Father Alain Clément Amiézi is a doctor in dogmatic theology and professor at Sacred Heart of Mary Major Seminary at Anyama in Ivory Coast. In his new book, Baptêmeet engagement prophétique pour uneÉgliseadulte en Afrique (Baptism and prophetic commitment for an adult Church in Africa), he focuses on the meaning of baptism and its implications.
“The majority of our African churches have already celebrated the centenary of the beginning of their evangelization. Logically, we should now be talking about an adult Church. But at the qualitative level, it is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done. The percentage of those who continue and who complete their Christian initiation by confirmation after the great festivities that accompany the reception of baptism is very low in several African countries today.
The number of the faithful who are truly committed in the social and political fields on the basis of Gospel virtues is infinitesimal.
We are producing baptized people but not Christians. We provide them with the sacraments without evangelizing them. The responsibilities for this situation are shared.
On one hand, in my view, it is linked to the fact that certain catechumens are requesting baptism for the wrong reasons. On the other, it is linked to the quality of the formation received.”
On the impact baptism have on the life of African Christians he said: “Prophetic commitment involves three aspects.
First, there is Christian coherence which invites us to break with the dichotomy that often exists between the life of faith and everyday life at work, school and in the family.
Christian life is not an overcoat that one can leave at the parish door and collect again when leaving. The second aspect is courageous witness. Our African countries need Christians capable of breaking with the notion that “everyone acts like that” and who are capable of living out their faith through their Christian commitment at social, economic and political level.
The third aspect is to develop a spirituality that assumes and allows Christians to courageously face up to existential problems.