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Inculturation in Africa: Challenges and Prospects
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The theme of inculturation is not new among African theologians, especially in recent studies. Because of its importance, we carried out a brief investigation to observe how the process of inculturation has been at the center of the Church for centuries. We also looked at how it continues to be new, and how its implications have not yet fully penetrated the hearts of the African Catholic faithful. In this article we will suggest some “routes” that the process of inculturation could take today in Africa.

In his book Inculturation: Its Meaning and Urgency, John Mary Waliggo describes inculturation as “the honest and serious attempt to make Christ and his message of salvation evermore understood by peoples of every culture, locality and time, that is, the reformulation of Christian life and doctrine into the very thought-patterns of each people. It is the continuous endeavor to make Christianity truly ‘feel at home’ in the cultures of each people.”

The refusal to inculturate the Gospel message slows down the process of the Church putting down roots in the African continent, making the Church and the faith remain like a “potted plant”, forever living in a foreign soil. This belittles the dignity and self-respect of Africans as children of God.

Christianity has remained alive in some areas of Coptic-speaking Egypt, Ethiopia and the Sudan because it had been translated into the local languages, adapted to these cultures and propagated by local evangelizers. However, it was unable to survive the invasion of Islam in North Africa.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2023
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