A Pastoral Response to Haitian Vodou: A Nightmare for Religious Leaders Seeking True Converts to Christianity
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Syncretism between Vodou and Christianity is an important and current topic in the churches of Haiti. There seem to be conflicting ideas on how Vodou entered the Roman Catholic system and how the church should approach this subject. The church finds itself subjected to the same conflicts the pioneers of Christianity in Haiti first faced. The questions arise from two different ideologies of worship within systems that both use icons. The church in Haiti, like all other churches, found itself in the midst of these two conflicting ideologies. Haiti has always faced a tension between the rich and the poor, and the High church and Low Church. Add in the implication of government in church business and the influence of other cultures and you can see why there are still few answers. Haiti has long been in a situation of language conflict. Historically, the people have had to know many languages at the same time: Creole, French, Spanish and English. Early Haitians did not find it easy to speak and write in all four languages. They also felt that these languages, namely French, Spanish and English, were imposed on them. This is why Haitians find it very hard to understand missionaries and those who bring the Word in other languages. The communication dilemma makes victims of those who would be followers. Education at all levels plays a major role in church relations. In Haiti, most (and certainly the best ones) of schools are run by nuns, priests and pastors. We must reeducate church leaders to teach a new approach to pastoral, evangelistic and ministerial care. In this quest to solve the dilemma, this thesis explains the many limiting beliefs that Haitians hold. Their own fear of black divinity pushes them away from answers. This thesis will describe Haiti and the many barriers to its development.