Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 February 2013
Since the 1980s, Christianity – in the wider context of a ‘return of the religious’ on a global scale (de Vries 2001:3) – has come to have widespread acceptance, not only in many regions of Africa, but also in Western Uganda. As Catholicism is a ‘world religion’, understanding the specific history of the Catholic Church at the periphery in Western Uganda cannot be restricted to an analysis that treats it as a purely self-contained social and cultural unit. The religious arena in which the Catholic Church operates extends far beyond Rome, and even Tooro and has gained a new quality since the end of the 1980s. Especially through the Charismatic movement, the localized Church became part of a wider movement that has been dominated by North American believers but is becoming increasingly transnational with time (cf. Coleman 2000:13).
Also in Tooro, in the face of increasing marginalization in global terms, the Charismatic movement within the Catholic Church provides an important vehicle for international contacts as well as exchanges. The localization of the Catholic Church in Western Uganda has thus to be seen as a process taking place in a field of tensions between the local and the global. This entanglement of local and global forces is further complicated by the play of oppositions between local churches and movements. In a pluralist process, different Christians-in-the-making are involved, interacting among themselves and their neighbours. In fact, the localization of different Christianities is also mediated by local oppositions and differences (Werbner 1997:8).