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Catholic leaders to meet in Nigeria


Catholic leaders to meet in Nigeria

Catholic leaders gather in Abuja for the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa.
Photo: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

More than 150 Catholic bishops across West Africa will gather in Abuja for a plenary meeting of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa. 

Attendees will discuss, among other themes, efforts to promote regional security and good governance. The Catholic Church has a substantial presence in Africa. According to data from the Vatican, approximately 20% of Catholics live in Africa. The Church, moreover, reported a growth rate of 2.1% in 2020 on the continent—its largest worldwide. 

With the spread of Catholicism stagnating and retracting in Europe and America, the Church has refocused its evangelization efforts in Africa. This is expected to contribute to the longer-term trend of the spread of Catholicism on the continent and, as such, will increase the political and cultural influence of the Church on regional developments. 

In host-nation Nigeria, for example, a country which has experienced one of the largest increases in Catholicism in Africa, humanitarian aid and Church support of government efforts to combat Boko Haram has led to the election of Catholic deputies to parliament and increased the Church’s influence in provincial politics. Additionally, further religious stratification in the country between Christians and Muslims has worsened sectarian tensions, contributing to a nearly of doubling of violent crimes since 2017. 

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