Author(s)Iheanacho, Valentine Ugochukwu
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AbstractWladimir d'Ormesson, a French diplomat at the Vatican, in praise of Francois Méjan's 1957 book, Le Vatican contre la France d'Outre-Mer, expressed with bitterness and regret that the "civilisation" which French missionaries had helped to spread in mission lands had sadly turned against French interests. "[W]e are showered with ingratitude on all sides. We have spread civilization far and wide," he wrote. "[A]
nd now this civilisation pushes us away in the very name of the doctrine that gave rise to it ... it is a bitter cycle." The bitterness and regret of d'Ormesson were directed against the Vatican's new missionary policy on Africa. That policy, understood as Plantatio Ecclesiae, was predicated upon indigenisation in terms of allowing African priests to assume positions of authority and leadership in their emerging local churches. It became the bone of contention between the Vatican and some missionary congregations. On the flip side, the desire among some African native clergy, to see the evolution of an African church in an independent Africa, in many instances brought about misunderstanding and tension. This essay intends to highlight the bumpy roads that popped up in attempts to root the local church in the post-missionary era in Africa.