An appeal has been made to all Christians and people of goodwill to collaborate to build a civilization of love, using African spiritual and material resources in addition to the adoption of intellectual, cultural and religious heritage by African Theology to douse wars and hatred in the continent.
The call was contained in the communiqué issued at the end 34th Annual Conference and Meeting of the Catholic Theological Association of Nigeria (CATHAN); held recently at the Catholic Diocese of Port Harcourt’s Pastoral Centre, Igwuruta, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The theme of the conference was: African Intellectual Heritage and the Church Tomorrow: Trends and Directions. The members of the association dwelt extensively on African intellectual Heritage, African Theology, Trends and Directions and Inculturations and the communiqué was signed by Rev. Dr. Raymond Olusesan Aina MSP and Rev. Dr. Victor Usman Jamahh, President and Secretary of the association respectively.
ccording to the decisions of the members, African Theology seeks to interpret the apostolic tradition for an audience that is primarily African; describing it as a reflection on Scripture and Tradition in the African context. They added that African theology seeks to use the good values of African religions and cultures to proclaim the love of God.
On the realization of this objective, the members of the association outlined the trends and directions. They declared: “Many hold the belief that the future of Christianity is in Africa. Yet, there are real challenges to be met: Pentecostalism, religious intolerance, the flourishing of ‘private ministries’, syncretism, poor Christian (Catholic) education and formation, migration, inadequate pastoral care, cultism and negative media influence”.
The members of the association therefore stressed the need for theological education, urging the Church to maintain vigilance in order to safeguard the content of revealed truth. In this perspective, they stressed “the need for intellectual, ethical and technical formation, “for the truth resides in the intellect, freedom in the will and the intellect and the will are friends.”
On the relevance of Inculturation, the participants noted that it remains a gift and a task in African theology. Stressing the need for the proper understanding of inculturation, they declared: “Inculturation is not is not entertainment in the liturgy, fashion parade or the simple use of local languages in the liturgy.”
They added: “Inculturation, properly understood, will lead to the development of rites rites, rubrics, symbols and theologies that give an African character to the Christian message without distorting its contents. The early Church Fathers remain models in this noble adventure.”
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