"Witchcraft destroying the Catholic Church in Africa, experts say"
#1
http://www.catholic.org/international/in...p?id=22994

Witchcraft destroying the Catholic Church in Africa, experts say

NAIROBI, Kenya (CISA) – Witchcraft is real, and it is destroying the church in Africa, Catholic experts warned earlier this week.

Scholars from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) expressed concern that the church continued to dismiss the dark arts as mere superstition, thereby unwittingly helping the devil advance his reign.

For that reason, Christians who suffer because of witchcraft are often dismissed by priests as being superstitious, the scholars said. Because they do not get adequate help from pastoral agents, they seek the assistance of witchdoctors or join the mushrooming evangelical denominations that offer healing, exorcism and deliverance, they said.

Many African priests fear witchcraft or are ignorant of their own power to confront the devil, the scholars said, adding that Christians visit diviners and magicians to seek practical solutions which the church and science apparently do not offer.

The experts spoke here during a three-day symposium on the pastoral challenge of witchcraft organized by the Institute of Spirituality and Religious Formation at Tangaza College.

Michael Katola, a lecturer in pastoral theology at CUEA, said from the African perspective Christianity does not seem to have answers to all questions. And while the church demonized traditional experts such as medicine-men and diviners, it has offered no equivalent alternatives, he added. "We have many Christians who go to consult fortune-tellers when they want to start a project or when faced with problems," he said.

Africans are not any more superstitious than other peoples, he said. The problem is that the church has not come to terms with the African worldview which accepts the existence of evil powers, he said. "It is important for the church to understand the fears of the people and not to attribute them to superstition."

"Witchcraft is a reality; it is not superstition," Katola said, adding that "many communities in Kenya know those powers exist in their midst."

Dissatisfied Catholics are swelling the ranks of the new evangelical movements, he said.. "Many of our Christians seek deliverance, healing and exorcism from other denominations because priests do not realize they have redemptive powers," Katola said.

He said the responsibility of fighting witchcraft lies with the clergy, who should start by accepting the reality of the phenomenon. "If we don't believe in the existence of witchcraft as Satanism then we can not deal with it."

Sister Bibiana Munini said Christians still consult diviners and magicians for practical solutions because the church has not paid much attention to integral healing.

Moreover, she added, the much-valued ministry of the traditional healer has no equivalent in the church today.

Malawian academic, Father Clement Majawa, said the problem of witchcraft is real and needs a serious effort as it had contributed to "superficiality of faith and morals" in Africa.

He listed 14 categories of witchcraft practiced across the continent, stressing that the church's denial of the existence of the evil arts "only escalates the problem."

He attributed the persistence of witchcraft to ignorance within the church of the African worldview and lack of deep knowledge of the faith among Christians.

Father Majawa called for an urgent and coordinated pastoral response to the problem in every diocese.

"Since Christ in the gospels encountered the devil, it is proper for Christians to accept the reality of witchcraft."
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#2
Human sacrifice abounds, and there is a trade in organs harvested from murdered children, offered alongside blood to appease demons. Who can doubt that the principalities and powers do indeed exercise certain faculties so as to lead souls away from the Lord? Witchcraft is no myth; Satan is real, and men and women throughout history have turned to the demons, even under the names of old gods and goddesses or in the guise of venerated statues, to satisfy their vain desires. If their requests are answered (and we should not doubt that this does happen), they find themselves deeper and deeper in bondage.

This even happened in medieval Christendom. Some of the books of sorcerers have survived and are now the subject of academic study. They are terrible things, worthy of the legend of Faust, and list the names of various demons, their various seals and capacities, and how they might be called. Of course, I do not believe one may use magic to control demons; on the contrary, any control is merely an act of deception so as to tempt the sorcerer further, and we cannot doubt that many have damned themselves or become possessed through these irreligious acts.
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#3
Hmm...

On the one hand, I sympathize, because I think the reality of the devil and demonic phenomenon has been too downplayed in our culture.

On the other hand, this seems sort of relativistic:
Quote:Africans are not any more superstitious than other peoples, he said. The problem is that the church has not come to terms with the African worldview which accepts the existence of evil powers, he said.

Notice he doesnt say the problem is that the church doesnt accept the existence of evil powers. He says that the church "has not come to terms with" a particular "worldview" which accepts evil powers. That's a big difference.

He seems to be saying that the fact that witchcraft is a psychological and sociological phenomenon among them...makes it a "real" phenomenon, whatever that would mean. It seems to be positing a cultural relativism, whereby their "witchcraft" view of causation is just as valid as science or logical causation.

A lot of it is superstition. I read a book by a doctor who went to Haiti, and so much treatment was stopped because people wouldnt take their medicines because they were convinced voodoo caused their illness.

Witchcraft is a problem in these societies. And it may be used as a cloak by the devil to slip in real demonic phenomenon under the radar. But by and large...it is a problem solved if people just stop believing it and so mentally free themselves from the culture of fear and irrationality and suspicion it creates. Belief in witchcraft is the real cloud covering these societies, much more so than any truly supernatural phenomena the superstition enables.
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#4
I would say the whole system of "African traditional religion" is demonic and worthy of destruction. Just as St. Athanasius forcibly converted a pagan temple in Alexandria to our Lord, just as St. Benedict destroyed the temple to Apollo at Monte Cassino and its grove to build his monastery, just as St. Boniface destroyed Thor's Oak, so must we do in Africa.
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#5
Quote:I would say the whole system of "African traditional religion" is demonic and worthy of destruction. Just as St. Athanasius forcibly converted a pagan temple in Alexandria to our Lord, just as St. Benedict destroyed the temple to Apollo at Monte Cassino and its grove to build his monastery, just as St. Boniface destroyed Thor's Oak, so must we do in Africa.

Exactly. Witchcraft as a system and as an idea is the real evil. Not any alleged actual results of it (which I would bet are quite rare)...but the very idea of it as a belief tears apart communities and causes hysteria and suspicions and all sorts of weird mechanisms for vengeance and stuff.
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#6
Guys, I think in some odd way, you're reading too much into what the man said, and yet, not enough. He simply said that the African worldview accepts the existence of evil powers, the worldview people are turning to, because the priests dismiss all that they attribute to evil power as superstition. The people accept the existence of evil powers in Africa, and by implication, the priests either do not or are rather oblivious to the supernatural evil the people are crying out about.
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#7
[Image: exorcist.jpg]

We need more of those, whether in Africa, Americas, Asia or Europe.
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#8
Well not that priest from the movie-he lost.
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#9
didishroom Wrote:Well not that priest from the movie-he lost.

Well, the demon was expelled from that little girl, Regan, even if both priests ended up killed. I wouldn't call it a defeat since the exorcism was completed and successful.
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#10
Quote:Guys, I think in some odd way, you're reading too much into what the man said, and yet, not enough. He simply said that the African worldview accepts the existence of evil powers, the worldview people are turning to, because the priests dismiss all that they attribute to evil power as superstition. The people accept the existence of evil powers in Africa, and by implication, the priests either do not or are rather oblivious to the supernatural evil the people are crying out about.

But very often they arent really crying out about real evil forces. Very often, they are reacting to sickness and poverty and a culture of fear and illogical suspicion that causes mass hysteria. And though we have to be careful to discern real phenomena from unreal, priests in general shouldnt be pandering to their animist holdover superstitions.
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