African Catholic Voices : Tribalism, Clannishness, Ethnic Animosity and the Crisis of Episcopal and Leadership Succession in Africa

In his recent visit to South Sudan, Pope Francis exhorted the clergy, religious and church leaders to eschew tribalism and ethnic animosity in the Church in Africa.  This episode is a commentary on the threats and pains of tribalism and ethnocentric considerations in African Catholicism. This has been so painfully evident in the rejection of bishops in Juba, South Sudan; Ahiara Diocese, Nigeria; Makeni, Sierra Leone and the killings of bishops in Kenya and Cameroun over in-fighting in churches. The challenges of episcopal succession, and the rejection of church leaders in some African dioceses and in religious congregations based on ethnicity, and the negative effects of tribalism, nepotism and favoritism in African Catholicism are presented here as the number 1 issue for the continental synod in Africa. We African Catholics are invited to reflect again on how this terrible sin is threatening the future and credibility of the church in Africa as a home where everyone is accepted as a member of God’s family and a first born son and daughter of God based on our baptism ( and not based on our ethnic or tribal origin). 

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