THE EUROCENTRIC, CHRISTIAN PATRIARCHAL STRUCTURAL SYSTEM APPROACH OF THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE (SACBC): A CRITICAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE BOOK GOD, LOVE, LIFE AND SEX

Itumeleng Daniel Mothoagae

Abstract


 

In 2013 the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference released the book. "God, Love, Life and Sex: Guide and Resource for Christian Living Marriage and Family." In chapters five and six of this book assumptions are made on reasons why women choose to cohabit and have children outside of marriage. It further states that the African tradition and customs still need to be studied, thus objectifying and locating the African tradition within the categories of time, space and subjectivity. This categorisation of African tradition is an exercise of power and epistemic hierarchies within the colonial global normativity. In other words, they could not say anything on African tradition, precisely because, according to Canon Law, the Catholic Church does not recognise African traditional marriages as sacramental. For a Catholic and an African, such blanket statements made by the Catholic Bishops raise serious problems on the hermeneutical approach used by these bishops on the matter. It is the intention of this article to critically engage with the process of categorisation as an exercise of power. The socially constructed categories such as homosexuality, cohabitation, marriage and African tradition as outlined in the book God, Love, Life and Sex, indicate how patriar-chy is a critical issue that negatively affects the lives not only of Black women, but of Black men as well. I will therefore argue that the approach of the Bishops is a Eurocentric, Christian Patriarchal Structural System of the West. Moreover, I maintain that these concepts are based on epistemic racism of the West, which continues to locate African tradition and worldview in the zone of non-being. The article will use two theories, Intersectionality and Decoloniality. Conclusions will be drawn as well as pointers for further research. This is not in line with the thinking of John Henry Newman who made the following assertion regarding the laity: "Really desire to know the opinions of the laity on subjects in which the laity are especially concerned."


Keywords


Homosexuality; Cohabitation; Marriage; African Tradition; Eurocentric; Christian Patriarchal Structural System; Epistemic Racism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/114-0-1141

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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