The church is not anti-African culture – Catholic priest


According to Rev. Fr. Albert Ikpenwa, Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary (BMS), Enugu, the Catholic Church does not oppose the positive aspects of African culture, but rather promotes them for a better understanding of the society.

Ikpenwa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Enugu that the church participates in cultural activities on occasion to promote Nigerian culture among youths and to show that the church is not opposed to it.

He mentioned that the school would be hosting a cultural festival on Nov. 26 to showcase the cultural heritage of various Nigerians.

Ikpenwa expressed regret that youths had allowed westernisation to influence them against their own culture, but urged them to uphold the cultural values for which Africans are known.

Fr. Albert Ikpenwa, Rector, Bigard Memorial Seminary (BMS), Enugu

“Knowledge of our culture compels us to be our brothers’ keepers, guarding one another and ensuring the sacredness of lives, as well as respect for elders.”

“On November 26, we expect the youths to come and experience our attitude toward culture,” Ikpenwa said.

He did, however, add that the church promotes culture, which contradicts many people’s belief that the church came to destroy it.

He claims that the church is only against what is bad in our culture, such as idol worship, human sacrifices, and other harmful traditional practices, and that the message of Christ pervades all cultures.

The clergyman pointed out that people of various races were already practicing their culture before the church arrived to improve it.

“As we all know, Christianity began with Israel (Jews), then spread to Rome, where Roman culture accepted the church and transformed their culture by removing everything that was wrong with it.”

“It came to Africa and tried to transform African culture, but people misunderstood it and thought it came to destroy it.”

“Church transforms culture by enshrining the gospel of Christ in it,” he explained. “That is why we are organizing cultural activities to show our people that we are not against it.”

Ikpenwa went on to say that the festival would last three days and would include a symposium, drama, dance, and proverbs depicting Nigerian culture.

“We train Catholic priests here, and if they understand the culture of the people to whom they are assigned, they will teach them good aspects of our culture.”

“It’s not just in Africa that we have evil culture; the Romans had a culture in which people were sacrificed to their idols and gods, but when Christianity came along, they stopped,” he explained.

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