Catholic Church in Africa is Booming, But Faces ‘Big Challenges,’ Says Continent’s Newest Cardinal

(National Catholic Register. Jonathan Liedl).

One of Africa’s newest cardinals affirmed that the people of his continent will play a leading role in the future of Catholicism, but also acknowledged that the Church in Africa faces serious challenges amid its boom. Citing the incredible growth in the Church in Africa, which has 250 million more adherents today than 125 years ago and is projected to be home to one out of every three Catholics in the world by 2050, Cardinal Protase Rugambwa told the Register that it is “true” that “the future of the Church is in Africa.” “What is the Church, after all?” asked the leader of the Archdiocese of Tabora, Tanzania. “We are talking about the presence of the people; the believers, the adherents, the followers. In Africa, there is no question that if you count those who have been baptized, with each succeeding day the numbers are increasing.” At the same time, Cardinal Rugambwa said that the Church in Africa is confronted by “big challenges,” such as obstacles to forming quality priests to serve its people, the rise of Christian sectarianism, as well as ideological pressures from outside. “We have different theories, different ideas coming, different ideologies,” said the former secretary of the Vatican’s evangelization office, specifically referencing gender ideology. “So we have to get prepared.”

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