What is Wrong with Healing the Family Root. Vol. 3, No. 26

The fact of healing ministry is not a new establishment in the Church. It is as old as the Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ. It started by the divine mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples ‘… go to the whole world and proclaim the gospel to all creation, cast out evils in my name and lay hands on the sick and they will get well (Mk. 16:15). The Church nevertheless, through the promptings of the Holy Spirit given to her through the Apostles. Hence, the Church dispenses this divine mandate through three pastoral approaches: ordinary, extra ordinary and sacramental. (cf. Guidelines for the Healing ministry in the Catholic Church in Nigeria, CBCN, Lagos, 1997 pgs 5 and 6).
As long as we cannot deny the reality of this divine mandate, it is also necessary to evaluate its compatibility with that of healing the family root. I wish to immediately note the fact that there is an unstated assumption behind this belief of healing the family root. As rightly clarified in our last series, it is a spiritual battle against trans-generational curses and entanglements between the past and present generations. This belief is also brought about as a result of the erroneous conception of the original sin. I do not intend to doubt the fact that certain evil doings of the Father could directly or indirectly affect the son, but at the level of trans-generational curses. This is outrightly superstitious. Let us be practical, a father who committed a crime in the community and was banished, has caused grievous harm upon his children who by that act, has lost the inheritance of their father’s possession especially land in that community. Again, a father who is a drunkard, or a lazy man could possibly influence his children with that same act. (though not always the case. Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, did not follow the lazy steps of his father, Unoka).
Of course, nowhere in the Scripture is it explicitly affirmed that people are plagued by spirits that run in their ancestral lineage. The passages that seem to uphold this retributive scheme (Deut. 28. Lev. 26, Ex. 20:3-6) are quashed by prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah, viz; The Fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge … as surely as I live, declares the sovereign lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel … the soul who sins is the one who will die. (Ezekiel. 18:3) Jeremiah also affirmed that you will no longer say, the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge. Instead, everyone will die for his own sin, whoever eats sour grapes-his own teeth will be set on edge.” (Jer. 31:29-30). Above all, no Church’s doctrine or tradition teach that people’s problems are foundationally caused by ancestral demons. It is a strange teaching to Christianity to say that families are under curses of which ancestral demons are present in those families to fulfil the curses. It is a neglect to the value of our evalsting redemption wrought by the pascal mystery (life, suffering, death and resurrection) of Jesus Christ. The cause of this erroneous belief shall be the topic of our next discussion

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