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Roman Catholicism in Somaliland

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Somaliland is an unrecognized de facto state in East Africa. The Holy See, in line with all other UN member states, does not recognize the independence of Somaliland, favouring a peaceful solution of unity for all of Somalia. Very few native Christians exist and, owing to its unrecognized status, few expatriate Christian are in the country either.

Background

Properly speaking there is no Christianity in Somaliland. The few Christians, perhaps one or two hundred (in a region of more than 3,500,000 (2008 Est.)), that can actually be counted, have come from the schools and orphanages of the Catholic missions of Aden, Djibouti, and of Berbera.[1] The closest currently functioning diocese is the Roman Catholic Diocese of Djibouti, to the north of Somaliland, although it nominally falls under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mogadiscio. No organized church, including the Roman Catholic Church, operates. The religion of Somaliland is overwhelmingly Islamic.

History

There has been Catholic missionary activity in Somaliland, but since the Somali Civil War, no Catholic missions operate. In colonial days, British Somaliland was under the care of the Vicariate Apostolic of Arabia, like the Vicariate Apostolic of the Gallas (including French Somaliland as well as its Ethiopian main territory) confided to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. While Ethiopia has an ancient Orthodox Church and native Christianity for nearly 1800 years, ethnic Somalis did not convert in great numbers. Efforts at expanding the church were focused in southern Somalia where Italian colonists were immigrating. British Somaliland was left generally to the Church of England, which did not prioritize the small protectorate. Italian Somaliland was detached in 1904 from the Vicariate Apostolic of Zanzibar, erected into the Prefecture Apostolic of Benadir, and confided to the ancient Order of the Holy Trinity or Trinitarians.

References

  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Somaliland". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.