Last week I questioned the methodology of our «Katikizim Nke Okwukwe Nzuko Katolik N’Asusu Igbo» and I was told it has been upgraded. But from all indications, it was only furbished and nothing more. Now that I have a copy of the latest edition, I’m beginning to think that this Catechism is based on a 19th Century methodology (more than 100 years now). It is everything except adapted to the pastoral exigencies of today. It cannot in any way validly communicate the Faith of the Church.
I really do not believe in any way that this method, repeated from the inception of Christianity in Nigeria, has its place today. I surely do not doubt the fact that this method was very effective at its time but no longer in our generation. In which discipline, has a 100 years teaching methodology has not changed if not our Catechism classes? I am convinced that this is a wrong approach to evangelization.
To buttress my point, let us examine two questions from this booklet today: Questions 87 and 88. Question 87 goes thus: “Gini mere i ji ekwu na Vejin Maria bu Nne nke Chukwu?” – Why do you say that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God? The second question asks: “Kowakene nke a nke Oma” – Explain it well.
“ihe m ji ekwu na Vejin Maria bu Nne kne Chukwu bu: na Jeso Kristi adighi pesin abua kama O bu so otu pesin. N’ihi nke a, Vegin Maria bu Nne otu pesin bu Jeso Kristi” – Why I say that Virgin Mary is the Mother of God is: Jesus Christ is not two persons but one person. Because of this, the Virgin Mary is the mother of one person, Jesus Christ.
Just imagine a kid of 12 years memorizing this. What does he or she understand in one person? Does it mean “otu mmadu” or “otu onye”? Why is “pesin” used and not “mmadu or onye”? That’s not even my major preoccupation here, but the fact that even those who proposed this are aware that it is not a clear answer. And that is why they ask: “Explain it well”.
“Pesin nke abuo n’ato n’ime Otu Di Ngozi bu okwu nke Chukwu ghoro mmadu site n’iwere udi nke mmadu ka O buru nke Ya. O bia welite omumu nke Ya bu Pesin nke abuo n’ime Ato N’Otu Di Ngozi bu Jeso Kristi. O bu Ya ka Vejin Maria bu Nne Ya. N’ihi nke a ka Vejin Maria ji buru Nne nke Chukwu.”
– The second Person of the Holy Trinity is the Word of God that became human by taking the human form to be his (that took the human form). This exalted the birth of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ. It is He who the Virgin Mary is the Mother. Therefore, Virgin Mary is the Mother of God.
What on earth does this mean in plain English? Is this what primary school pupils expect to learn to understand the Faith of the Church? Of course, they can’t understand it and neither do I believe their teachers do.
I think the Nigerian Church ought to examine the context in which this booklet was proposed to understand at what age our grandfathers were preparing for their baptism. Certainly, it was surely not at their tender age like today; if not, even they would not have understood it in those olden days.