Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Richard H. Thames

Committee Member

Calvin L. Troup

Committee Member

Janie Harden Fritz


Augustine, Ministry, Rhetoric


The concern of the Catholic Church in this century and the immediate past centuries has been how the faithful will effectively internalize and role-play the Gospel in their life. The implication of this concern for the Catholic Church is rooted in the inter-cultural and counter-cultural encounter between Christianity and any of the cultures in question, and at this point the African Culture in Abakaliki diocese. To negotiate a complexity of this magnitude, one cannot ignore its rhetorical ripples around the individual, culture, Church family and the society at large.

The Christian culture must be translated to the language the people being evangelized must understand. The Gospel will have to take an incarnate nature among the people in order for them to role-play it in their life. Therefore, the significance of Augustine's rhetorical theory in addressing a complexity of this kind is invaluable as a theoretical basis to launch a process of action. Augustine strongly upholds the role of caritas (love) which demands communication and eventually becomes the source whereby we can overcome ambiguities in situations that are rhetorical in nature. Within the African context such ambiguities are resonate in the development of Catholic Christian ministry in a way that will more aggressively assimilate and adapt to the African (Abakaliki diocesan) society.

It must be acknowledged that the African society is already family and community oriented, where the role of the individual is paramount. These existing roles are forms of service to the community and may qualify for a ministry if interpreted in religious terms. Therefore how can collaborative ministry allow the birth of new ministries while addressing the needs of the Catholic Christian communities in Africa? The significance of collaborative ministry as recommended by the fathers during African Synod for the African Catholic Church, derives from the biblical sense of ministry indicative of Christ's mandate to his followers, to go out to the whole world and proclaim the gospel (Holy Bible, Mk 16: 15); while assuring them "I am with you always, until the close of the age" (Holy Bible, Mt 28: 20). There is no exclusion in ministry.