ROLE OF THE INSTITUTES OF THEOLOGY
Rev. Paul Balembo Buetubela
There are five Catholic Universities in Africa: the Catholic Faculties of Kinshasa (Zaire) created in 1957; the Catholic Institute of Western Africa (Abidjan ‑ Ivory Coast) set up in 1968; Catholic Institute of West of Africa (Port Harcourt ‑Nigeria) set up in 1979; Catholic University of East Africa (Nairobi ‑ Kenya) set up in 1985 and the Catholic Institute of Yaounde (Cameroon), set up in 1991.
The Institute for Theology and Philosophy of Tananarive started as an Institute affiliated to the Pontifical University of Naples in 1960 and, in 1972, it became an independent Institute. In this same Institute, the Department of Philosophy was set up by the Congregation for Catholic Education in 1993. This brings us to six Universities in Africa.
These six Universities can be placed in the tradition of Catholic schools where the first and foremost vocation is at the service of society. There are also teaching centres and research centres which depend on the needs felt in the region or in the country. These centres include several departments which cover the whole theological, philosophical, social and religious research.
All these universities certify the presence of “Catholicism” in the regions where they are located. From an African standpoint they express what the International Federation for Catholic Universities (IFCU) represents at world level.
They are all at the service of the local churches and of the Universal Church for Evangelization of the “intelligentsia”. They are called to build the new civilizations and contribute to developing African societies. They are also called to answer the expectations and needs of African societies being formed. A great effort has been made in formulating an African theology and philosophy. Autonomy is necessary in order to work better and these universities have three types of autonomy: academic autonomy (freedom of research); administrative autonomy (qualified personnel) and financial autonomy (financial independence).
Lastly, these Universities play an important role in Evangelization by forming pastoral agents and their personnel: it is through them that dialogue with other, philosophical and theological trends can be possible.
Original text in French