The Future of the Catholic Church in Africa

The Future of the Catholic Church in Africa

This third part of The Church in Africa will focus on the future of the Catholic Church in Africa. The first discussion will describe the likely ongoing power of the Church in Africa moving forward, linked not only to traditional provisions of services like education and health care, but also to providing leadership in economic and political realms. The second will examine the ways that African Catholicism will be shaped by global Pentecostalism, both through the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and also through more sweeping stylistic changes in Catholic prayer and spirituality. The third discussion will address the growing prominence of the Catholic Church in Africa for the Catholic Church in a global perspective.

The Future of the Catholic Church in Africa: Powerful

Presented by Paul Kollman

The Catholic Church will continue as a powerful presence in life in many African countries. Its traditional role in social service — especially health care and education — will continue, with a growing presence through Catholic universities, which have grown in number and quality recently. It will continue to provide leaders in African economic and political life. And, it will likely continue to provide distinctly trusted leadership in times of crises, such as national regime transitions, which have happened over the past few decades in several places.

In Isaiah Jones’ Catholicism’s Decisive Shift Toward Africa, Rev. Paulinus Odozor, CSSp is quoted. Fr. Paulinus is my colleague in the ND Theology Department and a Spiritan priest from Nigeria.

The Future of the Catholic Church in Africa: Pentecostal

Presented by Paul Kollman

The growth of Pentecostalism is the largest trend in contemporary Christianity, and Africa is one of its centers. Since the 1960s with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, in which Notre Dame has played a prominent role, Pentecostalism has also shaped the Catholic Church, not least in Africa. It has also shaped African Catholic life more generally.

Archbishop Matthew Kukah of Nigeria is profiled in African bishop says Catholic Church can learn from Pentecostals, commenting on the lessons that Catholics can learn from Pentecostalism in Africa.

The Future of the Catholic Church in Africa: Prominent

Presented by Paul Kollman

This final presentation on “the Future of the Catholic Church in Africa” will examine likely trends looking ahead. First, it will consider the impact of the demographic growth of Africans on the global profile of the Catholic Church. Secondly, it will address the impact of the outsized vitality of African Catholicism in a global Catholic perspective. And finally, it will discuss the role of African Catholics in leadership in the global Catholic Church.

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Presented by Paul Kollman

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Featured Speakers:

  • Rev. Paul Kollman, C.S.C. ’84, ’90 M.Div., Associate Professor, Theology

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Additional Resources

Presented by Paul Kollman

Here are a number of articles of interest.


Presented by Paul Kollman

Congratulations! You have now completed the three sessions of “The Church in Africa,” part of ThinkND’s series The Global Church, organized by the World Religions World Church program in Notre Dame’s Department of Theology and the Notre Dame Alumni Association.

I thank you for your participation. And, I also invite you to join further events and resources sponsored by ThinkND, all designed to advance the educational mission of the University of Notre Dame! 

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