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Solemn Communion

A Critical Examination of the Current Practices Surrounding the Completion of Christian Initiation in Masaka Diocese (Uganda, East Africa)

by Godfrey Katumba (Author)
Thesis 406 Pages

Summary

This study examines how the process of Christian initiation is catechetically and pastorally practised currently in the Catholic Diocese of Masaka, Uganda. It integrates the author’s pastoral experience in the Diocese with relevant literature in order to examine Solemn Communion. It argues that the catechetical course known as Mugigi, which the missionary White Fathers mostly originally hailing from France introduced into the area of present-day Masaka Diocese circa 1906 and became correlated with the reception of Solemn Communion, would benefit from the indigenous education in the Buganda kingdom, not to mention the Bugandan traditional religious worldview. It concludes that such cultural elements would not only profit the inculturation process but would also inform the concept of Christian initiation.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Dedication Page
  • Abstract
  • Acknowledgements
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • Abbreviations
  • General Introduction
  • Preamble
  • Rationale for the Thesis
  • Originality of the Thesis
  • Methodology and Sources
  • Structure of the Thesis
  • 1 Solemn Communion in France
  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 1.1 Setting the Context
  • 1.1.1 The Council of Trent as an Advocate for the Education of Church Members
  • 1.1.2 The Council of Trent as a Promoter of Religious Instruction
  • 1.2 Tracing the Development of Solemn Communion in France before the 1910 Decree Quam Singulari
  • 1.2.1 The Emergence of First Communion Rituals in the Church
  • 1.2.1.1 Remote Factors before the Council of Trent
  • 1.2.1.2 Proximate Factors after the Council of Trent
  • 1.2.2 Group First Communion
  • 1.2.2.1 Reception and Assimilation of the Ritual into the French Church
  • 1.2.2.2 Aim and Characteristics of the French Ritual
  • 1.2.3 The Correlation between Catechetical Instruction and Reception of the Sacraments during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
  • 1.2.3.1 Two Models of Christian Formation: Pedagogical versus Sacramental
  • 1.2.3.2 The Correlation of Catechetical Instruction with the Reception of Confirmation
  • 1.2.3.3 The Correlation of Catechetical Instruction with the Reception of First Communion
  • 1.2.4 Further Modifications in the French First Communion Ritual from the Eighteenth Century onwards
  • 1.2.5 Were the Two Terms, ‘First Communion’ and ‘Solemn Communion’ Used Interchangeably before the 1910 Decree Quam Singulari?
  • 1.3 Solemn Communion in France after the 1910 Decree Quam Singulari
  • 1.3.1 The 1910 Decree Quam Singulari
  • 1.3.2 Precise Distinction between First Communion and Solemn Communion
  • 1.3.3 Crucial Changes with Respect to Solemn Communion
  • 1.4 Conclusion
  • 2 Solemn Communion in Masaka Diocese
  • 2.0 Introduction
  • 2.1 Setting the Context: Masaka Diocese
  • 2.2 A Discussion of Selected Terminologies Used in the Course Leading to Solemn Communion
  • 2.2.1 Mugigi
  • 2.2.2 Komunio ey’ekitiibwa
  • 2.2.3 Okuddamu endagaano za Batismu
  • 2.3 An Examination of the Specified Enrolment Requirements for Mugigi
  • 2.3.1 Age
  • 2.3.2 Class at Primary School Level
  • 2.3.3 Prior Reception of Specific Sacraments: Baptism, Penance, First Communion and Confirmation
  • 2.4 Duration of the Mugigi Course
  • 2.5 Animators of the Mugigi Course
  • 2.5.1 Religious Education Advisor
  • 2.5.2 Father-in-Charge of Schools
  • 2.5.3 Religious Sisters and Brothers
  • 2.5.4 Catechists
  • 2.5.5 School Teachers
  • 2.6 Basic Materials Taught during the Mugigi Course
  • 2.6.1 The Mugigi Syllabus
  • 2.6.2 Commonly Used Text Books in the Mugigi Course
  • 2.7 Activities to Be Done during and upon Completing the Mugigi Course
  • 2.7.1 Examinations
  • 2.7.2 Administration of Some Sacraments before the Day of Solemn Communion
  • 2.7.3 The Day of Solemn Communion
  • 2.7.3.1 Mass on the Day of Solemn Communion
  • 2.7.3.2 The Special Rite during Mass on the Day of Solemn Communion (SRSCMD)
  • 2.7.4 Registrations and Certificates
  • 2.7.5 Celebrations in Individual Families
  • 2.8 Conclusion
  • 3 Indigenous Education in Buganda Kingdom before the Arrival of the Missionaries and the Colonizers: Curriculum, Creators and Maintainers
  • 3.0 Introduction
  • 3.1 Setting the Context: A Discussion of Three Selected Notions
  • 3.1.1 African Traditional Religion (ATR) with Particular Attention to the Bugandan Context
  • 3.1.1.1 Defining Religion
  • 3.1.1.2 What Is ATR?
  • 3.1.1.3 The Worldview of ATR
  • 3.1.1.4 The Bugandan Traditional Religious Worldview (BTRW)
  • 3.1.1.4.1 Spiritual World Beings
  • 3.1.1.4.2 Material World Beings
  • 3.1.2 The Concept of Culture
  • 3.1.2.1 Culture: Its Complexity and Some Attempts at Defining It
  • 3.1.2.2 Differentiating between Culture, Tradition and Custom
  • 3.1.2.3 Culture and Religion
  • 3.1.2.4 Culture and the Physical Environment
  • 3.1.2.5 Culture and Colonialism
  • 3.1.2.6 Culture and Education
  • 3.1.3 Formal versus Informal Educational Approaches
  • 3.1.3.1 Differentiating between Informal Education, Nonformal Education and Formal Education
  • 3.1.3.2 Nonformal Education: Has the Term Retained the Attention of Scholarship?
  • 3.1.3.3 Critique of the Formal–Informal Dichotomy
  • 3.1.3.4 Problems and Confusion Relating to the Use of the Term Nonformal Education
  • 3.1.3.5 Did All the Three Types of Education Exist in Preliterate Societies?
  • 3.2 Indigenous Education in Buganda Kingdom before the Arrival of the Missionaries and the Colonizers
  • 3.2.1 Curriculum of African Indigenous Education
  • 3.2.1.1 Environment
  • 3.2.1.2 Cooperation
  • 3.2.1.3 Belonging to a Group
  • 3.2.1.4 Discipline
  • 3.2.1.5 Culture
  • 3.2.1.6 Skills
  • 3.2.1.7 Leadership
  • 3.2.1.8 Religion, Medical Knowledge and Practice
  • 3.2.1.9 Desirable Behaviour or Good Manners
  • 3.3 Creators and Maintainers of the Curriculum of the Indigenous Education
  • 3.3.1 The Chiefs
  • 3.3.2 The Parents
  • 3.3.3 The Community
  • 3.3.4 The Specialized Instructors
  • 3.4 Conclusion
  • 4 Relationship between Indigenous Education and the Baganda’s Rites of Passage
  • 4.0 Introduction
  • 4.1 Setting the Context
  • 4.2 Birth and Name-Giving: A Rite of Passage for Babies/Children
  • 4.2.1 Rituals Pertaining to Birth of a Single Child
  • 4.2.2 Rituals Relating to Birth of Twins
  • 4.2.3 Child (ren) Name-Giving Ceremony
  • 4.2.3.1 Name-Giving Ceremony for Twins
  • 4.2.3.2 Name-Giving Ceremony for a Single Birth Child
  • 4.3 Initiation: A Rite of Passage for Teenagers
  • 4.3.1 The Absence of Special Initiation Rites for Boys among the Baganda: Is There an Impact on the ‘SRSCMD’?
  • 4.3.2 Initiation Rites for Girls among the Baganda: The Taboos Surrounding Them
  • 4.3.2.1 Taboos Surrounding Initiation Rites for Girls among the Baganda and the ‘SRSCMD’
  • 4.3.2.2 Linkage between Menarche and Marriage
  • 4.3.3 Indigenous Education during Initiation: Both Girls and Boys as Beneficiaries
  • 4.4 Marriage: A Rite of Passage for Adults
  • 4.4.1 Education before and during Marriage
  • 4.4.2 Parental Involvement
  • 4.5 Death: A Rite of Passage for All
  • 4.5.1 The Last Funeral Rites Ceremony: The Clan Members’ Opportunity to Meet
  • 4.5.2 The Last Funeral Rites Ceremony: An Educational Opportunity for All
  • 4.5.3 How Does the Last Funeral Rites Ceremony Today Relate to the Mugigi Programme and the Name-Giving Ceremony for Children?
  • 4.6 Installation and Coronation of the King of Buganda: A Rite of Passage for Kabaka [King]
  • 4.6.1 Grief during the Period between the Death of the King of Buganda and the Installation or the Coronation of His Successor
  • 4.6.2 How Could the Rare Ceremonies of the Installation and the Coronation of the King of Buganda be used to Help Educate the New King and His Subjects?
  • 4.7 Conclusion
  • 5 The Attitude of the Early Catholic Missionaries to the Culture of the Baganda and the Introduction of Western Education in Buganda
  • 5.0 Introduction
  • 5.1 Early Catholic Missionaries and African Cultures
  • 5.1.1 Cardinal Charles Lavigerie’s Instructions about Learning the Indigenous Languages of Africa
  • 5.1.2 Bishop Daniel Comboni’s Insistence on Learning the African Culture: How It Impacts on the Apostolate of the White Fathers
  • 5.2 Assessment of the Experience of the White Fathers Missionaries in Africa during the First Fourteen Years of Their Presence (1878–1892)
  • 5.3 Catechesis before the Creation of the Mugigi Course circa 1906
  • 5.4 The Gap between the Mugigi Programme and the Pre-Existing Indigenous Education
  • 5.5 How the Practice of Solemn Communion Came to the Baganda
  • 5.6 Introduction of Western Education in Buganda by the Missionaries879
  • 5.6.1 White Fathers Missionaries as Pioneers of Western Education in Uganda
  • 5.6.2 Deferred Collaboration in Education between the Missionaries and the Colonizers
  • 5.6.3 From Indigenous to Western Education: A Shift in the Curriculum
  • 5.6.3.1 Change in Place (s) Where Instruction Took Place
  • 5.6.3.2 Change in Subjects and Methods of Teaching
  • 5.6.3.3 Reaction of the Parents
  • 5.6.4 Reduced Parental Involvement in Indigenous Education Activities?
  • 5.7 Conclusion
  • 6 The Emergence of the Theology of Inculturation in Africa: Perspective of Selected Theologian on African Theology and the Theology of Inculturation’s Impact on Masaka Diocesan Synods
  • 6.0 Introduction
  • 6.1 Factors that Facilitated the Emergence and Consolidation of the Theology of Inculturation in Africa
  • 6.1.1 Vatican II on Culture
  • 6.1.2 Attainment of Independence by African Countries in the 1960s
  • 6.1.3 Pope Paul VI’s 1969 Address to the Bishops of Africa, Kampala: ‘Adaptation of the Gospel and of the Church to African Culture’
  • 6.1.4 Process Leading to the Founding of the Pontifical Council for Culture
  • 6.1.5 The 1997 General Directory for Catechesis: Synthesis of Earlier Magisterial Teachings on Evangelization and Catechesis
  • 6.2 A Note on the Concept of Inculturation
  • 6.2.1 The Bible as an Inculturated Text
  • 6.2.2 Incarnation, Cross-and-Resurrection and Pentecost
  • 6.2.3 The Historical Development of Christianity
  • 6.2.4 The Indigenization Championed by African Independent Churches
  • 6.2.5 The Problem of Dualism
  • 6.2.6 A Comment on Arguments Grounded in Culture
  • 6.3 Inculturation from the Perspective of a Selected Theologian: Aylward Shorter
  • 6.3.1 The Relevance of Adding Cultural Themes to a Syllabus of a Catechetical Programme
  • 6.3.1.1 The ‘223 Religious Education Syllabus’: How ATR Is a Factor in the Lives of Students
  • 6.3.1.2 The ‘223 Religious Education Syllabus’: How the ‘Revolution’ to Incorporate ATR into the Syllabus Can Be Seen as Theological
  • 6.4 The Impact of Inculturation on Two Masaka Diocesan Synods: 1981 and 1986
  • 6.4.1 The 1981 Synod: A Tentative Start
  • 6.4.2 The 1986 Synod: A Consolidation Point
  • 6.4.3 Analysis of Some Comparisons Made by the 1986 Synod in the Context of the BTRW
  • 6.4.3.1 The Rule of Kabaka (King) and the Concept of God, King of the Universe
  • 6.4.3.2 The Role of Namasole (King’s Mother) and that of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 6.4.3.3 Obuko: Avoiding Sin and Scandal
  • 6.4.3.4 The Traditional Children Name-Giving Ceremony and the Sacrament of Baptism
  • 6.4.3.5 The Installation of the Heir (Omusika) during the Last Funeral Rites Ceremony and Education on Succession in Church Leadership and about the Resurrection
  • 6.4.3.6 The Clan System and the Church as a Clan of Christians
  • 6.4.3.7 Emizimu (Spirits of the Dead) and the Immortality of the Soul
  • 6.4.3.8 Ensiriba (Amulets) and the Use of Sacramentals
  • 6.5 Conclusion
  • 7 Envisioning and Pursuing a More Bugandanized Christian Initiation: Critiquing and Enriching the Mugigi Programme
  • 7.0 Introduction
  • 7.1 Comparison between Christian Initiation in Cijiba (DRC) and the Mugigi Programme
  • 7.1.1 Reclusion
  • 7.1.2 Ascetism
  • 7.1.3 Religious Instruction
  • 7.1.4 Rites
  • 7.2 Critique of the SRSCMD
  • 7.2.1 Suggestions for a Potential Inculturation of the SRSCMD Based on the BTRW
  • 7.2.2 Renewal of Baptismal Promises or Solemn Communion?
  • 7.3 The Ambiguous Relationship of the SRSCMD to the Catholic Theology of Sacramental Initiation
  • 7.3.1 A Comparison of the Renewal of Baptismal Promises Introduced into the Confirmation Rite by Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Promises of the SRSCMD
  • 7.3.2 How Solemn Communion Relates to the Notion that Initial Admission to the Eucharist Completes Initiation
  • 7.4 Conclusion
  • General Conclusion
  • Major Findings
  • Theological Reflection
  • A Key Pastoral Question in Masaka
  • Appendix I: Some Details about the Four Pre-Vatican II Synods of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Nyanza (Vicariate Apostolic of Uganda from 1915)
  • Appendix II: Some Details about the Five Post-Vatican II Synods for Masaka Diocese: 1974–2003
  • Appendix III: Some Details about Key Catechisms that Were Published in the Vicariate of the White Fathers
  • Appendix IV: Some Details about Three Catechisms that Are Currently Used in Masaka Diocese
  • Appendix V: Model Timetable of 1997 Mugigi Syllabus: Kironde Section
  • Appendix VI: Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • Part One: Primary Sources
  • Part Two: Secondary Sources
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables

General Introduction

Preamble

We begin by outlining the reasons for undertaking this particular thesis. Secondly, we will argue that the thesis in question is different from other previous research because of its emphases and viewpoint. Thirdly, we will explain the methods and sources that were employed in the research. Finally, we will provide the structure of the thesis by highlighting what is to be expected in each chapter.

Rationale for the Thesis

The reason why I chose this topic is because I worked as a Catholic priest in charge of schools in three parishes for a period of nine years (2002–2011) and found that more thought needed to be given to the local pastoral methodology for the sacramental initiation of children. All the three parishes where I exercised priestly ministry are situated in Masaka Diocese, one of the four suffragan sees of the Kampala Ecclesiastical Province located in Uganda, East Africa.

After completing a minor dissertation entitled ‘Eucharistic Theology Enlightened by Vatican II: An Examination of the International Eucharistic Congress of 2000’ at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, I reflected on the inter-relationship between this thesis and my nine year apostolate in Masaka Diocese and hence chose the present theme. As Vatican II teaches, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life1 and all other sacraments are bound up with the Eucharist and are directed towards it.2 I reflected that it takes time to prepare fully for the completion of Christian initiation3 of children, even though parents in Masaka often want it to be ←29 | 30→completed quickly because of associated costs. In doing so, parents sometimes demonstrate their lack of understanding of the process of Christian initiation.

These pastoral experiences in Uganda prompted me to consider doing research in the area of the sacraments of Christian initiation as practised in the particular local context of my own Diocese. This had the overall aim of providing some answers to questions raised by many people in Uganda, including some priests who felt that they had not received substantive answers at conferences to such questions.

For example, they asked:

How are the three sacraments of Christian initiation (of children) forming a unity in Masaka?

How are the sacraments of baptism and confirmation related to the Eucharist in our pastoral practice?

Concerning the completion of Christian initiation of children, does First Communion suffice or is there a need for confirmation as well?

Can confirmation precede First Communion in Masaka?

Is it likely that some Catholics in the West, because they are informed of what is taking place in the East, tend to think that whatever is done in the East can be applied in the West?4

After considering all the abovementioned memories and experiences, I decided to write on Solemn Communion because, although I had completed the Mugigi course while still a child, taught the course while still a seminarian and managed the programme after becoming priest, many things about it were still unclear to me.←30 | 31→

Originality of the Thesis

The originality of this thesis lies in the fact that it is the first of its kind to treat at a doctoral level the topics of Solemn Communion and the other current pastoral practices surrounding the completion of Christian initiation in Masaka Diocese. Basing on the wide reading done prior to writing the thesis proposal and the information gathered as result of undertaking this dissertation, it is confirmed that there is no other research which has treated these topics simultaneously. Moreover, the emphases on examining the French custom imported via the missionaries to another culture in Masaka also help make the thesis an original piece of work.

Methodology and Sources

The methodology followed a simple pattern: Experience, Research, and Analyze. Experience refers to my pastoral experience in Masaka Diocese. Research denotes sources consulted and studied in the work. Analyze indicates scrutinising the sources to establish their authenticity as well as having a critical mind during the process of writing. The principal sources for this thesis are books, library electronic resources, the internet and ‘unpublishable’ items, such as baptismal certificates and circular letters issued in the Diocese. Some books, published by the local Church in the Luganda language, have been consulted and the translation into English has been done by myself.

Structure of the Thesis

The present study has two major parts, roughly falling under the headings of ‘Solemn Communion’ and ‘Critique of the Current Practices of the Completion of Christian Initiation in Masaka Diocese’. The thesis is systematically divided into seven chapters. The first two chapters belong to the first part of the study, whereas the other five chapters fit in the second part.

Chapter 1 deals with Solemn Communion in France. It uses a historical approach to trace the development of the rituals and terms that are linked to Solemn Communion in that country. It performs three major tasks: setting the context which explores the emphasis which the Council of Trent placed on education and how this resulted in focusing on catechetical instruction; ←31 | 32→tracing the development of Solemn Communion in France, before the publication of the Decree Quam Singulari (1910); and examining what happened to Solemn Communion in France after the publication of that Decree.

Chapter 2 deals with Solemn Communion as currently experienced in Masaka Diocese. It analyses the catechetical course known as Mugigi which the White Fathers Missionaries, most of whom were originally from France, introduced in the area of present-day Masaka circa 1906 and which they correlated with reception of Solemn Communion. In doing so, the chapter performs two major tasks: discussing three selected terminologies which are used in the Mugigi course; and examining in chronological order the activities performed during the catechetical course.

Chapter 3 deals with the situation before Solemn Communion was introduced in the area of the present-day Masaka Diocese. It begins with a discussion of three selected notions: African Traditional Religion (ATR), the concept of culture, and differentiating between formal and informal educational approaches. Specifically, it examines indigenous education in Buganda Kingdom before the arrival of the missionaries and the colonizers. In doing so, it focuses on the curriculum of African indigenous education, its creators and maintainers, in the context of the culture of the Baganda and the Bugandan traditional religious worldview (hereafter BTRW), as that tribe was and still is the predominant one in the territory of the Diocese.

Chapter 4 discusses the relationship between indigenous education and the Baganda’s rites of passage. In doing so, it focuses on five selected rites of passage: four main rites of passage (birth and name-giving, initiation, marriage, death), and the installation and the coronation of the king of Buganda.

Chapter 5 examines what the missionaries had in mind before arriving and outlines their eventual introduction of Solemn Communion with its required catechetical course. The chapter also examines two other issues, namely, the attitude of the early Catholic missionaries towards indigenous culture, and the effect of the introduction of Western education in Buganda.

Chapter 6 reconnoitres the situation arising when some local Churches became headed by native Africans and when most African countries were gaining independence from the colonizers. Specifically, it explores the emergence of the theology of inculturation in Africa, and discusses this from the ←32 | 33→perspective of a selected theologian, while also then investigating the impact of inculturation on two Masaka Diocesan synods in the 1980’s.

Chapter 7 envisions a more Bugandanized Christian initiation, arguing that this involves trying to enrich the existing Mugigi programme. This chapter does so by making a comparison between the ritual of Christian initiation for the communities in Cijiba (in the DRC) and the Mugigi programme, and then sympathetically critiques the Special Rite during Mass on the day of Solemn Communion in Masaka Diocese (hereafter SRSCMD). Finally, the chapter analyses the ambiguous theological relationship of the SRSCMD to the Catholic theology of sacramental initiation.←33 | 34→←34 | 35→


1 Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium (hereafter LG), 11.

2 Vatican II’s Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum ordinis (hereafter PO), 5.

3 It is accomplished in baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. In other words, it is not completed until all the three sacraments are received by the Christian. For information regarding the unity of initiation in theology and catechesis, see Liam G. Walsh, The Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1988), 296–297.

4 This last question was raised because the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter CCC) informs us about the way Christian initiation is celebrated in the Eastern Churches, which varies from the Latin Church’s practice. For example, in the Eastern Churches, Holy Communion is given to all the newly baptized and confirmed, even little children (see CCC 1244). See also CCC 1289 and 1318 for more comparisons. See also Paul Turner, Confirmation: The Baby in Solomon’s Court (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), 34–35.

1 Solemn Communion in France

1.0 Introduction

This chapter discusses Solemn Communion in France that centred on advancement in pastoral practices as well as on certain doctrinal emphases. This chapter traces the origination of Solemn Communion in First Communion rituals. Likewise, this chapter highlights that the emergence of First Communion rituals presupposes a certain doctrinal development that predated them. In fact, First Communion rituals, which materialized thirty years after the conclusion of the Council of Trent, were obviously influenced by, and associated with, the Council. However, they are not exclusively linked to it. Due to this, some factors in the pre-Tridentine era that remotely influenced First Communion rituals are examined as well.

This chapter suggests that an exploration of Solemn Communion (and the corresponding catechetical course) necessitates an examination of three factors at play (a tripartite dynamic): an Instructive Model which is largely employed in the course preceding Communion; a Motivational Tactic which related to the ceremony of Solemn Communion, as an encouragement for candidates to complete the course; and a Theological Rationale which indicates that the theological underpinnings of the practice of orientating catechetical instruction towards Solemn Communion are not fully understood.

Bearing this in mind, this chapter, which is divided into three major sections, uses a historical-exploratory approach to trace the development of the main rituals and terms that are linked to Solemn Communion in France. Firstly, it sets the context which explores the emphasis which the Council of Trent placed on education and how this resulted in a focus on catechetical instruction. The motivation for this decision, essentially, is to prepare the basis for the Instructive Model. Secondly, the chapter traces the development of Solemn Communion in France, before the publication of the Decree Quam Singulari (1910). The rationale for this decision is to establish how the Instructive Model was especially consolidated during the post-Tridentine era, and to indicate that the Motivational Tactic, which was to assist the children complete the catechetical course linked with Solemn Communion, was also most evident during this period. Thirdly, ←35 | 36→the chapter examines Solemn Communion in France, after the publication of Decree Quam Singulari (1910). The basis for this decision is to point to the Theological Rationale which is manifested in this period. The change of titles, for example, from ‘Solemn Communion’ to ‘Profession of Faith’, illustrates that there was a need to provide a theological explanation to matters related to Solemn Communion.

1.1 Setting the Context

The Catholic Church, before the Council of Trent (1545–1563), had been tremendously troubled by the extent of Protestant successes, but the popes, for a long time, had been reluctant to call a council.5 Yet, “[to] reformers of all stripes, a general council had long seemed the solution to the Church’s ills”.6 In view of this, Jedin agrees with Marshall on two reasons, generally advanced to explain this delay. In the first place, it was difficult to convene a council due to incessant wars between the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the king of France, Francis I.7 Besides, Francis I, according to Marshall, “was obstructionist [and] aware that his rival Charles V would benefit if a council healed the schism in Germany”.8 Secondly, the popes themselves, fearing a revival of the conciliar movement which previously had emphasized the dominance of ecumenical councils over the Roman papacy during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, dreaded a draining away of their power.9

There is another issue to the delay in the convocation of a general council which is related to the Protestants. After Martin Luther had successfully defied Rome, several other leaders formed non-Catholic Churches ←36 | 37→that were also called ‘Protestant Churches’ because all of them dissented from Catholicism. Luther as well as other Protestant leaders, since 1517, had been asking for a council.10 Nonetheless, “when the Pope called for a council, Protestants did everything they could to delay it, because they wanted a different type of council”.11

Eventually, at the insistence of Charles V, Pope Paul III (1534–1549), successfully convoked the Council in the northern Italian town of Trent in 1545, and it met sporadically for eighteen years. During that protracted period, the condition of the Catholic Church was assessed and its doctrines were defined, though the split within Western Christendom became increasingly irreversible.12 This can be explained by the fact that religious divisions, by the time the Council actually convened, had become well-established such that the reconciliation with the Lutherans which Charles V anticipated was never really on the agenda.13

Conversely, Rasmussen convincingly claims that, though Protestants were excluded from the Council of Trent, their views were represented because a few Catholic bishops had adopted some Protestant ideas, and others were uncertain about basic Catholic doctrines.14 In addition, she maintains that “[t]‌he rapid success of Protestant teachings eventually forced Popes and bishops to realize that they had to reform their own lives and the Catholic Church”.15

This is why the agenda of the Council, as Rasmussen insists, contained two basic items that were mutually discussed:

Details

Pages
406
ISBN (PDF)
9783631777336
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631777343
ISBN (MOBI)
9783631777350
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631769416
Language
English
Publication date
2019 (February)
Tags
Missionaries Catechesis Synods Rites Culture Education
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 403 pp., 1 fig. col., 4 fig. b/w, 16 tables

Biographical notes

Godfrey Katumba (Author)

Godfrey Katumba is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Masaka, Uganda. He studied philosophy (Katigondo National Major Seminary) and theology (Ggaba National Major Seminary). He earned an MA in theology (2013) and a PhD (2018), from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland.

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Title: Solemn Communion