22 August 2017

South Africa: The Shaping of South African Catholicism - 200 Years

opinion

The Catholic Church in South Africa, for better and worse, is an institution that is both thoroughly South African - mirroring the nation's chequered past, uneasy present and uncertain future - yet also part of a global institution that has undergone (and continues to undergo) complex shifts in its thinking, demography and activity. The "global" has impacted and still impacts the "local": sometimes the local church has had an impact on the universal church. So, how did this all start? In a series of articles I shall look at a number of key themes: colonialism, racism, human rights, education, healthcare, intellectual activity and ecumenism. By ANTHONY EGAN.

In 2018 the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the 200th anniversary of its official foundation in South Africa. As such it has participated - acted and been acted upon - in two centuries of our history, from the colonial to what we might probably call the post-colonial period. It has played a major role in primary and secondary education through elite colleges and mission schools, working within 'Bantu Education' while trying (ultimately successfully) to subvert it. It has made a significant contribution to health care from mission hospitals to antiretroviral drug roll-outs, engaging in...

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