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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versión On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versión impresa ISSN 1017-0499


MUDYIWA, Misheck  y  MOKGOATšANA, Sekgothe. Back to Africa: (Re)appropriating the "Back-toSender" Concept in the Zimbabwe Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2021, vol.47, n.3, pp.1-25. ISSN 2412-4265.

This article explores the phenomenon of healing and exorcism in the Zimbabwe Catholic Charismatic Renewal (ZCCR). It examines specifically the theological basis and ramifications of the back-to-sender concept that is currently the hallmark and defining feature of most self-styled exorcists in the ZCCR. In its religious settings, the back-to-sender concept underscores that every power that uses witchcraft, magic or otherwise, to suppress, attack, possess or militate against human prosperity and breakthroughs, must be sent back to haunt or destroy their owners and dispatchers. The article provides both the milieu and context(s) within which the concept of back-to-sender possibly emerged and critically analyses the ZCCR healing praxis and the immediate reaction of ecclesiastical authorities. Pivoting on sacred scripture and the Catholic tradition, salient pastoral and theological controversies that emerge from the concept are highlighted and critically examined. The main argument developed in this article is that, while healing in the ZCCR-as manifest in the causal explanations, diagnosis and methodology-lacks sufficient theological evidence either to condemn or approve it, the seemingly borrowed and imported back-to-sender concept is itself problematic and incompatible with a Christology of non-violence, non-retaliation and turning of the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-48). However, it is consistent with the African culture and concept of social justice and equilibrium.

Palabras clave : Zimbabwe Catholic Charismatic Renewal (ZCCR); healing; back-to-sender; non-retaliation; Afrocentricity.

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