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Title: The contribution of the laity to the growth of the Catholic Church in the Onitsha Province of Eastern Nigeria, 1905-1983
Author: Nwosu, Vincent
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1988
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Recent studies in African church historiography have increasingly shown that the generally acknowledged successful planting of Christian Churches in parts of Africa, especially the East and West, from the nineteenth century was not entirely the work of foreign missionaries alone. Africans themselves participated actively in planting, sustaining and propagating the faith. These Africans can clearly be grouped into two: first, those who were ordained ministers of the church, and secondly, the lay members. Previous historians did not seriously respect this division in their accounts of African participation, thus leading to a rather confused presentation. But this division and distinction is important, at least in the case of some Christian Churches, like the Roman Catholic Church, where the roles of the clergy and the laity are clearly canonically distinct. Many of the ordained African ministers did not behave very differently from their white counterparts who were in many cases regarded as model! Those who tried to follow a different line were sometimes described as rebels and cast away. Here one may recall the origin of many independent African churches or the schism which led to the Niger Delta Pastorate in the Anglican Church in Nigeria. In the Roman Catholic Church there was Reverend Father Michael Tansi - an Igbo priest, who was said to have opposed any form of inculturation in the church for fear of being unorthodox. This study seeks, therefore, to isolate the African laity from their clerical counterparts, and to examine the former's distinct contribution, either as individuals or in groups, toward the growth of Christianity in Africa. The particular church chosen is the Roman Catholic Church. The area studied is the Onitsha Province of the former Eastern Provinces of Nigeria - an area where the Catholic Church is widely believed to have made her greatest progress in Nigeria.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Africa; Christian churches