Nigeria: Adichie explains alienation from Catholicism, alleges harassment of women


Award-winning novelist Chimamanda Adichie opened up on why she separated from Catholicism even as she claimed the church harassed women.

Adichie revealed this in an article titled “Dreaming as a Single Family” published in the latest edition of the weekly L’osservatore Romano newsletter, published Friday.

Adichie had, in January 2021, explained why she had stopped attending Catholic churches in Nigeria. She also criticized the community’s activities as being “too focused on money, fundraising and thanksgiving”.

In her last article, however, Adichie wrote: “I was brought up in the Catholic religion, on the campus of the University of Nigeria. We attended a loving church run by the Spiritan congregation.

“As a teenager, I wore my Catholic identity as a favorite dress, with joy and reverence. I was a self-proclaimed Catholic apologist, passionately arguing with Protestant children to advocate for topics such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, tradition and transubstantiation. “

The award-winning writer, known for her feminist views, attributed her first sign of alienation to the treatment of women in the church.

“Years later, something changed. My pious passion withered away. I remember my first step back from church, when a gentle, pious couple were banned from communion because their daughter had married an Anglican.

“It struck me as not only uncharitable, but needlessly, as were other incidents later, such as poor people being refused funerals because they owed the church money.

“It happened in my ancestral hometown, in a provincial parish far from the university campus where I grew up. But after the Spiritans left, an uncharitable cold also fell on my university church”, a- she declared.

Adichie said women were often harassed and made uncomfortable.

She said: “Women of all ages were often harassed, with men denying them entry into the church unless they wrapped themselves in shawls to hide their shoulders and arms (which apparently would make them sin the men of the church).

“Entire homilies were devoted to the wiles and evils of women. How disturbing it is to attend Mass with the feeling that one, simply by being born a woman, has become inherently guilty of a crime.

“My alienation deepened; I had become a person in a place where my mind had grown too big. Even though I attended Mass every now and then, it didn’t make sense. come to believe that meaning is what makes life worthwhile. “

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