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Title: Towards a More Ecumenically Oriented Christianity in Africa. A Roman Catholic Contribution
Other Titles: Towards a More Ecumenically Oriented Christianity in Africa. A Roman Catholic Contribution
Authors: Uzochukwu, Peter; M0330641;
Issue Date: 8-Jul-2008
Table of Contents: TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS..……………………………………………………….................ii
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY...........................................................................................viii
ABBREVIATIONS................................................................................................................liv
GENERAL INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................lv
Issues at Hand: The Subject-Matter of the Present Enquiry…………………………………………………...lv
Exigencies of Local Ecumenism: The Specificity of the African Context …………………………………..lvi
Issues of Methodology in the Contemporary Ecumenical Movement: The Search for Models...…….……..lvii
Overview of the Chapters………………………………………………………………..................................lix
Research Methodology....................................................................................................................................lxii

CHAPTER ONE

THE STATE OF UNITY AND DISUNITY IN AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY: IN SEARCH OF ECUMENICAL FOUNDATIONS

INTRODUCTION 1
1.1. CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA: TRACKING INTEGRATIVE AND DISINTEGRATIVE FACTORS 2
1.1.1. Founding the African Missions: Faulty Strategies, Divisive Platforms 3
1.1.2. The Missionaries’ Biases: Alienation Yielding towards an Ecumenical Impetus in Africa 6
1.1.3. Foreign Authorities and Local African Christian Communities: Dual Allegiance 7
1.2. THE GROWTH OF CHRISTIANITY IN AFRICA: AN ECUMENICAL HISTORIOGRAPHY 8
1.2.1. Post-Missionary African Christianity: Examining the Roots 10
1.2.2. The Expansion and Blossoming of Ecclesial life in African Christianity 11
1.2.3. Issues of Identity, Autonomy and Unity in the African Churches 13
1.3. FORMS AND TRENDS OF AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY: ECCLESIAL TYPOLOGIES 15
1.3.1. Mission-Raised Churches: Pioneers of Institutional Christianity in Africa 16
1.3.2. African Initiatives in Christianity (AIC): Apertures of the Emerging African Christianity 17
1.3.3. New Christian Movements: Charismatics / Pentecostals / Evangelicals 22
1.3.4. Other Less Familiar Christian Communities in Africa 23
1.3.5. Core Trends in African Christianity 24
1.4. AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY: PROFILING A LOCAL TRADITION 25
1.4.1. Call for an African Christianity 26
1.4.2. Re-Conceptualisation of the Faith in Africa 29
1.4.3. Cultural Heritage: Platform for Authentic African Christianity 31
1.4.4. Theologia Africana: Towards a Relevant African Theology 33
1.4.5. African Christianity: In Search of Authentic Expression 36
1.4.6. Christianity in Africa: Between Universals and Particulars 42
1.5. AFRICAN CHRISTIANITY: IN SEARCH OF ECUMENICAL FOUNDATIONS 44
1.5.1. General Ecumenical Situation in Africa 46
1.5.2. History of the Ecumenical Movement in Africa 47
1.5.3. Ecumenical Trends in the African Continent 51
1.5.4. Ecumenism in Africa: Its Particular Context and Features 54
1.5.5. Unity of Christians in Africa: Basic Challenges 58
1.6. EVALUATING THE STATE OF CHRISTIAN UNITY AND DISUNITY IN AFRICA 61
CONCLUDING REMARKS 64


CHAPTER TWO

GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND PRAXIS OF ECUMENISM: THE CASE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

INTRODUCTION 66
2.1. THE ECUMENICAL TRADITION IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: VISION, PRINCIPLES PRACTICE AND A MODEL 67
2.1.1. Lumen Gentium: The Basic and an Ecumenically Enabling Ecclesiology 68
2.1.2. History and Development of the Decree on Ecumenism (November 21, 1964): Articulating a Vision 73
2.1.3. Theology of Church Unity in UR: Church Unity as a Mystery 80
2.1.3. The Catholic Principles and Conditions for Ecumenism: Unitatis Redintegratio 82
2.1.3.1. Imperfect Communion: Churches and Ecclesial Communities 83
2.1.3.2. The Unity of the Church of Christ “Subsists” in the Catholic Church 87
2.1.3.3. “Hierarchy” of Truths: Guide for Ecumenical Dialogue 91
2.1.4. The Practice of Ecumenism in the Catholic Church: Principles and a Paradigm 95
2.1.4.1. Prescribed Actions in the Catholic Ecumenical Practice: Unitatis Redintegratio 96
2.1.4.2. An Institutional Act of Perfecting a Communion: The Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite (November 21, 1964) 97
2.2. CATHOLIC ECUMENICAL PRAXIS: THE ECUMENICAL DIRECTORY 101
2.2.1. Ecumenical Directory Part I, Ad Totam Ecclesiam (May 14, 1967): Laying the Structures of Ecumenism in the Catholic Church 102
2.2.1.1. Ecumenical Commissions Established at all Levels of the Church 102
2.2.1.2. Valid Baptism as the Centre-Point of Christian Unity 103
2.2.1.3. Institutionalising the Prayer for Christian Unity in the Catholic Church 105
2.2.1.4. Sharing of Spiritual Resources among Fellow Christians 106
2.2.1.5. Communicatio in spiritualibus: Sharing in Non-Sacramental Liturgy 107
2.2.1.6. Communicatio in sacris: Sharing in Sacramental Liturgy 109
2.2.2. Ecumenical Directory Part II, Spiritus Domini, April 16, 1970: Ecumenism in Higher Education, 116
2.2.2.1. General Principles and Aids to Ecumenical Education 118
2.2.2.2. Ecumenical Dimensions of Theological Education 120
2.2.2.3. Specific Guidelines for Ecumenical Education 122
2.2.2.4. Institutional and Individual Cooperation between Catholics and Other Christians 124
2.2.3. Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms of Ecumenism (1993) 126
2.2.3.1. The Catholic Church in the Service of Christian unity 127
2.2.3.2. Ecumenical Formation of all the Faithful Involved in the Service of Christian Unity 131
2.2.3.3. Developments in the Catholic Ecumenical Commitment: The Specific Areas Updated 132
2.2.3.4. Mixed Marriages: Basic Issues and General Guide 133
2.2.3.5. Council of Churches and Christian Councils 137
2.2.3.6. Common Witness and Collaboration among Christians 139
2.3. EVALUATIONS: ASSESSING THE ECUMENICAL PRINCIPLES AND PRAXIS OF VATICAN II 141
2.3.1. The Ecumenical Principles and Model: The Two Decrees UR and OE 141
2.3.2. The Official Ecumenical Praxis of the Catholic Church: The Directory 144
CONCLUDING REMARKS 146

CHAPTER THREE

THE RECEPTION OF THE ECUMENICAL PRINCIPLES AND PRAXIS IN AFRICAN CATHOLICISM: AN EMPIRICAL THEOLOGICAL SURVEY AND ANALYSIS

INTRODUCTION 149
3.1. SITUATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AFRICA: EXPOSING THE BACKGROUND 150
3.1.1. Ecumenical Engagement of the Catholic Church in Africa: Brief Historical Analysis 156
3.2. ECUMENICAL SITUATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AFRICA: AN EMPIRICAL SURVEY AND ANALYSIS 161
3.2.1. The Survey Project: Process, Research Question, Methodology and Expected Results 161
3.2.2. Ecumenical Frameworks: Official Provisions and Local Needs 163
3.2.3. Church Leadership: A Determinant Force in African Ecumenism 168
3.2.4. Ecumenical Formation: Appropriate Content, Style and Channels in Africa 173
3.2.5. Local Understanding and Practice of Christian Unity 177
3.2.5.1. Local Understanding of Ecumenism vis-à-vis General Catholic Ecumenical Ideal 178
3.2.5.2. Local Practice of Ecumenism in Africa 181
3.3. LOCAL ECUMENICAL DIRECTORIES IN AFRICA: ASSESSING THE LEVEL OF THEIR RECEPTION IN AFRICA 186
3.3.1. The Ecumenical Features and Posture of Episcopal Conferences in Africa: The Case of SACBC 187
3.3.2. Catholicity and Local Diversities: A Comparative Analysis of Two Directories 189
3.3.3. The Local Directory DESA: A Structural and Textual Analysis 191
3.3.3.1. Issues of Genuine Local Ecumenical Concerns or Needs 194
3.3.3.2. Facing up with Local Ecumenical Needs: How Effective are DESA’s Measures? 199
3.3.4. DESA: An Appraisal in View of Regional African Catholicism and Christianity 202
3.3.4.1. Situating DESA within Pan-African Catholic Ecclesiology and Ecumenism 202
3.3.4.2. DESA and the Larger African Christianity 205
3.4. DEDUCTIONS FROM THE SURVEY: PUTTING THE FINDINGS IN A THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE 207
3.4.1. Import and Limits of Doctrinal and non-Doctrinal Issues in Local Ecumenism 208
3.4.2. Issues of Methodology in the Ecumenical Movement 211
3.4.3. Ecclesial Praxis, Koinonia and Diakonia: Main Thrusts of the Ecumenical Venture in Africa 214
3.4.4. Ecumenism and Socio-Cultural Factors: Incarnating Ecumenism in Africa 220
3.4.5. Catholic Ecumenical Ecclesiology: Between Global Communion and Local African Context 224
3.5. EVALUATION: OUTSTANDING ISSUES IN THE CATHOLIC ECUMENICAL ENTERPRISE IN AFRICA 224
3.5.1. The Young State of Ecclesial Structures in Africa: An Apparent Ecumenical Advantage 225
3.5.2. Ecumenical Regeneration of the Catholic Church in Africa: Internal Challenges 227
3.5.3. Catholic Ecumenical Thrust and the Inter-ecclesial Question in Africa 228
CONCLUDING REMARKS 229






CHAPTER FOUR

CHURCH AS FAMILY-OF-GOD: PROPOSING AND APPROPRIATE MODEL OF ECUMENISM FOR AFRICA

INTRODUCTION 232
4.1.THE SOCIO-CULTURAL BACKGROUND FOR THE FAMILY-OF-GOD MODEL OF ECUMENISM IN AFRICA 234
4.2. CHURCH AND FAMILY: A THEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS 237
4.2.1. The Family in Christian Anthropology 238
4.2.2. Family in the Economy of Salvation and Ecumenism 239
4.2.3. God is Family: Trinitarian Unity as a Frame of Reference for Christian Unity 239
4.2.3.1. The Christian Doctrine of the Trinity from an Ecumenical Perspective 240
4.2.3.2. Father, Son and Holy Spirit: The Divine Family 241
4.2.3.3. Trinitarian Communion: The Paragon of Christian Unity 242
4.2.4. God’s Family and Human Families: A Symbiotic Correlation in Catholic Ecclesiology 245
4.2.4.1. Church as Family of God 245
4.2.4.2. Family as Home-Church and the Living Cell of Ecclesial Unity 249
4.2.4.3. The Emergence of the Family Model in African Catholic Ecclesiology 250
4.2.5. The Family in Africa: Notion and Practice 252
4.2.5.1. The Typical Form of Family in Africa: Extended Family System 254
4.2.5.2. The Extended Family System: Broad-Based Interlocked Relationships 255
4.2.6. The Ecumenical Values of the Idea of the Church as Family-of-God 256
4.2.6.1. The Point of Entry and Integration in the Human and Ecclesial Community 257
4.2.6.2. Family Promotes Unity-in-Diversity of Being and Loving Dialogue 258
4.2.6.3. Family Solidarity: Root of Communitarianism in Africa 260
4.2.6.4. Family of God: Giving Christian Unity a Concrete and Sustainable Shape in Reality 261
4.2.6.5. A Common Framework for all African Christian Communities 262
4.2.7. Family as a Model of the Church: Possible Limitations on the Global and Local Scenes 263
4.2.7.1. On the Global Scene 263
4.2.7.2. On the Local African Scene 265
4.2.7.2.1. Nepotism and Exclusivism: Narrowing the Boundary Line of the Family..........................................266
4.2.7.2.2. Group Egoism and Blind Solidarity.....................................................................................................267
4.2.7.2.3.Patriarchy and Matriarchy: Authority and the Place of Women in the African Family………………268
4.3. CHURCH AS FAMILY OF GOD: AN APPROPRIATE MODEL OF ECUMENISM IN AFRICA 271
4.3.1. Basic Concepts and the Import of Models in the Theology of the Church as the Family of God 271
4.3.1.1. Churches as Households of God’s Family: Promoting Christian Unity in Line with the African Family Matrix 272
4.3.1.2. The Common Fatherhood of God: Basis for Unity and Oneness among Christians 273
4.3.1.3. The Import of Models and Symbols in Contemporary Ecumenical Ecclesiology 274
4.3.2. Structures of Communion in the Church as Family-of-God 277
4.3.2.1. Kinship: Bedrock of Inter-subjective Communion and Unity in Africa 277
4.3.2.2. Ancestorship: Common Ground for Promoting Christian Unity in Africa 279
4.3.2.3. Basic Ecclesial Communities: Promoting Ecumenically Enabling Church-Structures in Africa 285
4.3.2.4. Parish and Pastoral Council: Matrix of Local Ecclesial and Inter-Ecclesial Communion 288
4.3.3. Ecumenical Formation in the Church as Family of God: Ecumenism as a Way-of-Life 290
4.3.3.1. Family-Like and Life-Based Approach: Ecumenism by Conscientisaiton 291
4.3.3.2. Empowering Parents to Nurture the Ecumenical Spirit in the Family 293
4.3.4. The Practice of Ecumenism within the Church as Family of God in Africa 296
4.3.4.1. Life of Holiness with Renewed Hearts: The Driving Force of Ecumenism 296
4.3.4.2. Dialogue of Life and Love: Family-Styled Channels and Forms of Unity 298
4.3.4.3. Common Christian Witness: Unifying Force of Inter-Church Solidarity 300
4.3.4.4. Intercommunion: Drawing on the African Values of Commensality and Hospitality 302
4.3.4.5. Mixed Marriages: Genuine Love of One Another as the Locus of Grace for Christian Unity 305
4.4. FAMILY-OF-GOD MODEL OF ECUMENISM: EVALUATION AND RECAPITULATION 308
4.4.1. Highlights of the Proposed Model of Ecumenism: A Recapitulation 309
4.4.2. The Family Model: Incorporating the Existential Inter-Relationality of Christians in the Ecumenical Drive 311
4.4.3. The Model of the Church as Family of God: Its Appropriateness for Ecumenism in Africa 313
4.4.4. The Family of God Model of Unity: Resonating with Global Trends in Ecumenism 315
CONCLUDING REMARKS 318


GENERAL CONCLUSION 320

A Recapitulation and Review of the High Points of the Research 320
Christianity in Africa: Young Structures, Opportunity for Erecting Ecumenical Foundations 321
Suitability of the Components of the Catholic Principles of Ecumenism to the African Situation 322
Between Global Visions and Local Needs: An Analysis of the Ecumenical Scene in African Catholicism 324
Catholic Ecumenical Principles vis-à-vis Non-Catholics in Africa 325
Family Model: Indigenising the Church and the Ecumenical Drive in Africa 327
Church as Family of God: Its Appropriateness for Africa and Universal Appeal 328

Appendix 1: Text of the Questionnaire…………………………………………….............331-342
Appendix 2: Statistical Presentation: Highpoints of the Responses to the Questionnaire…343-351
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KU Leuven publication type: TH
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