BY ITS OWN CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL:
A CASE STUDY OF THE DIOCESE OF BUNIA IN THE
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Rev. Dr. LONEMA DZ'DJO FABIEN
Professeur de Droit Canonique à CUEA (The Catholic University of Eastern Africa) à Nairobi - Kenya depuis 2001. Il est le Chef de Départment de Droit Canonique depuis 2008. Rev. Dr. LONEMA DZ'DJO FABIEN estprêtre du Diocèse de Bunia au nord-est de la République Démocratique du Congo. Il est docteur en droit canonique (2004) et en droit civil (2005). Il a fait ses études de doctorat à l'université pontificale de Latran à Rome.
1. The Purpose of the Thesis
The purpose of this study is to stimulate all the Christian faithful to take effective action to support their Church. Theymust be made aware of their duty to bear the full responsibility of the needs of their Church with regard to personnel and material life. The Christian faithful have to be trained and taught to make that support efficient. This work seeks to be a contribution to that mobilisation.
2. The Rationale of the Thesis
The rationale behind the choice of this topic is that very little effort has beenmade to change the mentality of dependence in which the Christian faithful were brought up in the Diocese of Bunia. Effective action towards the support of the Church by the Christian faithful is in an early stage. The Christian faithful must be concerned with providing realistic support to the Church. This is not a free option, but a qualifying requirement for those who declare themselves to beChristians. It is not a matter of a mere spontaneous and occasional “charity”, but rather it is an issue of the just and adequate response to faith.
Moreover, the support of the Church is a great contribution towards the Church’s self-reliance. This is a need and a request that the Holy See and the Conference of Bishops of Congo are very much insisting on today. Considering the progress of theChurch in Bunia, the Christian faithful have to do something urgently. It is a call for self-reliance. A new way of acquiring and administering ecclesiastical goods must be worked out, to achieve more effective evangelization.
3. The Central Question of Investigation
This study focuses on a way to make the Christian faithful in the Diocese of Bunia more aware of their responsibility to supporttheir Church. At the same time, the work tries to find out the means by which the Christian faithful can be led to support their local Church effectively.
4. The Working Hypotheses
Many talks have been held in the Diocese of Bunia on the paramount importance of the support of the Church. The insistence of the diocesan authority does not seem to motivate the Christian faithful. They might nothave yet grasped that the Church in Bunia has the right to rely on their material support for her responsibilities of organisining divine worship, of providing decent sustenance for ministers, and the means of apostolate as well as the works of charity.
So far, the effort has remained at the level of talks without practical actions following the verbal exchanges. As the Diocese has been living ongrants from the Holy See and funds raised by the Missionaries, the Christian faithful are used to seeing the Church survive without their involvement. As a result, they do not believe that the hour for autonomy has come.
The foundations of Church support can be found both in tradition and history. At the same time, it is important to shed the light of canonical provisions on the topic in orderto awaken the conscience of the Christian faithful about the importance of the issue. There are some elements in the traditions of the peoples living in the Diocese of Bunia, which can be used to make clear to the Christian faithful the notion of the Church’s self-reliance. Self-reliance would mean the ever increasing capacity of the Christians of the Diocese of Bunia to assume responsibility...