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Domesticating a Religious ImportThe Jesuits and the Inculturation of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, 1879-1980$
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Nicholas M. Creary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233342

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823233342.001.0001

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Bread and Wine, Beer and Meat: The Kurova Guva Controversy

Bread and Wine, Beer and Meat: The Kurova Guva Controversy

Chapter:
(p.222) 7 Bread and Wine, Beer and Meat: The Kurova Guva Controversy
Source:
Domesticating a Religious Import
Author(s):

Nicholas M. Creary

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823233342.003.0008

This chapter argues that from functionalist anthropological and secular historical viewpoints, abolishing kuchenura munhu would return the Catholic church in Zimbabwe to a time when people are bound to lead two lives. VaShona cultural practices of honoring the spirits of the dead, or kurova guva, were initially banned by Catholic missionaries shortly after their arrival in Southern Rhodesia. As an important ritual, however, it persisted clandestinely on mission farms throughout the twentieth century. Largely at the urging of the Catholic Association and with the support of the African clergy, discussions about lifting the ban and adapting kurova guva to the church began and culminated with the Catholic bishops approving a modified form of the ritual, called kuchenura munhu, which subsequently received the Vatican's approval on an experimental basis. In the late 1990s, several African bishops and priests renewed debate about the validity of kuchenura munhu.

Keywords:   kuchenura munhu, Catholic church, VaShona cultural practices, kurova guva, Catholic missionaries, Catholic Association

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