German Bishops’ Conference Says Church in Africa Growing Only Because of Ignorance and Poverty

By Published on November 28, 2015

Björn Odendahl, an editor at, writes the following in the course of commenting on the Pope’s plans for Africa in a piece entitled “The Romantic, Poor Church”:

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions(of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

We all know that the German Bishops’ Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference’s official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added “easy to command”) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah; they must really fear him. (The link goes to a report on Cardinal Sarah’s bracing words on homosexual practice at the recent Synod on the Family.)

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  • FranklinWasRight

    This needs to be publicized much more. The Germans are letting their true colors show, we need to make sure everyone sees them.

    This was so insulting, can you imagine if they said something like this about Protestantism? Or Islam? They wouldn’t dare. Apparently even Catholics can say racist things about other Catholics with impunity.

  • Mal

    And people (Africans) “often have nothing else but their faith.” Poor souls! Not like those Germans who have everything, but faith. There is no doubt in my mind Jesus will look at these rich and ‘wise’ ones and feel sad for them. How difficult it is for the rich —

  • johnschuh

    I thought hubris was a Greek word!

  • johnschuh

    “I thank you,Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants.” –Matthew 11:25.


    What a smart statement by the ” GERMAN BISHOPS ”, I had expected this type of enlightened conclusion by the Germans. They must be following ORDERS. To solve this peculiar ”African problem” of poor education and poverty, I expect their Lordships to conclude the statements in the coming weeks by recommending the establishment of RE-EDUCATION camps where everyone from Africa must be interned for ”proper” education. Just like you had in GERMANY between 1930’s and 1945. This is of course necessary to bring the Africans who are intellectual ”untermensch” to the level where they can understand and follow German sensibilities.
    It is a shame that the German CHURCH love SIN more than they love God, They love the SODOMITES more than they love CHRIST.

  • Tath_Ngui

    As an African Catholic (one of Bjorn’s poor, afflicted and dumb) I read and re-read this piece. I even went to the German version, and with a dictionary (being idiotic and all), sought out each word to see if it is true, a living being, a human at that in this day and age, coming from the history he comes from, and (assuming) with a firm education in critical thinking, would actually pen such a piece, and then publish it and lurk in the wings waiting to defend it. I understand ignorance, we see plenty of it where I am from. I even get hubris, heck our leaders love German cars. But this depth of stupidity, from a European? This low grade loathing of others couched in high grade terms that echo right into the Third Reich (but how would I know?). Choice insults are called for. But it would probably be studied by this prime idiot as the evidence of hypothesis. So still flushed by the message of the Holy Father to my country Kenya, one can only dig deep and seek the love and tenderness and forgiveness the Holy Father suggested we strive for when confronting fundamentalists and similar creatures. Moreover, Jesus, whom I love, did say, “Father Forgive Bjorn for he knows not what he does.” If anyone sees Bjorn do tell him that there is one Catholic African in Nairobi who is now reflecting on poverty and unenlightenment on a garden seat on his five acre spread, next to the (small–I know, poverty) heated swimming pool, in view of his two race horses (rescue horses–yes, poverty). The stables are next to the family chapel.

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