Towards an African Theology of Reconciliation: A Missiological Reflection on the Instrumentum Laboris of the Second African Synod



This essay is a critical theological and pastoral study of the Working Document of the Second African Synod. The article engages the articles in the document which deal with the theme of reconciliation. This essay begins by exploring the Christological and ecclesiological foundations for an African theology of reconciliation as found in the working document. While engaging the significant aspects of the working document which relate to articulating an African theology of reconciliation, this essay shows the limitations of the document in its historical and cultural analysis of the situation in Africa. Drawing from a phenomenological hermeneutical engagement with African history, cultural grammar, and Christ-centered African Christian imagination, the essay widens the scope of theological engagement with the task of reconciliation in Africa. It does a theological aesthetics of reconciliation in Africa, by integrating diverse cultural, ontological, and Christological symbols within the African world on vital participation and vital union. Through the inculturation of vital participation as analogous to Trinitarian Communion, the essay shows how the Church in Africa can deal with the ever-revolving cycle of violence, conflicts, and divisions in the churches and political institutions which have all hampered the mission of building relationship and God's kingdom in Africa. The essay concludes by recommending four pastoral approaches through which the Catholic Church in Africa can be both a reconciled community and an instrument for reconciliation in Africa.