Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Igbo Catechism Booklet, an Outdated Handbook or a Backward Church?

15327821_1376751395682713_540566824_n(2)Last week I questionned the methodology of our «Katikizim Nke Okwukwe Nzuko Katolik N’Asusu Igbo» and I was told it has been upgraded. But from all indications, it was only furbished and nothing more. Now that I have the copy of the latest edition in my hand, I'm beginning to think that this Catechism that is based on a 19th Century methodology (more than 100 years now) is everything except adapted to the pastoral exigencies of today. It cannot in anyway validly communicate the Faith of the Church. I really do not believe in anyway that this method repeated from the inception of Christianity in Nigeria has its place today. I surely do not doubt the fact that this method was very effective at its time but no longer in our generation. In which discipline, has a 100 years teaching methodology has not changed if not our Catechism classes? I am convinced that this is a wrong approach to evangelization.

To buttress my point, let us examine two questions of this booklet today: Questions 87 and 88. The question 87 goes thus: “Gini mere i ji ekwu na Vejin Maria bu Nne nke Chukwu?” – Why do you say that Virgin Mary is the Mother of God? The second question asks: “Kowakene nke a nke Oma” - Explain it well

15328227_1376751405682712_1463601379_nThe beautiful answer to the first question is:

“ihe m ji ekwu na Vejin Maria bu Nne kne Chukwu bu: na Jeso Kristi adighi pesin abua kama O bu so otu pesin. N’ihi nke a, Vegin Maria bu Nne otu pesin bu Jeso Kristi” – Why I say that Virgin Mary is the Mother of God is: Jesus Christ is not two persons but one person. Because of this, Virgin Mary is the mother of one person who is Jesus Christ.

Just imagine a kid of 12 years memorizing this? What does he or she understand by one person? Does it mean “otu mmadu” or “otu onye”? Why is “pesin” used and not “mmadu or onye”? That’s not even my major preoccupation here but the fact that even those who proposed this are aware that it is not a clear answer. And that is why they go further to ask: “explain it well”.

And instead of explaining it at all, they went further to create the greatest confusion ever. Let's look at what is called explanation to the question Kowakene nke a nke oma”15328227_1376751405682712_1463601379_n

“Pesin nke abuo n’ato n’ime Otu Di Ngozi bu okwu nke Chukwu ghoro mmadu site n’iwere udi nke mmadu ka O buru nke Ya. O bia welite omumu nke Ya bu Pesin nke abuo n’ime Ato N’Otu Di Ngozi bu Jeso Kristi. O bu Ya ka Vejin Maria bu Nne Ya. N’ihi nke a ka Vejin Maria ji buru Nne nke Chukwu.”

– The second Person of the Holy Trinity is the Word of God that became human by taking the human form to be his (that took the human form). This exalted the birth of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who is Jesus Christ. It is He who the Virgin Mary is the Mother. Therefore, Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.

What on earth does this mean in a plain English? Is this what is expected of primary school pupils to learn to understand the Faith of the Church? Of course, they can't understand it and neither do I believe that their teachers do.

I think, Nigerian Church ought to examine the context in which this booklet was proposed to understand at what age were our grand fathers preparing for their baptism? I am certain that it was surely not at their tender age like today, if not, even them would not have understood it in those olden days.

4 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha...
    Bienvenu au club ...
    C'est bien le handicap des "petits catéchismes" qui pilulent à gauche et droite où il y a juste des extraits du "Catéchisme de l'Église Catholique" qui sont retranscrits.
    Je me revois à "Mukasa" pendant les études de philo lorsque nous découvrions les "concepts" et apprenions à les manier. Avec quelques confrères nous nous amusions à voir ce que la transcription donnerait dans nos langues maternelles. Est-il possible de transposer ces concepts consacrés en un autre lieu, en une autre époque et dans une autre culture pour dire la réalité (spécialement divine) dans nos contextes africains aujourd'hui ?
    Immense chantier. Je ne vais pas reprendre ici l'historique de l'ethnophilosophie pour une ethnothéologie.
    Mon humble avis est qu'il faut penser (non pas dans les schémas et schèmes rationalistes mais une saisie authentique de l'homme réel en situation dans son monde) et lui faire faire l'expérience du "Dieu fait homme" en partant de sa propre humanité.
    Le Dieu que tu (chaque homme et femme de ce monde) dois connaître et accueillir est le même qui s'est incarné hier, s'incarne aujourd'hui et s'incarnera demain, ici et ailleurs dans l'humanité qui se manifeste de manière plurielle.
    Le parcours catéchuménal doit être une expérience "cosmothéandrique" (Cf. R. Panikkar), plonger dans la psyché humaine afin découvrir les pulsations immanentes et transcendantes du divin.

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    1. Ma préoccupation est que tout le monde semble à l'aise avec cette situation et même face à ma provocation les concernés restent muets. Mais je vais les provoquer jusqu'à la faute, s'il le faut, car je pense que l'indépendance de nos Églises locales n'auront lieu que quand les gens se rendront compte de l'insuffisance et des limites de notre système actuel.

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  2. Courage Bro...
    L'essentiel est de faire entendre cette voix (voie ; this voice who is a way) qui rappelle qu'il y a des veilleurs....
    Et que c'est beau de l'entendre en ce temps où nous attendons l'auteur de tout renouveau authentique...

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  3. Hello, please I need a PDF version of this book

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