So the growing preoccupation, apprehension and dissatisfaction regarding the identity of capuchin life and authentic witness is genuine. It sends a message that there is a need to formulate a model of formation which addresses the requirements of current environment or develop a concept of formation with sense of the local conditions, a consideration of the local practices, a participation and input of other players. If you all agree with me, we could simply replace the wording of the theme to read “Formation of brothers with Jesus of Yesterday, Jesus of Today and Jesus of Tomorrow.”
Many of the challenges arise out of divergent views of reality and their applications. There has always been a war of perceptions attributable to lack of knowledge on each other’s world view. There is a basic contrast of the African way of organizing reality and the European way of organizing reality. Perhaps the contents and perceptions herein will help to identify possible areas of conflict, to recognize such conflicts and work through them, to develop a positive appreciation that the cultures can enrich each other. Most of all I hope it can help to smooth some of the tensions that arise at times between the two divides.
On account of the globalization of systems and values the world is going through; Africa faces similar challenges in terms of meaning, values, depth, creativity etc. Europeans have been great at some aspects of the human journey. But they neglected other aspects i.e. of those other human groups in other parts of the world have nurtured and developed. To think that human progress and development have to follow the European model as the best, only indicates how deep and insensitive this ignorance of humanity can be.
The declining moral probity, inordinate materialistic tendencies and individual drive for socio-economic independence and other observable misdemeanours affect the quality of formation. Is it a situation attributable to a breakdown in family? The final product of formation, the friar, manifests traits that call to question what happens in the formation centres and why certain obvious shortcomings are getting rampant by the day: The accumulation of personal wealth, power, flamboyance and quest for influence are seen as a measure for successful priesthood. There is no doubt that the consumer oriented society of today that encourages the young to intensely seek after a well-being is built on the matrices of individualism, materialism, and hedonistic interpretation of the human life is a big challenge to formation, fraternal living and ministry. Such an orientation totally negates the idea of sacrifice and commitment to spiritual and religious values. Just as we see societal crisis of values so are our fraternities today, we observe a crisis of values; insincerity, dishonesty, absenteeism from regular common programs, unauthorized outings or returning in the compound in the wrong hours have become common place. Courtesies, respect and fraternal communication and exchange of ideas continue to decline among the friars.