By Charles Igwe
Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Abuja emphasized the growing influence of African Catholicism and its appeal in the face of shifting global demographics. He discussed the factors contributing to the growth of the Church in Africa, including the alignment of African Christianity with traditional religious beliefs and experiences, a strong adherence to the authority of the Bible, the preservation of traditional concepts of family and morality, a focus on a strong communal dimension, and the credibility of certain traditional beliefs and practices, such as exorcism. He highlighted the relevance of these elements in African societies and their resistance to certain cultural upheavals experienced in the West, which have included redefinitions of gender roles, changing attitudes toward chastity, and the normalization of homosexuality.
Kaigama acknowledged that while many in the West might perceive African views on homosexuality as cruel, many Africans consider homosexuality a sin and pray for the redemption of sinners without supporting discrimination or violence. He also emphasized the importance of understanding the interconnectedness of life and the communal nature of sin in African Christian communities, where individuals are accountable to one another. Finally, he mentioned the Church’s role in addressing homophobia while remaining committed to the teachings of the Bible.
The Archbishop’s remarks were made in response to new statistics released by the Vatican confirming the growth of the Catholic Church in Africa, underscoring the continent’s significance in the evolving landscape of global Catholicism.
Kaigama’s comments highlight the cultural and theological diversity within the global Catholic Church and the ways in which these differences contribute to its complex and multifaceted identity.