Competing Catholicisms: The Jesuits, the Vatican & the Making of Postcolonial French Africa [Hardback]

Jean Luc Enyegue SJ(Author); Jean Luc Enyegue, SJ(Author); Jean-Luc Enyegue SJ(Author)

ISBN: 9781847012715 | Published by: James Currey | Series: Religion in Transforming Africa | Volume: 10 | Year of Publication: 2022 | Language: English 324p, H9.25 x W6.25, 1 b/w, 18 line illus.
Status: Print on demand, available in one week

Competing Catholicisms


At a time when most African countries were moving towards independence, the Vatican was speeding up the Church's indigenization agenda in an effort to secure its survival in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, at the same time, African nationalism was on the rise and, following the collapse of its colonial empire, France was attempting to reassert its influence in Africa. This book shows how the Vatican, French Jesuits, the rising Cameroonian indigenous clergy and leadership, and the first Cameroonian Jesuits competed for the Catholic evangelization of French Africa during the mid-20th century. In the mission field, they also competed with different Protestant groups, with whom they shared acommon aim: to convert African traditional religionists and different groups of African Muslims to Christ, while containing the spread of anti-religious ideologies such as Communism.
Tracing the rapid expansion of Christianity in Central and Western French Africa during the second half of the twentieth century, the author shows in this book how this competition for faith helped both build the church in French West Africa and Africanize the church alongside missionary Christianity in postcolonial Africa. He also explores the African reaction to this diverse and competing global agenda of Christianization, especially after Chad and Cameroon came together as part of a single Jesuit jurisdiction in 1973, and the way in which, despite differing interpretations of Catholicity which generated internal conflicts, Western Jesuits focus on popular masses and the poor, was able to contain the spread of Islam, counter the Chad's persecution of Christians during the Cultural Revolution (1973-1975) and secure the survival of Christianity as a missionary movement in which Western missionaries worked alongside a rising African clergy and leadership.

JEAN LUC ENYEGUE, SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, Nairobi. He also lectures on church history at Hekima University College, Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

Table of Contents

Chronology of Jesuit Missions in Chad and Cameroon


Part I: The Jesuit Project in West Africa: French Catholicism and Colonialism in Chad, 1935-1958
1 Era of Confusion: The Vatican's or France's Wider Agenda? 1935-1946
2 Founding Era: The Conservatism of Frédéric de Bélinay, Jesuit Pioneer in Chad, 1946-1958
3 Colonial Era: Joseph du Bouchet and the Building of the Jesuit Mission in Chad, 1947- 1958

Part II: The Outward Mission: Education and Competing Catholicisms
4 Era of Civilization: Popular Education and Islamism
5 Era of Accommodation: Mission toward the Southern "Ethno-Religionists"
6 Era of Revolution: Bishop Paul Dalmais and Chad's Cultural Revolution, 1958-1975

Part III: The Postcolonial Mission and Catholicity: From Chad to Cameroon, 1962-1978
7 Era of Consolidation: The Rebirth of Missionary Catholicism after Independence, 1962-1973
8 Era of Experimentation: M.-P. Hebga, First Cameroonian Major Superior, 1968-1973
9 Era of Dissent: Cameroonian Jesuits and Global Catholicism, 1974-1978


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