African Catholics are uneducated and accept simple answers?

Outrageous commentary appears on official website of the German bishops' conference
Cardinal Sarah (photo from November 6 Catholic World report article)

Cardinal Sarah (photo from November 6 Catholic World report article)

The following comes from a November 25 First Things article by Leroy Huizenga: 

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.”

Björn Odendahe (photo from

Björn Odendahe (photo from

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.



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  1. This is the sort of genteel bigotry the British and American upper classes used to toss at Irish Catholics in the last two centuries. The Roman patricians probably said the same about the poor, then mostly Syrian and Greek Christians of the early Empire. Same old, same old.

  2. Yes, some of the African bishops seem quite uneducated in the basics of the faith, like Bishop Palmer-Buckle and his push for acceptance of polygamy and conspiracy theories about Ebola, as well as those who pushed the Pope into publishing Laudato Si. But are they any less educated than the average U.S. bishop? I don’t really think so.

  3. Not so long ago, I heard parish priest, in Liverpool Diocese, refer to his pre-Vatican II predecessors as being Neanderthal in their thinking!

  4. German, European and US people are uneducated for the most part.
    Even many Priests and Bishops are uneducated – based upon their public statements. They are ignorant, or evil.
    It is easy to educate oneself.
    All they have to do is read a Catholic BIBLE, and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” (aka CCC; 1997)

  5. ” My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
    And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children. ” – Hosea 4:6.

  6. CCC: ” 1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.
    This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.
    In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits. ”

    There is no legitimate excuse in the USA for literate Catholics not to read both a Bible and the CCC at home.
    And this also stands for Bishops and Priests.

  7. BEWARE – that SOME Bishops and SOME Priests are heretics based upon their own words and writings.
    CCC: ” Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith.”

    The TRUTH can be found in Sacred Scripture along with the CCC.

  8. Björn Odendahe is clearly poorly educated and ignorant.

  9. There is a reason Nazism was able to thrive in Germany. I pray Germans that still think like this will reflect that just maybe their way of thinking was part of the problem from 1933-1945 (and continuing today). Yes, I do know that Catholics as a group did not support Hitler, it is why these statement are even more disturbing.

  10. Clinton R. says:

    On what platform can the German bishops stand? Their churches are empty. The Faith is nearly gone. Why? Because of 50 + years of diluting the Faith. Too many decades of “anything goes” Masses. May St. Boniface pray for Germany.

  11. I’d like to see a Pope Sarah someday…

  12. After the Biblical Sarah? Amen, Amen.

  13. Michael McDermott says:

    Using Modern Science to Treat Homosexuality

    Homosexuality is an issue that has been shaped by Western values, and is now front-and-center in almost every country and culture around the world, especially those societies influenced by secular humanism. But even more traditional societies, such as those in Africa, have not gone unaffected by it, given how social media shrinks our globe.

    In polemics over homosexuality, Catholicism is often falsely accused of being both “homophobic” and “anti-science.”
    But the Catholic Church is far from being against science, a fact that can be seen by the large number of priests who have been top scientists, such as…

  14. I wonder if he were alive back then what Bjorn would have had to say about the Apostles — twelve “uneducated” fishermen whom God used to start a movement (Christianity) which swept the Roman Empire away, or St. Bernadette who was from a poor family. We have had an African pope before from the Northern part: perhaps the time will come when we will have one from further down the continent. Whatever God wills.. His will be done.

  15. Taken from

    Archbishop Gänswein Praises Cardinal Sarah for His Prophetic Witness

    • Thank you, Catherine, for this most interesting link. Indeed Cardinal Sarah loves as he has his own people’s best interest at heart and the world’s.

      • You’re welcome, Anne T. I also thought that this was extremely interesting and very informative for our times. How comforting to see a true shepherd of men!

  16. ALL Catholics including Clergy are required to adhere to a Catholic Bible,
    and the
    “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” (aka CCC, 1997, dark green cover in USA).
    Give them as Christmas Gifts. Help Save a Soul.
    ( For ease of reading, I recommend the RSV-CE Bible, “Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition”, large print.)

  17. Michael McDermott says:

    Not even the Catholic press will talk about these Ugandan martyrs

    Ugandan martyrs, which came up when Pope Francis visited Uganda but which the Pope barely touched on.

    King Mwanga II of Buganda – what is today southern Uganda – killed 45 or 47 of the country’s first Christian converts in his royal court because they rejected his homosexual advances.

    Pope Francis isn’t the only one who left out this obvious but inconvenient truth. So did news organizations both liberal and conservative. The very liberal National Catholic Reporter glossed over the homosexual aspect…

    “Missed the Ugandan miracle: the country’s…

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