The Role of Churches in the Peace Process in Africa:

G. Jan van Butselaar

in The Changing Face of Christianity

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780195177282
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835812 | DOI:
The Role of Churches in the Peace Process in Africa:

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This chapter recounts the early development of Christianity in Mozambique as a Portuguese colony with a strong Roman Catholic influence. The Marxist Frelimo regime in newly independent Mozambique denounced Christianity as a colonial, antirevolutionary force, confiscated its institutions, and suppressed its practice. Yet the local churches continued to play a significant local role as civil war broke out and people came to them for help and shelter. Both Catholic and Protestant communities played roles in the peace negotiations, but the Catholics had the resources and the ties to the Renamo rebel forces to lend some diplomatic leverage. After the peace agreement, churches played a major role in bringing reconciliation to fractured communities. The chapter ends with brief comparisons to the conflicts in South Africa and Rwanda and concludes that while in each case Christian denominations and ecumenical groups had little effect on effecting justice, peace, and reconciliation, individual Christian leaders and local ministries played powerful roles.

Keywords: civil war; Frelimo; Mozambique; peace negotiations; Protestant; reconciliation; Renamo; Roman Catholic; Rwanda; South Africa

Chapter.  8767 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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