Date of Award
Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2019.
Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)
This thesis entitled “Fostering Dialogue and Engagement: The Role of the Catholic Church in Nigeria,” written by Tony Terwase Famave, seeks to address the long-standing misunderstandings between Christians and Muslims that often lead to the wanton destruction of lives, property, and destabilization of the social order, using Vatican II as a model for Nigeria. The ethnic and religious division in the country is further complicated by a Muslim north which is predominantly of the Hausa Fulani tribe and the Christian south which is mostly of the Igbo and Yoruba tribes, with a number of minority tribes counted among the two major religions. Because of this, managing diversity has become a major problem in the country.
This thesis traces the origin of the problem from the country’s very beginning and attempts to proffer a solution using the ethos of the Second Vatican Council because of the council’s ability to manage diversity well, both before the council and during the council. Convoked by John XXIII and completed by Paul VI in 1964, Vatican II: demonstrated openness to the world by making a broad consultation before and during the council; employed democratic principles like voting; and called for the need to update Catholic teaching and return to the sources of Christianity. The suggested solutions are then classified under the aforementioned ethos of Vatican II. The paper concludes that there is a need to return to the African understanding of religious diversity before the advent of both Christianity and Islam in the country. There were diverse African religions on the continent of Africa before the arrival of Islam and Christianity but the attitude was more of tolerance and acceptance without compromising the differences. However, the arrival of two religions brought about the idea of evangelism which led to the present conflict between Christianity and Islam. This thesis, therefore, calls for a return to the African mindset about other religions before the advent of Islam and Christianity.
Famave, Tony Terwase, "Fostering Dialogue and Engagement: The Role of the Catholic Church in Nigeria" (2019). Jesuit School of Theology Dissertations. 75.