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Christian-Voodoo relations

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Christian-Voodoo relations have been marked by political conflicts and syncretism, especially in Haiti and less so in Louisiana or elsewhere.

Christian and Voodoo conflicts

Dessalines proclaimed himself head of the church in Haiti after he presumed his status. He set forward to limit the jurisdiction of each priest and appoint men to vacant the local church communities. Even more, he had caused the assassination of a large number of the missionaries by failing to stop slaughter of the white colonists. That caused a schism between the Haitian state and Rome as the result of declining to send priests in to the country. There were no priests to provide guidelines for the Haitian. As a consequence, Vodou and Catholicism blended the beliefs and, strangely, Catholicism was made the official state religion under the leadership of Henri Christophe.

This further of blended two religions' belief is Haitian men were elevated to the priesthood and were ordained by the state – the step that the Vatican would not recognize as legitimate. They have exercise the power of changing in Haiti. However, mixture of both religions shaped the way of how Haitians practice their ritual. The Haitians were going to church, but they continued to adhere to Vodou, using the rituals of the church to mask the practices of their native traditions' spells.[1][2]

There have also been several killings in the past of Christian pastors and some Christians blame those murders on the influence of Voodoo. In Haiti, some Christians are enemies of Voodoo and feel that it is devil worship; these Christians say that Haiti's misery is because they are being punished by God for the sins of the Voodoo religion. In spite of this criticism by some Haitian Christians, many practitioners of Haitian Voodoo continue to self-identify as Roman Catholic, even to the point of incorporating the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary into their services for the Lwa.[3]


Haiti mostly had large percentages of Vodou believers. Catholicism was another religion with great influence under Vodou. In other words, Vodou has borrowed sort of 'far-reaching speculation' form from Roman Catholicism. The difference between Vodou and Roman Catholicism is Roman Catholic is more visible and official; However, Vodou was unofficial and secretive. Even though there are great number of Haitian claims their status of being Christian, and however, many of Haitians secretly practice ritual.

During the 56 year period Houngans and mambos built up the public religion of Haiti Voodoo. African spirit religion and Catholicism until the 1970's Haiti was nearly 100% catholic. In the 1970's evangelical Protestantism came to Haiti. Mixture of both religions shaped the way of how Haitians practice their ritual. The Haitians were going to church, but they continued to adhere to Vodou, using the rituals of the church to mask the practices of their native traditions' spells.[4]

Many Christians accept Voodoo as part of the country's culture. They have no problem because half of the people that are Christian are very aware that the other half practice voodoo. However there are the few Christians who disagree with the idea of voodoo. For some believe voodoo is not compatible with Christianity".[5] Even though many people in Haiti do practice voodoo, when asked the question, "what religion are you?" they would respond that they are Roman Catholics or Evangelicals.

With this in mind the people in Haiti can practice what they choose to practice. However the most common religions that are practiced the most is Voodoo and Christianity. With the education system in Haiti only 15 percent of the schools are public and 9 percent of these school have a religious affiliation back ground such as (Catholic). The catholic and the clergy play a significant role in teaching.

Voodoo is taken seriously unlike the stereotypical view that is portrayed in the movies "black magic". It is based on rituals, spirits,. As for as Christianity at the funerals it not abnormal Voodoo ceremonies to be performed then after it is followed by a Roman Catholic ceremony presided by a priest. Some of the religious Holidays that the Christians in Haiti have are good Friday, Easter Sunday that is celebrated in March or April. The feast of assumption that is celebrated in the month of August and the day 15th . All saints day which is November 1 all souls days Immaculate Conception (December 8), Christmas Eve (December 24), and Christmas Day (December 25).

The Church position

The church has been given pressure upon the government to outlaw and disband Vodou. In 1896, 1913, and again in 1941 the church led its anti-superstitious campaigns to fight against Vodouism. During the campaigns, hundreds of Ounfos and ritual paraphernalia were destroyed and burned as the assemble sign of Anti-superstitious. In addition of the missionaries, they were mostly from French and Britain, in 1942, Canadian missionaries move in to Haiti more. In year of 1948, the seminary has been opened by Jesuits. Up to this time, the church remains the power of political that can cause major problems in country and has greatly limited its pastoral work.

See also


  1. The Faces of the Gods 42-43
  2. McAlister, Elizabeth A, Rara! Vodou, power, and performance in Haiti and its diaspora : Berkeley University of California Press.
  3. [1]
  4. The Faces of the Gods 42-43
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Christian-Voodoo relations. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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