to articulate an ecological ethic that would re-educate human extractive agents to return to ‘original synchrony’ through the principles of relationality infused into nature itself from the very beginning. This requires tracing a viable African ecological ethic that re-orientates the things of nature to one another and, together, be attuned to the nature of the creator-God. In this scheme of things, the human person, though her/himself an element of God’s creation, would be ‘the responsible one’ to fulfil the creator’s plan that all creation rejoice in its creator (Ps. 96:13).
19. Peacebuilding as a Call from God: Rebuilding Relationships in Deeply Divided Societies
Elizabeth Kanini Kimau
Africa is home of more than 1billion people. Sadly 20% to 25% of the population is affected directly or indirectly by violent conflicts which ranges from resource based to political to ethnic, to religious violence to terrorism. The bloody violence has deeply divided people and resulted to massive loss of lives and forced many to live in dehumanising situations. The dignity of the human person and preciousness of life seems to be losing meaning as Jesus’ call to love God and neighbour fall on deaf ears. Against this backdrop, the Church needs to rethink her mission. It can no longer sit and watch God’s people, created in God’s image continue to suffer unimaginable atrocities. My ten-year experience in building a culture of peace in settings of protracted violence helped me to know building sustainable peace is not a profession, nor a business, rather a call from God. Each Christian is called to participate in this mission of reconciliation which creates peaceful world where life flourishes. In this paper I will share my experience and the frame work I used in bonding Rendile and Borana ethnic groups of Northern Kenya who have been in violence for many years. The violence resulted to enmity, hatred, mistrust, intolerance and a culture of revenge which has been handed over from generation to generation leaving the violence in vicious cycle. To break these cycles of violence, I first build relationship with the grassroots people. Secondly, I conscientized the people; promoted formal and informal education and acted as a bridge and created spaces which facilitated regeneration of relationship, trust, tolerance and understanding. This process enabled people live in peace and many people to become agents of their own peace.
20. The Reinventing of Humanity in The West: Gender Theories and The Rights of Women and Families
Eunice Kamaara & Daniel Lagat
Indisputably, scientific and technological innovations have ameliorated human suffering and promoted human wellbeing. To live in this age is to be privileged to not only witness but experience transformation of humanity to hitherto unprecedented levels. Take for example the reality of instantaneous communications across all corners of the globe at the same moment: humanity is increasingly overcoming human limitations of time and space, thanks to information technology. But these advancements have not been matched with similarly high level social innovations. In this paper we celebrate the emergence of feminist and gender theories, perhaps the greatest social innovation of the 20th Century, through review of literatures on the feminist and gender movements across the globe in relation to rights of women and families in Africa. Further we explore, through case studies, experiences of African women in specific contexts as they negotiate international and national policies and frameworks in welcoming and resisting certain moralities in order to protect their rights and the rights of their families. As the cases will show, the experiences are marked by both barriers and facilitators and there are both best and failed practices, all of which combine to provide lessons for pastoral workers in Africa seeking to ‘embark upon a new chapter of evangelization’ marked by the ‘Joy of the Gospel’.
21. Proclamation and Missio Dei in Africa: How Have We Realized The
Recommendations of The First and Second African Synods
Florence Adetoun Oso, E.H.J.
Proclamation is the first message given to those who are still ignorant of the message of salvation in Jesus Christ with the intention of leading them to conversion of heart, repentance and faith. (Evangelii Praecones 24) This remains a permanent priority in the mission of the Church.(Evangelii Nuntiandi 44) Proclamation happens to be one of the five areas of concentration of the problems that the first Synod was to address and analyse. Through the proclamation of the Gospel, there is a permanent attention given to the mission and the faith that comes into being when the message is announced and received. Missio Dei means that the missionary movement has its source in the Triune God who is the acting subject in mission. The mission to proclaim the Good News is actually a sharing in the Missio which originate from God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The First Synod of African Bishops which was celebrated in 1994 with the theme, The Church in Africa and her Evangelizing mission towards the year 2000, aimed at mapping out a plan for Africa in preparation for the Jubilee year 2000 of the Christian faith. After the celebration of the first Synod there was a felt need that much is still left to be achieved, from the indication of the events on the continent and this called for the celebration of the Second Synod in 2009. The Synod therefore, narrowed its focus to concrete situation of the continent, the need of dialogue, peace and reconciliation, with aim of rekindling the faith and hope of Africa in order to build a reconciled Africa through the paths of truth and justice, love and peace. (AM.2) For the recommendations of the two synods to be realized, reception must first take place. My paper will therefore investigate to see how both synods were received and how much of the recommendations have been realized.
22. Leadership Formation for Pastoral Agents of Change in Africa:
Field Notes from the Trenches.
George Ehusani & Emmanuel Ojeifo
This paper looks at how the First and Second Synods of Bishops for Africa in 1994 and 2009 and their respective Exhortations influenced the formation of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organisation, founded by Fr. George Ehusani, for the training of God-fearing leaders at different levels and sectors of the Church and society in Nigeria. It explores the way in which the call for training of pastoral agents by the two Synods have been concretely implemented through the pioneering work of Lux Terra Foundation, particularly in the training of priests and religious in psycho-spiritual therapy, social justice education of the clergy and laity, leadership formation for prefects of secondary schools, university management and academicians, government functionaries and public officeholders, and training of experts in mediation, peacebuilding, and interreligious dialogue. Instead of focusing on theological issues, the paper offers a model of best pastoral approaches to be adopted in the implementation of the key recommendations of the two Synods for Africa.
23. The Gospel according to Social Media: Field Guide for the Perplexed
Social media are major milestones in communication revolution. Since the last decade, more parishes and dioceses have embraced and are actively using social media networks. This paper begins with an overview of the significance of networking in the Church and cites some examples from scriptures, the early Christian communities and some significant moments in the history of the Church. The paper establishes the following points: (1) networking has sustained the Church through the centuries; (2) Social networking resonates with the concept of Church as family in Africa; and, (3) social media are viable tools for sharing information, telling stories, preaching, teaching, faith-sharing, catechetical instructions, and engaging people. The paper shows how social media platforms such as Facebook, Blogs and Twitter are effective ways of building a sense of family or community; it identifies some of the popular social networking sites used by churches. More still, the paper comes out with 10 creative ways through which the African Church could explore social media networks to consolidate the sense of family.
24. African Theology of Development and Social Transformation: Lessons from Failures and Successes of African Catholicism
Africa remains a study in paradox. It is hugely endowed in human and material resources, yet it is the poorest continent in the world according to verifiable indices of macro-economic growth and human development. Nonetheless, this continent holds promise for accelerated integral development and social transformation. Realizing these prospects demand a contextual vision of development with inherent humane values capable of redirecting African nations on the path of authentic and sustainable social progress. This paper argues that African Catholicism and Catholic theology offer a contextual vision of development and social transformation with inherent humane values. Over the years, African Catholicism has placed itself at the service of this praxial vision of authentic African development and social transformation. Considering Africa’s current state, despite the interventions of African Catholicism and its theology, this presentation examines significant failures and success stories of African Catholicism’s contributions toward development and social transformation. To identify African Catholicism’s successes and failures, the paper offers a socio-theological analysis of the African social context to demonstrate Africa’s development decline. It also proposes appropriate socio-theological foundation for envisioning development and social transformation in the continent. To ameliorate the identified failures and consolidate the successes, the paper articulates a theological praxis of development and social transformation responsive to the peculiarities and diversities of the African continent.
25. Fraternal Solidarity as a Pathway to Realizing the Message of African Synod I on the Church as the Family of God: Lessons from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
With the gradual but healthy shift from colonial to post-colonial discourse in African theology, my paper intends to draw attention to a theology that best serves the needs of this transition, namely the theology of fraternity. There has been an arguable opinion in African theology that so-called Western knowledge is organized philosophically through “binary oppositions,” which result in the “demonizing or denigrating” of the other. Consequently, post-colonialism seeks to develop what is called a “third space” where master/slave, man/woman, civilized/uncivilized, colonizer/colonized, the West and the rest dichotomies are no longer starkly oppositional or exclusively singular but defined by their intricate and mutual relations. This paper sees that “third space” precisely in the theology of fraternity whose aim is to avoid or undermine binary formulations of difference while paying attention to the social maladies that afflict the people of God in Africa. This post-colonial trend was expressed in the 1994 synodal ecclesiology of the Church as a family of God and in African theologians’ reception of that ecclesiology which set a tone for the development of a theology of fraternity and its corresponding Christology in Africa. This paper appreciates the wisdom and divine enlightenment of the synod Fathers in birthing that authentic African ecclesiological understanding of what the Church is.
The paper seeks further to highlight lessons from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in diagnosing and analyzing Africa’s ailment and giving recommendations for the Church in Africa. Achebe’s fictional rendition of the cause of Africa’s capitulation to colonial subjugation in Things Fall Apart blames the weakness of Africa’s resistance to imperial power on internal social disintegration exemplified in the loss of brotherhood and unity. My paper accordingly sees this factor as the root of social injustice, institutional collapse and suffering in Africa and appraises Achebe’s critique as an eloquent reproach of the tragic theatre of contemporary African politics in a continent that has raised corruption to the status of culture, and where the vulnerable “Ikemefunas” are treated by the chauvinistic and jingoistic “Okonkwors” as the expendables of their fundamentalist loyalties. It seeks to provide a theological compass to a church that wants to be truly family and to enable it pass fair judgment on human hubris in African society.
26. The Dreams of our Fathers and Sons at the Synod: How Far So Far?
Joseph Oladejo Faniran
The first African Synod can no doubt be appraised as a watershed in the fifty years of existence of SECAM. It summed up the previous efforts of the Church in Africa to evangelize the continent and projected what those efforts would be in the future. Fifteen years later the Second African Synod was celebrated to carry further the projections of the First Synod. This paper, titled The Dreams of our Fathers and Sons at the African Synod: How Far so Far, is an attempt to interrogate the present pastoral realities of the Church in Africa in the light of those projections as the Church begins its journey into the second decade of the third millennium. The paper combines the textual analysis of some of the conclusions of the two Synods with the receptor-oriented theory and kenotic style of communication to study the concrete efforts made thus far in the domain of communication. It ends with some recommendations for future pastoral engagement of the Church in Africa.
27. The Role of Catholic Education in the Evangelization of Culture in Africa
This paper attempts to examine the Catholic education in the light of evangelization approach that lays emphasis on true doctrine that seeks to realize harmony of the entire creation and God. The main argument in the paper is that, despite the apparent challenges in education, the Catholic Church derives its philosophy, spirituality and mission of education from the universal command of Jesus Christ (Mt 28:19-20). Therefore, the Catholic education for evangelization model is holistic in that it addresses the intellectual, moral and material needs of its subjects. The paper will rely heavily on the four dimensions of catholic education and evangelization, that: Education impacts knowledge, in this sense it is cognitive; Education instils virtues and values, meaning it is normative; Education should encourage critical thinking, and Education is dialogical, meaning it is intersubjective. The paper will also benefit from the theorizations of other Catholic theologians and scholars on the institution and socio-cultural mandate of Catholic education. The paper begins by describing Catholic education, its principles and philosophy. It will also examine the contribution of the Catholic Church to education in Africa. It then draws the links between education and culture in Africa. The paper then examines how Jesus Christ espoused the qualities of a holistically educated cultural individual. It then maps out strategies through which education can be used to evangelize culture. In this paper, culture is conceived as the totality of life; all the unique characteristics of HOW people live believe and interact in and with their environment. On the other hand, education could be defined as a progressive and critical passing on of knowledge through dialogue. The impact of which is a creation of an agreed impetus towards problem posing and solving, leading to the work of humanization and social transformation. Therefore, the main concern of this paper is to demonstrate how Catholic education is a means to making existing forms of education in Africa relevant to tackling current socio-cultural problems such as corruption and violence, poor leadership. The ultimate objective of this paper is to propose and apply a model for, first, evaluating existing models of Education in Africa based on the principles of the philosophy of Catholic education. Second, the paper will propose and apply a model to develop, implement and evaluate curricular that promote the four dimensions of the Catholic education for evangelization, namely acquisition of knowledge, promotion of values and virtues, inculcation of critical thinking, and promotion of dialogue as a means to problem posing and solving.
28. Reform and Renewal in Local Churches: Lessons from Rosmini and Pope Francis
In the first part of the academic talk, the author examines the five plagues of the Church that were presented by the great Catholic intellectual Antonio Rosmini in 1848 in a text entitled Delle Cinque Piaghe della Santa Chiesa. The text was very influential for Pope Paul VI. According to Rosmini, the five plagues are: the separation of the people from the clergy in the public cult, the insufficient education of the clergy, the discord amongst the bishops, the handover of the appointment of bishops to the power of laymen, and the serving of economic power and ecclesiastical goods. The author argues that the plagues formulated by Rosimi are not simply a diagnosis of the unsatisfying state of Catholicism but also refer to the question of the sacred and the holy. Holiness is to be linked to the unpronounceable name of God, designating something inaccessible to human power. Rosmini, conscious of the power mechanisms of society and their totalitarian grasp, imagined a lovingly devoted Church to have the task of renouncing earthly regimes of power, thereby remembering its evangelical origins. The author shows that each of the plagues designates a critique of Church’s claim to worldly power. In the second part, he examines a conception of holiness in which the holy designates the individual as oscillating between two subjects, its own and that of Jesus. This vocation of holiness is betrayed when the Holy becomes something which can be grasped. In the third part, the author introduces four new plagues of the Church: the exclusion of laymen from responsibility for the Church, the claim to moral superiority as a legitimisation of sacralised power, sexual abuse and clericalism as patriarchal power and the exclusion of women from responsibility in the Church. While these contemporary plagues indicate a self-centred and power-conscious understanding of sacrality inadequate to the biblical concept of holiness, Pope Francis’s notion is rooted in the latter. The Pope thereby shares Rosmini’s notion of holiness, a notion that according to the author, is decisive for the future of the Catholic Church.
29. The Pentecostal and Charismatic Brand of Christianity in Africa. Renewal through Faith Healing, Miracles and the Prosperity Gospel?
Lawrence Nchekwube Nwankwo
Pentecostalism and the charismatic groups within the mainline Churches, although sites of a transnational flow of images and meanings, represent a distinct face of Christianity that can be accounted for as popular religiosity in Africa. This is because their dominant emphases attest to an ongoing reconfiguration achieved through the reception of elements of missionary Christianity into the African cultural matrix. In my view, this reception is guided, in the main, by the anthropocentricity of African traditional religious thought and it takes place in a context in which negative experiences are conceptualized in terms of the interference of spirit forces. Thus, Christianity is being re-imagined and deployed by the “power-full” (wo)men of God in response to the challenges of life in Africa with emphases on faith healing, miracles and ‘break-through.’ From the above, Pentecostalism, in line with the AICs (African Initiatives in Christianity) can be seen as inculturation from below, offering hope to people in the midst of difficult circumstances and contributing to the construction of subjectivity in terms of filial relationship with God that gives one access to the power of God through the Spirit. However, despite the aggressive ‘marketing’ of the Pentecostal brand, its underlying scheme is one-sided on more than one count: its focus on the individual abstracted from the community; its externalization of negative experiences in terms of evil spirits thus attenuating individual and group responsibility. Consequently, it offers a scheme of hope based on the expectation of divine intervention to be mediated by the “power-full” (wo)man of God. Finally, there is a centrality of the economy of human desire vis-à-vis the divine will. Theological engagement of the Pentecostal scheme as popular religiosity, combined with the Pentecostal mastery of the modern means of communication is, in my view, the direction for the pastoral practice of the Church in Africa.
30. Forming Pastoral Agents: Steps towards Realizing the Dream of the Two African Synods on Defending the Rights of the Poor and the Voiceless in Africa
Faced with many challenges today and amid the new technological advancements, the Church in Africa needs to re-look on how to evangelize the people and so be the voice of the poor and the voiceless both in the Church and the state. Ecclesia in Africa and Africae Munus have endeavoured to show the importance of the formation of pastoral agents who are indeed the voices of the poor in the society. It is to be noted that ‘In all areas of Church life formation is of primary importance…the whole community needs to be trained, motivated and empowered for evangelization, each according to his or her specific role within the Church (EA 53,75). Formation of pastoral agents must be integral so that it can respond to the griefs, anxieties, anguish and even the situations of the poor as the Fathers of the VCIIS noted (GS no.1). The question then is: ‘What must the Church in Africa do to perform the works of God’? There is a need to present a holistic Gospel of total salvation for the total person in their context and for whole communities. A Gospel that embraces all spheres of life and cultures. There is also need to understand the African worldview as an imperative to both personal understanding and ecclesial growth and development. This paper will present an overview of the Key documents on Forming Pastoral Agents, the need of Forming Pastoral Agents in the African Church today, as well as show how the dreams of the African Synods towards the defense the rights of the poor in the Church and State may be realized.
31. Why Traditions Matter: A Biblical Understanding of Traditions and Innovation in Christian History
Luke Emehiele Ijezie
This essay addresses the importance of traditions in human history with particular focus on its role in the biblical text and the history of Christianity. The term tradition simply refers to what is handed on. Human history is a complex of processes handed on from one generation to the other. Every branch of life thrives on the basis of what is handed on. It is on this basis that new developments or innovations are made. The Biblical text is a compendium of ideas and processes handed on through many generations. Many of the biblical texts are fruits of many years of the development of ideas and motifs that got later fixed in the text. Biblical scholarship appeals to such traditions in the interpretation of relevant texts. Similarly the history of Christianity is a history of an unbroken transmission of traditions that get progressively developed. This is where the phenomenon of tradition and the urge for innovation often get into conflict. The eagerness to spring new ways often conflicts with the zeal to hand on the received tradition. How does one resolve the conflict? This is addressed in the paper with particular focus on the biblical approach to traditions and the import of traditions for holistic human development. Given the nature of the study, the methodological approach is both descriptive and analytical. This involves both diachronic and synchronic approaches to relevant biblical texts and processes within the history of Christianity.
32. Training and Mentoring Africa’s Young Men and Women for Faithful Witnessing Today. Maintaining Quality and Innovation in Catholic Higher Education in Africa
Young people are the future of any organization. An organization that neglects the training and mentoring of its younger members is strategically planning its extinction. Vatican II asserts that “the destiny of society and of the church itself is intimately linked with the progress of young people pursuing higher studies” (Gravissimum Educationis, 10). In Africa, the Church considers education as important means of proclaiming the Gospel and tool for promoting human dignity and freedom. The establishment of tertiary institutions is part of the church’s considerable effort to make education available to the increasing demand for it.
After a preliminary explanation of the aims and goal of this chapter, the work describes the advantages and challenges of education in institutions of higher learning in Africa. The first question which this work addresses itself is if education is indeed a means of providing solution to societal ills in Africa. Africa’s social, cultural and political context determines the nature of faithful witnessing today.
The work goes on to give statistics of catholic tertiary institutions in different countries in Africa. Selected institutions will serve as test cases to measure adhesion to the universal church’s mission on Christian education which is to help young men and women to seek God through seeking the truth in systematic and formal education; to promote the dignity and freedom of the human person and to lead them to achieve cultural and spiritual maturity.
Besides lecture room teaching, what do Catholic tertiary institutions do to authentically engage the youth? Do they create an atmosphere animated by the gospel values of truth, freedom and charity? How do they accompany young people in their experiential search for truth and how do they support them to achieve study goals and professional aspirations? In investigating the presence of these defined goals in the mission of catholic tertiary institutions, there is the aim to see if these institutions have mentoring programmes that revolve around regular engagement of structured activities.
33. Send Lazarus to My Father’s House: The Failure of U.S. Catholicism as a Cautionary Tale for African Catholics
Michael L. Budde
The project that came to be known as the United States was born in genocide, slavery, and perpetual exploitation of the poor, the environment, and the outside world – such is not the story proffered by its apologists and ideologues, but one told by those upon whose suffering this unusual sort of empire was constructed. It remains among the wonders of history that a slave state built upon racialized capitalism and warfare managed to position itself ideologically as a bastion of freedom and refuge for the oppressed – the present administration notwithstanding. The Catholic Church has been involved in the story of the United States since before the founding of the United States. The Church has become an acceptable part of American society, and has seen its members rise to positions of power and influence in economic, political, military and cultural life. It has done so via a deliberate process of inculturation and assimilation, by defining itself as a supportive partner to the nation and state in what it perceives as the pursuit of the common good. There is much for Catholic leaders elsewhere to learn from this experience, although most of the lessons derive from the costs and failures attendant to this experience. This session will offer a set of propositions derived from the experience of U.S. Catholicism on matters of race, citizenship and discipleship that may be of interest to Catholic leaders in other contexts.
34. The Formation of Pastoral Agents in the Spirit of Pope Francis: Addressing the Challenges of Sexual Abuse and Boundary Issues in Pastoral Ministry in Africa
The issue of sexual abuse in the African church is definitely not breaking news to anyone. In February of this year, Sr. Veronica Openibo at a Vatican summit on sexual abuse, decried the culture of silence on the subject of clergy sexual abuse in Africa. In March of this year, the Holy Father publicly acknowledged that the sexual abuse of nuns by priests was one of the church’s scourges. In 1994 a Medical Missionary of Mary Sister, Maura O’Donoghue had prepared an extensive report on the same, but the Vatican shelved the report. Twenty-five years later, we know that this problem continues to persist and has become more virulent. How much longer will we allow this mortal sin to continue? My paper will focus on the sexual abuse of African nuns by clergy. It draws parallels in the assumptions, attitudes and practices that have allowed a culture of abuse to flourish not just in the African church, but in the Global church as a whole. Having journeyed with a number of survivors, I have come to some understanding that though the scenarios of each case may be vastly different, there are commonalities such as a disregard for boundaries, deeply entrenched clericalism and a lack of mechanisms to address both victims and perpetrators.
It is these assumptions, attitudes and practices that I will try and address in my paper, drawing lessons that I have gained by listening to African nuns, who are victims of this phenomenon. The scenarios in each victim’s story may be markedly different, but the underlying drivers of the phenomena of sexual abuse are remarkably similar.
35. Forming the Laity to Adult Faith in Africa: Theological Foundation for Collaborative Ministry and Service
Nora K. Nonterah
Educating into faith and educating in faith has practically been reduced to pre Christian initiation rites – Catechesis for the three initiation rites. Yet the people of God are faced with the trend of a fast changing world – inventions, events, and ideologies that challenge their understanding of faith and their relationship with God and thus with others. In this paper, I seek to establish the relationship between post-initial (on-going) catechesis for adults and how African Christians perceive and live their Christian faith in the changing world. Christian formation is pivotal in bringing people to grow and live in faith and in maturity – expressed and confirmed in its practice in the Catholic Church globally. This structured formation, however, is only designed and executed for priests and religious with concern for continuous (in service) education. This paper will attempt to question, address and offer (im)-possible framework for faith-based formation/education of lay Christian adults. Asserting that the poorly structured post baptismal/on-going catechesis poses a risk of crises for the African adult Christians of whom most, for sure, are ‘not aware of the church’s teachings on beginning of life and end of life issues’. A discussion will be made on the assertion that the laity can own and live the faith as they have ‘received it’. The three pillars of the framework will be the goals, the content issues of concern in Africa , and the structural method(s) of laity adult formation in Africa, with emphasis on over spiritualization of everything (fear, hatred, pain/suffering); Gender issues – the church, culture and modern discussions; and challenges of universalism over particularism.
36. Re-Membering the Future: Lessons from Some of the Catholic Church’s Lieux de memoire in Africa
Norbert Nougoutna Letting SJ
Lieux de mémoire (sites/realms of memory) are essential to the definition of a community’s identity. They provide a sense of historical continuity and, consequently, the basis for envisioning a future worth laboring for. By studying some of the Catholic Church’s lieux de memoire in Africa, this paper seeks to chart a course for reflection and action geared at avoiding two perceived pitfalls threatening the Catholic Church’s African identity: romanticization of the past and aping. By including lieux d’oubli (realms of forgetfulness) among the lieux de memoire considered here, this paper seeks to invite to a catharsis without which a radiant future will be difficult to envisage for the Church in Africa. The two case studies under consideration here will be the Island of Goree (Senegal) and the notion of the “Church as Family of God” (Ecclesia in Africa). The first part of the paper will offer the theoretical framework applied in the second part to the selected sites of memory.
37. African Philosophy and Theology in Dialogue in an Ecclesial Context: Lessons from Veritatis Gaudium
Osita T. Asogwa
That a student or a teacher of philosophy and theology gets to drop their ‘philosophies’ or ‘theologies’ in order to face ‘real facts of life’ calls for sober reflection. This paper sets to examine the challenges facing ecclesiastical studies in terms of content, pedagogy and overall delivery in an African context. In line with Veritatis Gaudium, the paper calls for “a radical paradigm shift” as regards the subsisting understanding, appreciation and application of the demands of intellectual formation in an African ecclesial situation. The write-up further argues for an end-result of ecclesiastical studies that steps down to reflectively impact on the concrete life situation of the average African person.
38. Liturgical Renewal in Africa for the Church as a Field Hospital: Some Proposals
Patrick C. Chibuko
The new illuminative ecclesiology of Pope Francis views the Church as a field hospital. It is an image that demands the sensitivity of the Church to be fully attentive and involved in the vicissitudes of the flock with a proactive view of improving their narratives. The survival and effectiveness of such a valued ecclesiology demands a vibrant ritualization. It requires a functional liturgy that dramatizes the innate traits of the Church as a field hospital such as accompaniment and presence; mercy and healing; proximity, good shepherd care and good Samaritan sensitivity; solidarity, synergy and synodality etc. Against this background, we propose and make a case for immanu-leitougia with a vital pastoral proposal and a consequent corollary.
39. The Challenges of poverty in African families: what the church in Africa has done since African Synod II
Raymond Olusesan Aina
African families are caught in multidimensional poverty. Some of the challenges of this poverty include low level of education, malnutrition, and high infant mortality, low access to electricity, clean water, improved sanitation, and information. The Church exists in Africa and for Africa; and since the joys and hope, sufferings and anxieties of the world are of the Church too (cf.GS 1), the Church cannot be silent or passive to the African families as they battle with multidimensional poverty and economic stagnation. Beyond the proclamation of salvation and redemption from evils, what else is the Church in Africa doing to give hope to African families? This paper argues that the Church in Africa, as Family of God on mission (African Synod I) towards justice, peace and reconciliation in the continent (African Synod II), needs more concerted actions to empower African families out of, and cope with, poverty. The paper examines indications and inspirations from the African Synod II on how to meet the challenges of poverty to African families. The paper shall equally highlight ecclesial actions towards poverty eradication within the decade after African Synod II. Concluding its argument, the paper shall insist that for more effective ecclesial action with and for Africa’s poor families, the Church in African needs to be full of ‘fire in the belly’. ‘Fire in the belly’, inspired by the traditional Catholic Social Movements, signifies commitment and readiness to move out of one’s comfort zones in order to contribute towards human flourishing. ‘Fire in the belly’ makes us ready to become ‘collateral damage’ for the underside of history.
40. Mission, Success, Challenges of the Comboni Missionaries in Africa
The Comboni Missionaries are of a Religious Order that follows the charism that God gave to St Daniel Comboni, to bring the Gospel to those who have been deprived of their basic human rights to freedom, faith, health, education, a way to earn a living, and the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and the people they love. Since 1867 they use the methodology of “Save Africa with Africa”, that empowers the African people to become transformation agents to their brothers and sisters and beyond. However, financial difficulties to manage the infrastructure left behind by the missionaries to the Local Church poses a hurdle. How to overcome this challenge for a self-sustaining and missionary Church is the question whose answer(s) should serve as a wakeup call for a strong African Christianity.
41. What Lessons Can African Churches Learn from the Role of Religious Conflicts in 20th Century Wars and Genocide
The twentieth century saw the end of colonial rule in Africa and Africa’s struggle to achieve holistic freedom from the western powers and their economic order that ensured the enduring poverty and exploitation of Africa’s natural resources. Noticeable markers of the century were multiple wars; among them are conflicts shaped and sustained by religio-political and ethnic ideologies. The question arises: how can Africa break away from these vicious cycles of religiously motivated wars and genocide?
This work attempts to do the following; articulate the factors shaping these conflicts, A critique of religious fundamentalism amongst the Abrahamic religions present in Africa and their roles in promoting religious conflicts will be provided. Finally, this work seeks to provide a new vision of religious harmony amongst the religiously and culturally diverse communities in Africa. To do this, a critique will be provided of the understanding and praxis of evangelization employed by leaders of the churches of Africa
42. From African Synods I&II to Pope Francis: Continuing the Reform and Renewal of Vatican II?
Stan Chu Ilo
This paper will identify the three main themes in the reform of the church which began at Second Vatican Council in the documents of African Synod I & 11 and in Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium. These three main themes are: an openness to history and social change; a commitment to dialogue and cultural pluralism, and a missionary conversion which leads to a closer following of Christ, a deepening of faith and liturgical life and which brings about prophetic witnessing for social and cultural transformation. The paper will argue that by embracing these themes in both theological education and in pastoral life in Africa, the Church in Africa sought to realize in concrete history the fruits of the eschatological reign of God. Building on these three themes, the paper will identify how African church leaders, and theologians have articulated these themes in the statements of SECAM, in the two African synods and in the writings of selected African theologians and church leaders. The paper will show the strengths and weaknesses in these writings and the internal and external forces which hamper or amplify the challenges and opportunities for the reform and renewal of the Christian faith and life in Africa in the light of the Gospel. The paper will conclude by showing how the practices and priorities of the early church could shape the emerging patterns and shape of Christian identity in Africa and thus provide a groundswell for reform in the Church. Using five proposals as a concrete pathway for moving into the future in African Catholicism, the paper will conclude with an optimistic tone on the great things which God is doing in our personal and group histories through the exponential growth in the number of African Christians. It is important then for the Church in Africa to embrace the momentum of Christian expansion in Africa and the challenges which God’s people face in Africa with hope and thus inspire God’s people to do the work of God with courage, faith, humility and praise.
43. The Role of Catholic International Charities in Promoting Global Health
Susan Nedza Lastres
Provision of health care services has been central to the pastoral work of the Catholic Church in Latin America and is sustained through the support of international charitable organizations. Expansion beyond the role of provider of traditional health care services to a role that embraces the broader mission of public health necessitates that the Church consider the adoption of a model of accompaniment that connects local communities to emerging Catholic international charities that focus on creating a culture of encounter.
The proliferation of independent, U.S. Catholic charities and foundations is accelerating. These organizations connect individuals and geographically separate parishes to international communities in which they have shifted from funding traditional provider-driven medical mission models to one embracing global health initiatives. This shift to an accompaniment model is providing donors and participants an alternative to the traditional parish-partnership and diocesan-driven models.
Drawing upon the experience in Latin America, an example will illustrate how this growth of Catholic international charities enables Catholics to embrace the call to go forth and engage in God’s work as a community of missionary disciples
44. Effective Approaches for transmitting Catholic and African Intellectual Traditions to Young Africans: Lessons from My Service to the Catholic Academy
Students of the Catholic Academy in Nigeria are born into a tradition that is richly religious. Early in life most of them are initiated into the Catholic tradition through baptism. Later in life, those who have the responsibility of guiding them through their educational period (as teachers) in a Catholic tradition have a challenge: evolving effective approaches for transmitting Catholic and African intellectual traditions to the young people. This paper argues that to meet up effectively with this challenge, teachers should see themselves as thinking-facilitators rather than knowledge-infusers. They use experiential approaches to teach philosophical and theological concepts. Then follows the awareness that learning begins with a concrete experience. It is a continuous process grounded in experience involving the acquisition of practices, the specialization in those practices and the integration of oneself into the learning process. The course content should reflect the following themes among others: tolerance, truth, freedom, dialogue. The benefit is that the learner is transformed and can further help to build a more useful society.