More Notes on Magical Catholicism

14 05 2009


Not long ago, a white, middle-class, Adventist pastor from the United States was visiting an Adventist congregation in South Africa…The church was surprised by his visit, but welcomed him with open arms. When word of his presence reached the pastor in charge of the congregation, the pastor made an announcement that, he assumed, would be received as an honor: “My friends, I have wonderful news for you. Pastor Smith has come to visit us all the way rom the United States. I will ask him to conduct tonight’s exorcism.” Picture the consternation that this announcement caused for the visiting pastor! How many seminaries here in the United States – or in the entire Western world for that matter – prepare its graduates to deal with issues concerning healing and spiritual warfare? However, in the Global South, if you do not have a healing ministry that occupies a prominent place in your congregation, people will leave your church and go to others where they will find a healing ministry.

-Philip Jenkins, found on this site

I found the above link on the site, Gregorian Rite Catholic, the page of a very pro-Papal Catholic traditionalist. At first reading, I delighted in the thought of a white, suburban Protestant pastor having to do an exorcism in an African country. Like the traditionalist blogger, however, I do find that Fr. Jenkin’s opinions border on patronizing romanticism when he sees in Third World charismaticism the image of the church of the Acts of the Apostles. It is indicative of my own observation that First World Christians seem to put too much hope in the Third World than is really warranted. It also seems quite cruel that it is often the same people who defend the dismantling of enchanted Christianity in the First World who praise it in the Third. They see Third World Christianity, with all of its color and vibrancy, as an authentic tradition, while the authentic traditions at home were nothing but fodder to feed their iconoclastic bonfire of the vanities last century.
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