Several years ago my wife Janet and I had our DNA tested to discover our genealogical roots. I had always been told that I was English, Irish, German and French. The last names of my ancestors confirmed the tradition that had been passed down to me. The tests came back and confirmed what we had been told. My wife is 99% northern European and I am 98% northern European.
But it is the small percentage of non-European blood that was most interesting. My wife and I are both 0.6% Jewish of the Ashkenazy line. This entered our family bloodline in Europe sometime between 1600-1800.
Frankly, I could not have been happier to know I had the blood of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob running through my veins. I always wanted to be a relative of Jesus and Mary, not just spiritually but physically. So we announced to our kids that they were 1.2% Jewish.
But to my surprise I also found out I was about 1% African! This percentage is “broadly Western African”, Nigerian, Ghanaian and a smattering of others. This element was included in our bloodline sometime prior to 1750. Fascinating indeed!
But now, after reading the recent article “Spiritually, Doctrinally, I’m An African!” in The Catholic Thing — I realized I am African on a much deeper and spiritual level than just 0.1% of my genetic code. I am theologically and spiritually more akin to African Catholics than to many in the West.
After witnessing the vibrant Catholic life and worship in Africa, the author, Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, shares how an African bishop asked him the unusual question, “Why is God in Africa?” The young man responded, “I don’t know, Your Grace.” The bishop answered, “God is in Africa because God goes where He is wanted!”
And the people in Africa want him and want his Church and the morals that go along with being a faithful, orthodox Catholic.
Here are a few short paragraphs from the article — which is why today I realize that I am African on two levels, genetically and spiritually.
In [a recent] interview, the Holy Father addressed African opposition to Fiducia supplicans, saying the African continent is “a special case,” since “for them, homosexuality is something ‘ugly’ from a cultural point of view; they do not tolerate it.”
When I read that, I felt a spiritual affinity and a unity in the Spirit with Africa.
Our shared Catechism of the Catholic Church still echoes the Church’s perennial moral teaching: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” [No. 2357]
If being an African means being opposed to homosexual relationships, and seeing homosexual acts as “ugly,” since they offend the complementarity of man and woman and mock the selfless act of nuptial intimacy, and if being an African means not tolerating such relationships, and efforts to normalize them, especially in supposed “gay marriages” and other such ways, then I had to start asking myself some hard questions.
Since I’m not a part of a small ideological group seeking schism [as the Pope said we were] – and never would be – I realized for the first time in my almost fifty years: I’m an African! Spiritually, doctrinally, I’m an African…”
I highly recommend reading the whole article which you can find HERE.