Comparing Traditional Catholicism to Catholicism in Africa

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The traditional African peoples of the sub-Sahara have a very high sense of the Sacred. There is reverence for sacred places, persons and objects. Religion enfolds the whole of life, and there is no dichotomy between the secular and the religious, the sacred and the profane, the visible and the invisible.


For the Africans, man is not just homo religiosus in the classical sense. He eats, drinks, sleeps, works and does practically every thing religiously.
The Catholic presence in Africa was re-shaped by the twin events of decolonization and Vatican Council 2 between 1962-65 (Hastings, 1989). In Vatican's aim to evangelize, priests and missionaries were encouraged to use the vernacular in worship called vernacular liturgy as well as the development of African hymnody and instrumentation "...The most important single effect in Africa in popular terms of the Council has been the change in singing, in hymns, in music, in the use of musical instruments," (Hastings, 1989). It was also noted that Vatican II also encouraged African Catholics to read Protestant vernacular translations of the Bible.
But the "westernization" of Catholicism, particularly reduction of approval on healing shrines, holy water, statues and candles, resisted by African Catholics. Likewise, by 1994, ninety percent (90%) of the hierarchy was African as symbolized by the African Synod. Catechists mostly married lay men also became instrumental in the spread of Catholicism in the 20th century.
In the African Synod led by the late pope John Paul II, emphasized marriage to be in-cultured for it had been a problem within ...
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