A Schematic Evaluation of the Impact of Heresies and Persecution in the Catholic Church: an Igbo Pragmatic Perspective

  • M Izunwa
  • S Mgbemena


The history of Christianity and for that fact that of Catholic Church is long fraught with incidents of persecution and of emerging heretical doctrines. In many ways, the church has tried to contend with such afflictions to the security of life of her members and the integrity of her teaching authority and has found in each of them quite some rich resources for her continued existence and growth. While the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity, the errors of heresy have at particular moments of the church’s life, called the attention of the church to the need to much formally define her doctrines and often times elevating some of such doctrines to the status of irreformable dogmas presented to the faithful and requiring obedience of faith. After a brief comparative description of the nature and effects of persecutions and heresies, this work looks at the differential degrees of anxiety afforded to the Church by the dual events of persecution and heresy. It finds that heresies being invidious in outwork are dangerous to the faith of the Church which is its direct victim. It further finds that in a typical Igbo Christian community under the strong influence of a pragmatic worldview, heresies are a welcome experiment as they provide yet other pragmatic possibilities for resolving life’s riddles and solving gnawing problems of human life through the religious pathway; persecution on the other hand, because it often visits with attack on life and physical integrity of Christians, is for the Igbo convert, detestable as it is ominous, life being the Igbo man’s greatest good. This essay employs the method of phenomenology, analysis and hermeneutics in its investigation and recommends for a new era of evangelization of the Igbo Christians so as to align their spiritual sensibilities with the ancestry of Christian faith long demonstrated from the apostolic times till now in the lives of the martyrs.

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eISSN: 1595-1413