Ancestral Veneration and the Possiblity of its Incorporation into the Christian Faith

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Abstract

In Nostra Aetate – one of the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council – the Catholic Church firmly declares: 'The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in other religions⃜ The Church, therefore, urges all her sons and daughters to enter with prudence and charity into discussions and collaboration with members of other religious faith traditions…; (cf. NA. 2). The so-called 'other religions' as stated by Nostra Aetate includes traditional religion in the form of ancestral veneration. It is still widely and popularly practiced by Christians of various ethnic groups in Asia and Africa as well as in other parts of the world – Latin America, Melanesia and Australia (the Aborigines). Despite the suppression and expulsion done in the past, this religious tradition is still able to survive and continue to demonstrate its vital force in the lives of many Asians and Africans, including those who have embraced the Christian faith. In this article we argue that ancestral veneration does not contradict the Christian faith. It has a place in the Christian faith and should be incorporated into, at least, in Catholic Christian devotion.

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Journal of Contemporary Christianities in Context

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