Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2017


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

George S. Worgul

Committee Member

Marinus Iwuchukwu

Committee Member

Radu Bordeianu


African Theology, Elochukwu Uzukwu, Sacraments, Vatican II, Local Church


Recognition of the indispensable intersection of faith and culture has become a major trend in the contemporary theology. This renewed approach emphasizes various anthropologies and cultures as locations of divine activity. Specifically, the Second Vatican Council’s understanding of sacraments as pneumatological, and ecclesiological, beyond the dominant Christological motif, and its call for profound adaptation gives a wide latitude for rethinking the sacraments. This provision overcomes the danger of enforcing a monocultural model of sacramental celebration, which can submerge local voices and separate sacramentality from symbols and values that resonate differently with various peoples and cultures. This dissertation shows how Elochukwu Uzukwu utilizes the provisions of Vatican II, in conjunction with resources from African traditional wisdom and culture, to argue for the emergence of truly local church and true border-crossing of sacramental and liturgical celebrations. To think of sacraments from this perspective highlights the African view of the human body, particularly its penchant for expressive worship and community – oriented celebrations, is a reality that seeks to bridge the disconnect between sacraments and ethics, thereby overcoming mere ritualism and making the sacraments more relevant. This approach finds justification in the long history of appropriating anthropological and sociological models to give expression to the reality of the Christian experience. The thesis is that rethinking the sacraments is a practical mission of the church in Africa, with implications in every aspect of Christian life and practice. The centrality and implications of the sacraments, especially in the Roman Catholic tradition, makes this approach a delicate but necessary theological investigation.