The Holy See Search


10 April-8 May 1994

"The Church in Africa and Her Evangelizing Mission Towards the Year 2000:
'You Shall Be My Witnesses' (Acts 1:8)"




1. What lessons can be learnt from the history of the Church in Africa in view of the Church's evangelising mission in that continent today?

2. What are the signs of the times which indicate or underline the urgency of a new period or stage of the evangelisation of Africa today? How can an awareness be fostered concerning the arrival of a "Kairos", "Africa's hour", in which Africa can be won over for Christ?

3. What are the concrete forms or ways through which the Church in Africa must carry out its missionary obligation towards herself?

4. What are the possible concrete ways by which the Church in Africa could express her missionary obligation and commitment beyond the confines of the African continent?

5. How is the pastoral of vocations concretely carried out in your Particular Church?

6. What do you think about the level and situation of formation in African major seminaries (spiritual formation, intellectual, ascetical, disciplinary, pastoral, human, etc.)? What are the criteria followed in Particular Churches for the selection and admission of candidates into major seminaries?

7. In practical ways how can the ongoing formation of diocesan priests be fostered?

8. In what concrete ways does your Particular Church provide for the formation of catechists?

9. Is any concrete action taken in Particular Churches for the formation of Christ's lay faithful, such as:

- courses for the promotion of religious culture
- the social teaching of the Church
- Biblical apostolate
- etc.?

10. What do you think about the mutual relations between Bishops and religious congregations in Particular Churches in Africa?

11. "Various forms of religious life should be cultivated in a young Church, so that they can display different aspects of Christ's mission and the Church's life, can devote themselves to various pastoral works, and can prepare their members to exercise them rightly. Still Bishops in their Conference should take care that congregations pursuing the same Apostolic aims are not multiplied to the detriment of the religious life and the apostolate" (Ad Gentes 18). In the light of the above Conciliar statement, what do you think about the multiplicity of religious congregations of diocesan right in Africa?

12. What evangelising role is played in your Particular Church by the following: family, the school, small communities, movements?

13. In the light of the mystery of the Church as communion, what do you think of racial or tribal divisions and oppositions in your country? What role do the agents of evangelisation play in your country in favour of Church-communion?

14. The Vatican Council's Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church says that "from the very start, the Christian Community should be so formed that it can provide for its own necessities in so far as this is possible" (Ad Gentes 15). In the light of this Conciliar directive, is there a sufficient awareness in Particular Churches about the necessity and urgency of achieving financial self-reliance? What initiatives, strategies and efforts does your Particular Church undertake in view of the attainment of financial self-reliance?


15. Do you consider inculturation as urgent and necessary, hic et nunc, for the Church in Africa? Please give reasons for your position.

16. Has your particular Church already embarked on any efforts aimed at promoting inculturation. If so, please specify the areas concerned, mentioning as well the agents involved (Bishops, priests, men and women religious, theologians, the lay faithful)?

17. Either before or during this experimentation in inculturation was any explanation given to the clergy and to the lay faithful concerning what it meant (or what it entailed)? Have they been involved in the entire process of inculturation?

18. What are the reactions of the faithful towards these attempts at inculturation? Were they favourable or not? Did you consider it necessary to offer explanations to the faithful before starting any experiments? Please give reasons for your position.

19. What do you consider as the most urgent fields/areas of inculturation in Africa today: theological, liturgical, moral, social, pastoral or catechetical?

20. What are the fruits of your efforts in inculturation, judging them by the following criteria:

a) contribution to the glory of God, the Creator;
b) greater participation in the salvific action of the Redeemer;
c) better organisation of the Christian life;
d) compatibility of local traditions and cultural mores with the Gospel;
e) communion with the Universal Church?

21. Are you aware of any abuses in efforts towards inculturation? Please give some examples.

22. Have efforts in inculturation helped to foster communion within the particular Church? In what sense?


23. To what extent have the modern means of transportation and social communications affected closer interaction between adherents of different religions in your area? How has this affected the Church's mission of evangelisation?

24. How do people in your area generally see the relationship between dialogue and evangelisation in the mission of the Church? Is there a tendency to neglect one in favour of the other? Are the official directives of the Church on these matters available to and properly understood by the generality of your people? What steps are being taken to ensure this?

25. What are the major difficulties of religious dialogue in general in your area? What special opportunities does your social situation offer for dialogue?

26. Would you see the Catholic Church as playing a leadership role in interreligious dialogue in your country? If so, in what ways?

27. According to Vatican II, what are the objectives and importance of ecumenical dialogue with non-Catholic Churches and ecclesial communities?

28. In what ways and to what extent has the ecumenical spirit blowing in the Catholic Church affected the Church in your land in its relationship with other Christians?

29. Do you have the phenomenon of proliferation of sects in your country? How does this affect ecumenical dialogue?

30. Has a formal ecumenical dialogue been launched in your country, between the Catholic Church and other Christian communities? If so, since when? At what level? How consistent? And with what result?

31. What effort is being made in your country, diocese and parishes, to promote the unity of Christians?

32. What are the main areas of possible collaboration between Christians of different confessions, in view of closer ecumenical relationship, e.g. political, social, cultural, Bible apostolate, religious education?

33. How much ecumenical collaboration is there in the following areas: political, social, cultural, Bible apostolate, prayers?

34. What are the dangers to avoid and the obstacles to overcome in ecumenical dialogue in your area? For example, intransigence or indifference?

35. What form of training in ecumenism do you give your priests, seminarians, religious and laity in order to prepare them for a fruitful dialogue?

36. Is there a sizeable Orthodox community in your country? If so, how far and fast is dialogue with them moving?

37. How strong is the presence of Islam in your country, and how does this compare to Catholic and Christian presence? Are there reliable official figures on the relative numerical strengths of the different religious groups?

38. Do you think being a Christian or Muslim affect one's access to key positions in your country's political life? Can you illustrate this with examples?

39. Does Islam have an official or privileged status in your country? If so, how does this affect dialogue? In particular, how do government policies on religion promote or hinder dialogue with Islam?

40. What is the impact of international Islamic organisations on Islam in your country, and how does this affect dialogue? Which of these are most active in your area?

41.Have you noticed an intensification of Islamic propagation in your country in recent years? What are the main external sources of support for such programmes? How do the affect the chances of Christian evangelisation on the one hand, and the opportunities for dialogue on the other?

42. At what stage is the dialogue between Christians and Muslims? How far is the principle of reciprocity respected in Christian-Muslim relations? Are there any difficulties? If so, mention the most important ones.

43. What steps have been taken in the Particular Church to prepare for dialogue? What possibilities for formation exist? What attitudes are inculcated in schools, in colleges of teach training, in seminaries and in catechetical centres?

44. To what extent is African Traditional Religion still surviving in your area? How is it coping with the impact of modern science and technology and , in the political context, of modern state structures?

45. What efforts have been made in your diocese, ethnic area, region or country to study the African Traditional Religion prevalent in your area? Are there scientific academic research works produced on them from the theological, anthropological, sociological, canonical, liturgical or other perspectives?

46. What theological or other Church faculties or agencies in your area study African Traditional Religion?

47. Is a course on African Traditional Religion taught in your major seminaries, and houses of religious or pastoral formation?

48. Is there any commission on African Traditional Religion formed by your Bishops? conference?

49. Are there any directives or documents of Bishops on African Traditional Religion?

50. What are the positive elements of African Traditional Religion which the Church could or should adopt or retouch?

51. Are there any litrugical rites or other initiatives already introduced in your area as a result of pastoral attention to African Traditional Religion?

52. What are the negative elements which will have to be rejected?

53. Are there syncretistic developments from African Traditional Religion in your area, and if so, what action is the Church taking to meet such challenges?

54. How much and how effectively is the laity involved in the pastoral attention of your Particular Church on African Traditional Religion?

55. What is the extent of the presence of sects and new religious movements in your country?

56. Is there a fairly comprehensive inventory of such sects, including their different characteristics?

57. Have you any way of monitoring their influence on Catholics? Which group of Catholics are influenced by them and become their followers?

58.What do these sects have that attract some Catholics?

59. Has your Particular Church any clear pastoral programme in light of these sects and movements?

60. Can you identify in your country any groups who will fall under the heading treated in this section? Among such groups, are there any that are anti-Catholic or anti-Christian in their policies and methods? If so, what are the prospects for dialogue?

61. How much are Catholic lay persons involved in and contributing to the formulation and propagation of state ideologies in your country? What influence, if any does Catholic social and political doctrine have on such ideologies?

62. Has your Particular Church any commission for dialogue with local cultural and ideological groups?


63. Describe the awareness of the Church in Africa ? particular, regional and continental ? to the vital link between the Church?s mission of evangelisation and action on behalf of human promotion, justice and peace? What programmes of formation exist in this regard, particularly towards the lay faithful?s active participation in civil life and politics.

64. There are many papal documents, and those of national, regional and continental episcopal bodies, which express the appeal of the Church in this area. How well is the Church?s message known and put into practice at the various levels of African society? How can it be improved?

65. What is the present situation in your diocese, region or country concerning:

a) Human Promotion: health, education, social structures, respect for the human person, the situation of prisoners, torture, etc.?
b) Justice: violations of human rights, recognition of political rights, the right of association and free expression (of one?s opinions), etc.?
c) Peace: relations between ethnic, racial, religious and ideological groups; situations of armed conflict and war; justice and peace?

67. What are the main efforts aimed at changing these situations which have been already undertaken in your country or region by

- Churches or ecclesial communities?
- the State or by other groups?

68. How can the Church at her various levels contribute to help improve these situations through a renewed effort in evangelisation?


69. After the promulgation of the document of the Second Vatican Council, Inter Mirifica (4 December 1963), in your opinion which official texts of the Church on the means of social communications ought to be given more attention in the evangelising mission of the Church in Africa?

70. What are the means of evangelisation which ought to be given the benefit of attention and reflection today in the particular Churches, especially according to the official documents, Inter Mirifica and Communio et Progressio?

71. In this "Era of Communication", have Church leaders and the faithful in your area been concretely aware of the phenomenon ? both in the world and in Africa ? how social communications affect people's ideas of the world and others, in their collective and individual behaviour?

72. Does announcing Jesus Christ, deepening one's faith and fostering the overall total development of the person through use of the means of social communications, appear to you as a valuable and urgent pastoral project?

73. Would it be desirable to make an objective inventory of those modern means of communication more widely used in your area by politicians, traders and people?

74. Do groups of young people and adults show any preference for certain kinds of mass media. What percentage of the population in your area makes use of the following: radio, press, television and cinema, video?

75. Is it possible to do a research study on the kind of films usually available in the video-clubs which are opening in your area? Cannot the Church offer an alternative to families and young people by providing better, or even religious films?

76. How can the traditional means of social comminations be assessed and used to proclaim the Gospel and advance human promotion?

77. Is the Church discourse on the means of social communications in your country, constructive and a source of motivation for communicators and users? Please give examples.

78. How are the leaders and faithful concretely engaged in the ministry of communication? Has there been any effort to develop sharing of communication resources between the African Churches? (South-South co-operation).

79. Does a concerted and effective strategy exist in your Church for the training of Christian communicators (priests, religious, lay men and women)?

80. Is there a listing available of all those who have been locally trained and those trained abroad; are they employed in the communication ministry? If yes, in what area of competence are they working and what are the conditions under which they work?

81. What links exist between your Particular Church and those in charge of social communications in the area as well as the professionals who work in the industry? What pastoral activity is envisioned towards those persons, Christian or not, involved in the various areas of social communications?


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