Claude Akpokavie

If there is one thing all observers of the African scene are in agreement with, irrespective of ideological considerations or their origin, it is the fact that the African continent is living through a deep crisis. This crisis, which has not even spared the so-called “model” countries, has invaded the television screens of the world and made Africa the object of the world’s charity and bewilderment.

Analysis of the causes of this present crisis has highlighted not only external factors consistent with the new-colonialist school of analysis but has increasingly focused on the internal factor, emphasizing the historical nature of the African societies and the specificity of their own internal dynamics. The indicators of this crisis which has touched all aspects of African society. are especially catastrophic when seen at the economic level.

The economic indicators have pointed not only to the fact that Africa is unable to feed its increasing population, but that the overwhelming majority of the world’s least developed countries are found on the continent. The level of indebtedness of the African economies is equally despairing. Compared with the Latin American debt, the African debt is quantitatively much smaller but in real terms, considering the capacity of the African economies to service and repay this debt, (against the background of declining production of cash crops and stagnating prices of these on the world market), the indebtedness of Africa is unquestionably more critical than that of Latin America. The litany of these economic factors that indicate the crisis in Africa is long and further worsened by other socio-political factors.

This picture will of course not be complete if one does not mention the signs of hope existing and emerging on the continent. Whether it is through a greater consciousness by the civil society, the emergence of alternative developmental programs, or the resistance of the peasantry in the face of a dominating state and an exploitative urban dynamic, these signs of hope exist. The challenge is how to channel them into viable long term political alternatives.

Against this general background, the future of the continent seems to hinge on three general challenges. These challenges emanate from the present crisis, and the way they will determine largely the future of the continent. The first challenge 1s In relation to development.

Some 30 years after independence, the various development strategies implemented have not transformed the historical decline of African societies. Successive coalitions in  Power, of the ” right”  or the “left”, military or civilian, have for the greater part based their development strategies on their power base; ie. generally in the urban sector and sometimes on the rural plantation owners. This has invariably maintained the African peasantry peripheral to development strategies in spite of their dynamic capacities. Despite the important rural-urban drift seen throughout the continent, the integration of the small peasantry as actors of development represents an important key to overcoming the extroverted and dualistic development within which African societies are engaged.

At a time of important technological changes in industrialized societies, particularly the emergence of an “information age”, the challenge of new models of development with new actors is essential if Africa is not to remain peripheral. The challenge of development is therefore not only topical but determinant for the very future of the continent.

A second major challenge is in relation to participatory democracy on the continent. Post-independence politics on the continent have been characterized by a strengthening of the state apparatus by successive governments and a concomitant control or elimination of all other spaces of counter-power, In favor of the ruling coalition. This dominance of the state, which does not facilitate local creativity and a strengthened associative life on the continent, constitutes a major challenge. The debate on participatory democracy, therefore, has to be deepened, in order to promote a system not only compatible with the African situation but one which protects the interest of the poorest in society — giving them a say in the direction of politics. This challenge, therefore, implies the development of an authentic African political philosophy which expresses the genuine aspiration to participation, in decision-making, among the population and rid Africa of a generation of dictatorial regimes. This challenge of participation is vital if human rights violations are to be eliminated: if the state apparatus is not to assimilate other spaces of power; briefly if a true and authentic development is to be attained.

A third major challenge facing Africa is with regard to the South African situation. This situation poses two particular preoccupations for Africa. The first and most obvious is the increased support of the liberation process against the apartheid regime. In the face of the mounting internal struggle for liberation the uninhibited solidarity of Africa continues to be essential — despite the crisis. This situation, however, personifies a second preoccupation for Africa. Namely, how to overcome the loss of identity and lack of confidence in one’s own being and history.

It is unthinkable that exactly 300 years after the ignoble “Code Noire”  (Black Code) on slavery was signed in France, a part of the black race continues to live under apartheid and the color of the skin continues to be an object of evil machinations. The consequences of this history of resistance, subjugation, and struggle of the African demands a new “Negritude” and “African Personality” of our times. One that is not content simply with rehabilitating the history, culture, and civilization of the African of yesterday, but one taking off from the concrete realities of today  (especially of the youth), and which is capable of inculcating within the African the consciousness of being subject of his/her own history. This new confidence, identity, and dignity which should avoid the temptation of Just looking nostalgically at the African past, is essential if solutions to problems are to be found from within oneself.

It is in this general situation, in which one situates the African Church and ICMICA that the Christian mission is to be exercised. The central core of this Christian mission is undoubtedly the proclamation of the Risen Christ and his Kingdom. This mission of word and deed implies announcing the Good News of Christ’s Resurrection and his Lordship in the Kingdom. This mission, therefore, demands an attitude of personal conversion to Christ as it demands the conversion of society to the values of this Kingdom where the little and the children have a privileged place. This mission is finally one of hope to mankind — not a fatalistic hope, but one that is deeply rooted in the struggle of daily life and the daily encounter with God’s compassion. Within the despair, crisis, and death found in Africa, the key vocation of the Church is to be a sign of this living hope!

This is aII the more important given the fact that due to the intensity of the crisis, religion is under question. This questioning is not so much of the existence of God in the midst of trouble, but rather, “Where is the resurrected Christ?”, Where is the resurrection in our lives?” The dynamic of growth of African Christianity should no blind one to the depth of this search and questioning. It is only In being untiring signs of hope that the Christian churches can witness to the presence of the Risen Christ in the history of his own people.

The local churches in Africa are to various degrees no doubt moving in this direction. Three fundamental temptations and challenges however confront them in living out this mission.

The first is the temptation of triumphalism. In the context of a spectacular increase in the number of Christians, rising vocations with overfilling seminaries, etc., a big temptation facing the Church Presently is that of being comfortable, savoring in complacence the posItIve statistics and hypothetically promising future. This temptation is not only serious given the need for vigilance and humility but considering the deteriorating context within which this increase is taking place. How does one reconcile the boom of African Christianity and the deterioration and impoverishment of the continent? It is within this question that the temptation to sin is most severe.

Secondly, there is the challenge to overcome a prevalent “missionary attitude”, to a zeal to live the Christian mission on the continent. This challenge of maturity means overcoming all the trappings and preoccupations linked to the era of the introduction of the faith,  and to look forward to taking up one’s responsibilities as Christians in the heart of the world. This means a wish to live through the risks and dangers the faith imposes and a capacity to deal with the conflicts of our times. To confront the challenges of development, democracy, and cultural emancipation with the rest of the people.

The third challenge which is at the heart of the technological debate on the continent is that of incarnation — the challenge of incarnation within African culture, and within the poverty and misery of the African. This challenge of incarnation is imperative if the African Church is to grow into maturity and assume its responsibility and mission. Unlike some schools of theological thought on the continent, it is important to see this incarnation not only within African culture but also within the appalling poverty on the continent. If Africa has most of the world’s poorest countries, she also has a sizeable proportion of the world’s poorest. It is within this “wretched of the earth” that the crucified face of Christ is seen and within which the incarnation of the  Christia message has to take place.

Within this context of challenges facing Africa and the Church, a movement like ICMICA has an important vocation. To be, in the midst of death, a service for the construction and preservation of life.

This concretely means a commitment to confront the challenges of development, participation, and dignity confronting the African. Through a witness in the professional work, a new intellectual commitment, and through service to the poor, particularly the peasantry, ICMICA will be an agent of hope and life. As a Church movement, this demands a capacity of working in full communion with the local Church, supporting and challenging her to confront the challenges of society and resist, if not overcome the temptation of triumphalism. These means do doubt also, a commitment to facilitate a synthesis of a dynamic African theology. One that integrates the dynamic potential of African cultures (past and present) as well as the excruciating experience of injustice and misery on the continent.

This involvement in the theological debate is essential if it is not simply to be a debate among professional theologians without the participation of grassroots Christians. Finally, with the holding of the African Synod in view, hopefully soon, a movement like ICMICA is called to participate fully in orienting the future of the African Church.

Problems and challenges of the laity in Africa today

The question of the laity is no doubt a central question for the universal Church. Some 20 years after Vatican II, not only has the world situation changed, but the Church itself has undergone some important transformations. The old questions posed during Vatican II regarding the lay dignity and mission are today being posed anew. What are the specificity of the lay mission in the world and their place in the Church today? What should be the specific place of the youth and women in the Church? What is the specific place of International Catholic Organisations especially vis-à vis the local Church? These are among the many questions confronting the coming Synod on Laity and that the People of God has to address.

The African Church has not.been an exception to this questioning going on regarding the laity. On the contrary, given the growth of the Christian population and the crisis being lived on the continent, additional problems face the Church concerning the laity. The problems relating to the laity in Africa are therefore numerous and only a few will be highlighted here.

A basic problem with noting is at the level of theological reflection. A lack of a deep theological reflection on the laity has promoted numerous misconceptions and confusion as to the place of the laity in the Church and their mission in the world. One such problem deals with the mandate of the laity and a reduction of the reflection on the laity to a simple opposition between clergy and laity. It is important to reflect deeper on the source and center of the Christian mandate, which comes from Christ himself. The entire Church, irrespective of the roles played by different individuals or groups, has been called by Christ and sent out by him to evangelize. The problem of the laity is therefore not first and foremost posed in terms of the relationship between clergy and laity (even if at other levels this relationship is worth evaluating) but rather, in terms of that essential baptismal charism and mandate of the Peoples of God, from Christ himself.

Another type of theological misconception is a false opposition made between the sacred and the profane, the Church and the world; with the clergy living in the aura of the sacred whilst the laity live in the profanity and evil of the world. This false dichotomy stems in part from a difficulty to accept that the Church is in itself not the place of salvation, but rather a sacrament of salvation present in the world and that the only profanity for Christians is the reality of sin. In any case, these dichotomies are fundamentally baseless since,in the exercise of their mission in the world, lay people are fully ecclesial. These various- misconceptions, held by clergy and laity alike, and expressed through concrete pastoral priorities are at the heart of numerous problems regarding the laity.

One of the most instructive symptoms of these pastoral problems is in relation to the reduction of the laity to sacramental consumerism within the parish dynamic. Subsequently, the regular participation of the laity in the sacramental life of the Church becomes the only criterion for Christian life. The organic link between sacramental life and the mission in the world is non-existent and this nurtures a laity that participates in Church life not as subjects but somewhat as shoppers in the ecclesial supermarket.

Another particularly thorny problem regarding the laity is in terms of formation. This is particularly urgent in a Church that is growing very fast. There is an enormous weakness in the channels for an on-going formation in the bible, the social teachings the Church,etc., after the initial catechism. This need for a basic on-going lay formation constitutes a vital weakness within the African Church. If not rectified especially among the youth, this weakness could compromise the very future of the Church.

The African Church is essentially made up of young people below the age of 25 years. The importance of this youth population within the Church reflects the population projections of Africa itself whereby from now till the year 2000, 65% of the population will be under the age of 25 years. The problem of the action of this youth, their full integration, and participation within the Church, their orientation to confront and transform the harsh realities of society constitutes a major challenge for the African Church. The Church cannot afford to lose this youth! However, it is precisely this danger that is evident in the incapacity of some local churches to invest in forming, integrating, and organizing the youth apostolate.

Mention has been made earlier of the temptation of complacency that the African Church faces. One of the important reasons for this is undoubtedly the increase in vocations. This growth in vocations to full-time ministry is undoubtedly a grace for which the African Church must be thankful. This very positive development has however further encouraged certain thinking whereby because there are increasing numbers of priests and religious available, the active lay presence in Church life is not needed. This thinking is unfortunate since it presupposes that the lay apostolate exists because of a lack of priests or religious. This thinking, coupled with a generally low, if not unjust wages for Church lay workers has impeded full-time participation of lay people in the Church. It is important to note that by virtue of their baptism and calling, laypeople have an active role to play within the Church. The exercise of these roles does not depend on the availability or not of priests, but on the special charism given to them by the Holy Spirit. The problems in regard to the laity do not only cancer the importance of promotion of the lay apostolate but also the very conception of the lay apostolate. In this respect, there has been a tendency to think of the laity as an appendage of the clergy and consequently, there is a danger of serialization of the laity. This situation is best illustrated where talk of the lay apostolate has been equated to the creation of married deacons. This danger is real and must once again provoke a deeper reflection on the sense of the lay vocation.

This panorama of problems, present to varying degrees in different countries illustrates clearly the importance of the lay question in the African Church. The future of the Church and to a certain degree, that of the continent, could be influenced by the answers that are given to this question.

That said, a series of challenges face the African Church in relation to the laity. The first one is no doubt at the level of theological reflection on the lay apostolate. Apart from other things, this reflection must deepen the theology of baptism in which all Christians are called as a chosen race, to the royal priesthood of Christ. Linked with this is the need for an authentic reflection on ministries in the Church. Inspired by reflection on the gifts with which the Holy Spirit fills the Church, appropriate ministries within the unity of faith must be developed so that the laity participates fully in the inner life of the Church. The progress that has been made through basic Christian communities as well as pastoral councils, therefore, needs to be furthered.

These ministries in the Church must not be considered as power, but rather in terms of service. Subsequently in developing these ministries, traditional cultural models and figures have been recuperated to designate different roles. Whereas this is welcome, attention must be paid not to reproduce new forms of clericalism as one can see in some countries. Traditional figures chosen must not be models of power but rather of service. Whilst inculturation in African culture is perfectly welcome, and indeed Imperative, one must realize that this culture is also evangelized by the example of Christ — religious or ethical models of power are confronted and evangelized by Christ’s example of humble service. This broad theological challenge is intrinsically linked to that of formation.

Another challenge concerns how the African laity is to move from sacramental consumerism to full responsibility in the mission of the Church. Though a question for the entire Church, it is first and foremost directed at the laity. The laity should feel full responsibility for the Church’s mission, and structures and channels must be created to facilitate this move from mere spectators to actors of evangelization. There is no doubt that the pastoral priority of basic Christian communities remains the most feasible means for the laity to incarnate Christ in their lives as a community.

These communities, which are slowly growing on the continent, would ensure that the laity takes up their responsibility in their daily struggles. It is in this context of a renewed consciousness of the lay responsibility that the challenge of laity and politics is posed. For a long time promotion of the lay apostolate in Africa has been seen in terms of multiplying pious or social activities for the laity within the Church. Whilst these are no doubt useful, it must be stressed that the fundamental mission of the laity is in the world. The laity, like the Church as a whole, does not only have a mission but is called to be mission itself. Whilst the efforts to seek greater participation within the institutional Church is legitimate, it is the mission in the world that must be the central focus of the laity’s involvement, and indeed that of the entire Church. In the context of the crisis in Africa, the taking up of this particular responsibility is urgent if the laity is to partIcIpate concretely in the prophetic function of Christ.

It is evident that the Gospels do not prescribe one particular political program. Despite the plurality of concrete political options that may exist, the laity is nevertheless called to defend the dignity of man, to work for solidarity, to bear the anxieties of the poor, and to defend life in all its forms. The dichotomy between faith and politics is sometimes a measure of the degree of responsibility the Church and her laity are ready to take in order to be light of the world. For these to be concretely realized, there is no doubt that lay movements must be given increased pastoral priority by the focal churches. The tendency of giving importance only to large pastorals has to be equilibrated by increased support for lay movements. Given the limitation of both the mass and the small group dynamics, these two options are not to be seen separately but in complementarity with each other.

Spirituality and the cultural heritage of Africa

One of the most devastating blows to Africa has been the gradual loss of the collective memory of its civilization. This loss of collective memory, provoked by the traumatic changes the continent has undergone and buttressed by the very nature of the African civilizations on the eve of colonial expansion. has led to the loss of the richness of the African cultural and spiritual itinerary. (One mentions cultural and spiritual in the same breath because both were too intimately intertwined to be separated). Traditional means of accumulation and transmission of knowledge and culture, have largely not withstood the traumatic changes the contact with the Christian West and the Moslem north provoked.

There is no doubt that this rich cultural heritage of the African has a lot to offer today’s Christians. The models of spirituality proposed to the African, have very often not been incarnated in their experiences and reality. Therefore, the theological and pastoral task of inculturation is fundamental if the African is to discover Jesus Christ from within his experience of life. In this respect, a number of themes from the African cultural heritage should have a direct bearing on the type of spirituality developed on the continent. One would mention only three of them.

The first peculiarity of African traditional culture is the complete integration between religion and culture in daily life. The problem of the dichotomy between religion and life was non-existent specifically because religion impregnated every aspect of the life of the African. Daily life was therefore saturated with religious gestures, symbols, and beliefs. Even forms of artistic expression were integrated into the religious world vision. So that until recently. Africa did not have art for art’s sake; art was integrated fully into a socio-religious function. This integration of faith and life is certainly an important theme in the development of African Christian spirituality. and would overcome the phenomenon of the Sunday Christian.

A second central theme is that of solidarity. This solidarity manifested through the extended family system, through the importance given to hospitality to the strange and so on, is consistent with the Christian understanding of love. It is important to note that this solidarity was not considered as mere charity but rather implied sharing, and a consequent social organization.

Another important heritage is the sense of integration within one cosmic whole. From birth to death, the man was linked to God through the network of ancestors, the chief, the earth, and the rest of God’s creation. There is a sense of belonging to a cosmic whole of interdependent relationships and a spiritual and natural equilibrium. The force running through and linking this cosmic world is God’s gift of life. How many names of people do not express this thanksgiving or praise of God for the gift of life? All this is certainly relevant given the suppression of life and the imbalances in Africa today. For instance, the level of ecological destruction in African is appalling. So that since the beginning of the century, the Ivory Coast alone has lost eighty percent of its forest in the name of development. The brutal violations of human rights on the continent illustrate the level of cosmic imbalance and the distortion of the vital force of life. This cultural value of a cosmic whole of interdependence has something to teach one on the depth of the spiritual experience.

No doubt, one could also mention the important themes like the central role of ancestors, the community or social nature of the African civilization, etc. What is important to underline though is that this cultural heritage still has a lot to teach today’s Christians.

Having said that, it is important to note the limitations of recuperating this rich cultural heritage. One of the persistent dangers of inculturation is the nostalgic return to the past without taking into due consideration the important changes that have taken place and the new culture that is emerging; not only in the urban areas but also among the rural dwellers. These changes, particularly the development of a specific urban culture influenced by tradition, existential preoccupations, and western culture, mean that inculturation cannot simply take off from a partially existent traditional culture.

Another limit is the inherent contradictions within the African cultural heritage. As mentioned earlier, the process of inculturation not only demands incarnation into the local culture but the capacity of the Gospel’s values to confront elements of the host culture. This, which demands discernment, is particularly important if the Church is not to reproduce dominating models, instead of liberating ones.

The concrete conditions of the African youth constitute another major limitation. This multitude of youth has not experienced colonialism. Born after independence, they are the “children of dashed hopes and crisis”. With the weakness of traditional channels of transmission of the culture, the imbalances of an ailing educational system, as well as the harsh realities of the informal sector of the economy where the youth try to escape unemployment, the African youth (particularly those in the urban areas)  have a very specific cultural reference with little influence from traditional culture. The values of solidarity, the importance of the extended family system, the respect for elders, the link with the ancestors, etc.. have all undergone many changes. An emerging African spirituality and theology must, therefore, take this situation into consideration; particularly the new culture and spiritual creativity emanating from the struggles of the people in the slums, in the harsh informal sector, among the peasantry and among the “children of the crisis”. However, despite the limitations expressed above, it is an urgent task for the Church not only to develop a spirituality that is based partly on traditional African culture but also to be a channel of transmission of relevant aspects of African culture. The African Church would then not only be assuring a relevant spirituality for its members but would also be contributing to strengthening the collective memory of the continent and the development of a new African dignity and consciousness.

In the light of all that has been said, and considering the African context, a unifying theme around which an African spirituality could be developed is that of LIFE. In the face of poverty, misery, and death, the theme of life unites the values of African heritage, the emerging culture of struggle with the finality of the Christian message — which promises life in abundance. This spirituality of life, which is consistent with a global vision, would not be content with resistance in the face of death and despair but would generate a committed involvement for the transformation of the world. Whereby the presence of the God of life, will be found in the harsh realities of the world. Finally, this African spirituality should essentially propose an authentic lay spirituality. One that is based on African culture (present and past) and that deals with the peculiar conditions of the lay state (marriage, work, child-rearing, etc.).

Models of professionals and intellectuals needed in Africa today

To speak about the models of professionals and intellectuals needed on the continent now is to admit that there is a problem with the present models. There is no doubt that this difficulty is linked with the crisis of the African university and of that so-called, modern sector of African society. The African universities, set up over the past four decades as agents of developments and producers of skilled manpower, today find themselves reflecting the crisis of the society. Not only is graduate unemployment and under-employment rampant, but the university has not been able to be that dynamic agent of rapid development. On the contrary, it has contributed in many ways to the dualistic nature of African development. The lack of integration with rural development, the alienated content, and orientation of formation, the clampdown of the State on the university when it seeks to play its role as a space of social critique, and so on, have led to the production of graduates and professionals ill-oriented and badly prepared to meet the challenges of development, especially in the rural areas.

Since independence, there has been a gradual proletarianization of the African graduate. With the university producing less and less of an intellectual global culture and increasingly, only providing specific technical skills, the very critical intellectual vocation of graduates is often compromised. This situation is further enhanced by the “pressures of the world” — pressures from the extended family system, from one’s immediate family, professional demands, and so on. Therefore, it is not strange to have university-trained professionals having regular employment but with second jobs in commerce, farming, etc. The intensity of this pressure on the young professional very often kills the student’s idealism and leads to apathy. The result is that relatively very few of the African intelligentsia are committed in a professionally significant manner to the development of alternatives to the impasse on the continent. Furthermore, even the committed professionals involved in concrete alternative projects or research, are often faced with all sorts of state constraints, ranging from the lack of funds for research to a simple state clampdown on any critical intellectual thinking. The constraints to creating other models of professional involvement other than that of apathy and individualism are definitely not negligible. It is important to recall that this commitment of intellectuals is not alien to the continent. The pre-independence era in many countries was marked by a commitment of intellectuals to work for independence. The contributions of the intelligentsia during this period was important not only in terms of the anti-colonial struggle but through the elaboration of a new project and vision for the African, for instance, through the Negritude movement. The post-independence era has witnessed not only a fragmentation of intellectual involvement on the continent, but also a demystification of the role and importance of intellectuals by the general population; to the point where the word intellectual in some countries, is charged with negative notions like snobbism, incapacity to resolve local problems, and so on. The emergence of new types of leadership, mainly military and often scornful of the intelligentsia they have overthrown, has not helped the situation.

There is no doubt that there is the need today for a new form of intellectual or professional commitment; one that is based on an alternative project for society, with the poor, especially the peasantry, as actors. This intellectual commitment must be seen first of all as a new attitude towards society. One that goes beyond elitist expectations and snobbery of professionals, to an attitude of comradeship with the uneducated population. This new intellectual involvement also means a real commitment and desire to go beyond the pressures and constraints alive in society in order to make clear options. This commitment is also a service specially to the rural areas, cut off from the university and exploited by the dominating urban dynamic. Despite the different conditions in the rural areas, how can intellectuals and indeed the university be relevant to their situation?

Finally, this commitment implies a new intellectual zeal that is not used for elitist ends but rather based on contact with the people. Consequently, one that is able to reflect, systematize, and articulate a new vision for society and concrete alternatives to the real problems affecting our peoples. Given the level of dependency, especially technological, there is no doubt that an important priority of work is the development of new and simple alternatives. This is a challenge for all domains of scholarship. In their rejection of all forms of intellectual elitism and the model of armchair intellectuals, some committed professionals have moved to the other extreme and succumbed to a certain “basism” and rejection of his/her intellectual vocation as a means of professional commitment. All that matters for them is the concrete involvement in the struggles of the poor. It is important that this basic be overcome in order to have professionals devote time and energy in the intellectual domain to find alternatives to the impasse of society. The only condition to the intellectual involvement is that it is deeply rooted in the concrete realities and aspirations of the poor.

All these issues that have been addressed certainly pose challenges to the ICMICA in Africa. As a movement of professionals, ICMICA is called also to a new intellectual commitment. This first and foremost means ICMICA is to continue to play the vital role of continuity from student life to professional commitment.

This role of ICMICA is particularly important in Africa where the university still plays a certain critical role in society and therefore the student movement, despite its contradictions and limitations, is able to articulate the people’s aspirations. The frequency of closures of African universities illustrates the relative dynamism of the student movement in Africa. However, with the pressures of society, student idealism easily turns to co-option, once students graduate.

In this respect, the role of ICMICA as a space for continuity and support of these graduates is vital. This supporting role is also inevitable if one is to make options for working in rural areas. Furthermore, given the development and increasing commitment of student movements like the IMCS and the YCS, ICMICA’s role of continuity is equally vital at the ecclesial level; by ensuring a space for a continual and lifelong conversion, formation and involvement. Indeed, given the present ecclesial context, the close collaboration of these three movements will be of particular relevance to the Church.

Finally, for Christian professionals in Africa, this new intellectual commitment demands a deepened spirituality of life. A spirituality lived in a daily routine of professional life, family responsibilities, and social pressures. A spirituality of life that is capable of developing professionals who are mystics and militants at the same time — reconciling an attitude of contemplation within their prophetic involvement and work to bring hope to a continent in crisis.

*       *       *

Claude Akpokavie (Ghana) served on the International Team of IMCS-Pax Romana from 1982 – 1986.

Originally published in Pax Romana, Mémoire et Espérance, Memory and Hope, Memoria y Esperanza: 1947-1987 : Pax Romana MIIC-ICMICA. (Geneva: Secrétariat général Pax Romana, 1987).