Witchcraft today: An investigation into the factors that influence Catholics to get involved in witchcraft in Yerya Parish, Fort-Portal Diocese.
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The study was carried out among the Batooro of Yerya parish Fort Portal diocese. The researcher studied two variables Catholic faith and witchcraft. Which have helped him to discover people’s experiences, tensions, hopes and anxieties related to the challenge of being truly Christian and truly African at the same time. He discovered the failures and agonies of many people (Batooro) to live both traditions authentically. After establishing the above reality at the grassroots, the researcher makes a critical evaluation of why double loyalty or dichotomy in living the two religious traditions existing among the Batooro. A good number of Christians prefer to take some incompatible elements of African traditional religion and stick to them while outwardly they appear to be committed Christians. Thus they prefer the Christian faith and at the same time secretly adhere to their traditional beliefs, including those inconsistent with the Catholic faith. The researcher discovered that there are serious doubts about the efficacy of the Christian faith in people’s life situations. The mistrust is evident when people find themselves in serious difficulties. Often the tendency is not to run to the faith for guidance but to witchcraft (Nabuya 2007 and Tusingire (2003). The Christians follow Christ in some way but they do so half-heartedly. The Catholic Church in Fort Portal diocese and Yerya in Particular need to deal with situation more resolutely. In order for the Christians to be more faithful to their calling, there is need of reformation of the hearts and minds. Given the limited nature of human beings, the faith is always limited in some sense. Therefore, there is need to make Christianity more relevant to each person in his concrete existing context. Theologian scholars, pastoral workers, and some members of the laity themselves have noted that in times of existential crises the average African Christian will revert to traditional African religious beliefs and practices which are not allowed by the Church. In some instances pastors and theologians have fallen victim of this, almost irresistible temptation. The crisis of African Christianity is basically a worldview crisis. This is because most western missionaries and also some African who embraced Christianity did not take worldview and religion of the African people seriously. ’They regarded it ridiculously as primitive superstition” (Walt 1994, p.16). Witchcraft must be understood as part of the mystery of human person. Contrary to what the English word suggests, the reality of witchcraft among the Batooro and in Africa as a whole, is not primarily an “art” or a “craft,” Haule correctly identifies it as “mysterious powers,” that resides in, and with human beings. In the area, there is a high tendency of associating any kind of ailment or catastrophe with witchcraft. 19.6% respondents said that people practice witchcraft because of psychological problems. 31.4% agreed that people practice witchcraft because of social pressure, 29.4% for individual gains while 2.9% respondents said that it is a family tree problem (inherited from the grandparents). The majority of the respondents asserted that people practice witchcraft because of social pressure and individual gain respectively.