Chapter

A Mission in Transition: Race, Politics, and the Decolonization of the Catholic Church in Senegal

Elizabeth A. Foster

in In God’s Empire

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396447
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199979318 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396447.003.0012
A Mission in Transition: Race, Politics, and the Decolonization of the Catholic Church in Senegal

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This essay uses the experiences of Joseph Faye, the first prefect of the apostolic prefecture of the Casamance and the first African elevated to a position of authority in the Catholic Church in Senegal, as a window into how French missionaries confronted the “decolonization” of the church in the empire. It also reveals how institutions with their own particular histories and identities, such as missions, schools, or the military, confronted the end of empire in theory and in practice. The example of the Spiritans in Senegal demonstrates how such institutions had cultures and priorities that seemed more immediate and more important to their members than the broader goals of the Catholic Church hierarchy and the possibility that French rule in Africa might eventually come to an end.

Keywords: Senegal; Casamance; Joseph Faye; decolonization; Spiritans; French rule

Chapter.  9177 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Religion

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