Friday the 5th of March

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

African Church warns against illusions of ‘gospel of prosperity’

African Church leaders cautioned churchgoers against a false “gospel of prosperity” after a bishop in Ivory Coast said it was gaining ground in Catholic parishes.

“People seeking quick solutions are being hypnotised into believing a single prayer can become a magic formula for riches and the good life,” said Fr Paul Sandi, secretary-general of the Inter-territorial Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Gambia and Sierra Leone.

“Although it isn’t rampant yet in the Catholic Church, we’ve had to caution charismatic priests not to encourage the prosperity gospel, especially when it’s brought in by outsiders,” he told Catholic News Service.

The priest’s concerns echoed a warning from Bishop Ignace Bessi Dogbo of Katiola, Ivory Coast, president of the Ivorian bishops’ conference, who has urged theologians to defend the Church against “drifts and deviations” in teaching.

Fr Sandi said each Catholic diocese had its own pastoral plan for tackling prosperity gospel notions, which are being driven by widespread poverty.

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Picture: A man walks outside the Cathedral of St Paul in 2013 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. African Church leaders cautioned churchgoers against a false “gospel of prosperity” after a bishop in Ivory Coast said it was gaining ground in Catholic parishes. (CNS photo/Thierry Gouegnon, Reuters).