|Résumé: ||The practice of polygamy poses some challenging canonical and pastoral problems for the Christian churches in sub-Saharan Africa. This work explores these problems from the perspective of Roman Catholic canon law in light of traditional African cultural values and Roman Catholic theology. It develops some strategies for evangelization and catechesis which are consistent with the Catholic Church’s teaching and which support the pastoral care of people living in polygamous societies.
In the first of four chapters, the thesis considers various cultural aspects of polygamy in sub-Saharan Africa: its practice, prevalence, effects on Christian marriage and family life, civil law considerations, and related questions such as the rights of women and children in polygamous unions. The second chapter surveys the principal aspects of the Church’s teachings on marriage and polygamy, teachings that are rooted in Scripture and the great Tradition as consistently taught by councils, popes, and most Catholic theologians and canonists. The third chapter treats various canonical norms related to marital unity in general and to polygamous marriages in particular. The fourth and final chapter focuses on canonical and pastoral approaches to evangelization in polygamous societies today that conform to the requirements of the Catholic faith and its canon law. In particular, it explores how existing canonical structures in both the universal law and in the laws and customs of local African churches may be utilized in the service of the doctrine of the Church on marital unity and its mission of evangelization.|