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Document Details :
Title: Implemeting the Pastoral Dimension of Amoris Laetitia in the African Church
Author(s): MAGESA, Laurenti
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 28 Issue: 1 Date: 2022
The article explores the reception of Amoris Laetitia in Africa by looking at the challenges of inculturating the church’s theology of marriage in the African context. There has been little or no genuine dialogue on how relevant African cultural forms and practices can be incorporated into ecclesiastical understanding and law. Amoris Laetitia opens the door to such dialogue; however, there has not been much debate concerning the document in the African church, and few new pastoral approaches have emerged. The author first gives an overview of the promulgation of the document and the initial, heated reaction it received in some quarters. He then turns to the situation in Africa. Here, there are several issues that are ripe for consideration under its perspective. The author focuses on the issue of polygamy. No aspect of African culture has been so criticized by Christian missionaries as polygamy, and yet, it remains a valued practice in many parts of the continent. The seductive power of Western culture is putting pressure on the practice, and many inhabit a reality where old and new values are in conflict. Unless the church plays a role in helping to resolve this, it risks being perceived as a merely western institution. Amoris Laetitia can help develop an attitude of authentic discernment in the face of traditional practices. The church should be open to a diversity of practices in different cultural contexts that all witness to the beauty of marriage. Polygamy should not be rejected out of hand but rather may be able to be accepted in some way. Amoris Laetitia provides an outlook and resources, the author argues, that can help African Christians reconcile the value found in polygamous relationships with the call of the gospel. This can then promote the development of a genuinely African Christian theology of marriage.