The Church and Development in Africa: Aid and Development from the Perspective of Catholic Social Ethics

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The Church and Development in Africa: Aid and Development from the Perspective of Catholic Social Ethics. By Stan Chu Ilo. Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Publications, 2011.Pp. xxxvi, 304. Paperback $38.

The Church and Development in Africa provides a very helpful summary of the Roman Catholic approach to development in Africa. Author Stan Ilo, a Nigerian, provides critical insights into the theory and practice of African development.

Chapters 1 and 2 summarize the social teaching of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVTs social encyclical Charity in Truth (2009) includes Catholic teaching on social principlesofsolidaritysubsidiarity, participation, ecology, human rights, social ethics, natural law, and gratuitousness. Chapter 3 paints the present picture of Africa's development needs and assets. Noting that "many people outside Africa often wrongly read Africa as a single story with common problems and identity" (p. xxxiv), Ho argues that the unique social and cultural contexts of specific development activities need to be thoroughly understood before any aid is distributed. Chapters 4 and 5 then provide general theories and principles to help guide the church, individual Christians, and charities for development activities in Africa.

The strength of the book lies in the author's breadth and depth of vision for the kingdom of God in Africa, for which he integrates the disciplines of theology, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology. …