Southern African Bishops’ Offices Lauded for Efforts to Link Faith with Culture

Bishop Sithembele Sipuka, SACBC President. Credit: SACBC

The Department for Christian Formation and the Theological Advisory Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) have been lauded for their efforts to link the people’s culture to faith.

In his address during the opening of the eight-day January plenary session that started Tuesday, January 23, the president of SACBC said the efforts by the department and the commission are necessary for the inculturation process that he said had been paused for over three decades.

“I wish to appreciate the Department of Christian Formation’s constant efforts to link faith and culture through liturgical translation, healing, and exorcism workshops and research,” Bishop Sithembele Sipuka said at the ongoing event being held at St. John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria Archdiocese.

He added, “These are excellent efforts towards the inculturation of the faith, which has been paused since the 1990s.”

The Local Ordinary of Mthatha Diocese in South Africa acknowledged the existence of several researched writings both for master's and doctoral degrees by Catholics on the best way to link culture and faith.


He said that the SACBC Department for Christian Formation and the theological commission would review the researched writings “to see how they may help advance the task of contextualizing and enculturating the faith.”

Addressing what he referred to as insufficient formation of priests in catechesis, Bishop Sipuka said that priests need to be involved in teaching catechism and not just encouraging and supporting it.

“Priests need to be trained in the pedagogy of teaching catechism so that they, in turn, can train catechists,” said the Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Mthatha Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration in May 2008.

The 63-year-old Catholic Bishop said that teaching catechism in the contemporary world should go beyond just drilling children on the number of commandments and sacraments.

In his address, Bishop Sipuka expressed concern that South Africa’s economy and social order is showing “a downward trend”.

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On the country’s forthcoming elections, Bishop Sipuka expressed his reservations about the country’s 356 registered political parties, noting that the number was too high.

 “The good thing about this abundance of political parties is that it affirms and confirms the vibrancy of democracy,” he said, and added, “The question that arises is how many of these parties are different from each other in terms of their vision.”

He expressed his fears that the high number of parties may lead to a coalition government which he said has never worked effectively at the local level.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.