“Church is only against what is bad in our culture,” Catholic Priest in Nigeria Says

Fr. Albert Ikpenwa, Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary (BMS) in Nigeria's Enugu Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Catholic Church is not against the good aspects of cultures in Africa, a Catholic Priest ministering in Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese has said.

The Rector of Bigard Memorial Seminary (BMS) who was speaking to journalists on Thursday, November 25 ahead of the institution’s cultural festival highlighted some of the practices that the Catholic Church stands against and condemns. 

“The Church is only against what is bad in our culture such as idol worshiping, human sacrifices and other harmful traditional practices,” Fr. Albert Ikpenwa told journalists at the Enugu-based Catholic institution.

He added, “Christianity started with Israel (Jews), then, to Rome. Roman culture accepted the church and transformed their culture by removing everything that is bad in it.”  

Similarly, in Africa, the coming of Christianity meant to have African cultures transformed “but people misunderstood it, thinking it came to do away with (them),” the Nigerian Priest further noted.


“It is not only in Africa that we have evil cultures. Romans have a culture whereby people were being sacrificed to their idols and gods but when Christianity came, they stopped it,” Fr. Ikpenwa went on to say.

The Catholic Priest who was speaking ahead of the BMS Cultural festival scheduled to kick off Friday, November 26 added that by practicing cultures that have been transformed by Gospel values, Christians become “our brother’s keeper, protecting one another and ensuring sacredness of lives as well as respect for elders.”

The three-day cultural festival is expected to showcase the cultural heritage of different communities in Nigeria through drama, dance and proverbs that depict the different cultures in the West African nation.

Fr. Ikpenwa went on to highlight the importance of the cultural festival to future Priests saying at the Seminary, “we train Catholic Priests and if they understand the culture of the people they are posted to, they would teach them good aspects of our culture.”

It is important for the future Priests to embrace positive aspects of different cultures as the message of Christ takes root in all traditions, he said.

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He explained, “The Church transforms culture by making the Gospel of Christ rooted in it and that is why we are organizing cultural activities to tell our people that we are not against it,” said the Rector of the Seminary in Nigeria’s Enugu Diocese.

Fr. Ikpenwa regretted that a section of youth in Africa have abandoned good African traditions under the influence of western cultures. He challenged young people in Africa to uphold positive African values.

“We expect the youths to come and to experience our attitude to culture on November 26,” Fr. Ikpenwa told journalists in Enugu during the November 25 press conference.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.