Priest who destroyed African idols says ‘it’s about the coolest thing I’ve ever done’

MISSIONARY priest Fr William Ryan, above, who is based in Togo, recently invited his brother Peter, also a priest, to participate in engage in an act of Catholic vandalism.

He then gleefully boasted that his sibling, who was visiting him at a mission in the east African country, had used a sledgehammer to reduce, “with gusto”, a collection of idols to rubble, which were then burned.

This despicable destruction of the artifacts occurred last month when, according William Ryan, local villagers decided to “renounce their ancestral idols.”

He wrote:

I decided to delegate most of the idol destruction to Peter, who carried out the work with gusto, amid tumultuous shouts of joy from our faithful as they sang Yesu enye dzidula! (Jesus is the winner!).

Down the idols went, one after another. It all culminated with the demolition of the main pagan sanctuary, once the last idol had been removed from it and destroyed, and the placing of a large cross in the midst of the rubble to claim the site for Christ.

Fr Peter Ryan. Image via YouTube.

Peter turned to me at one point during the festivities, and confided to me that this was ‘about the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I’m sure it was, Peter. Good job, and thanks for your help.

The destruction of the idols began with Mass.

My great young Togolese assistant pastor Fr. Jonathan Togbe and I blessed bags of salt and buckets of holy water, and our altar boys carried a crucifix and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of our parish. We knew we needed the extra protection of these sacramentals.

According to William Ryan’s report a number of villagers were apprehensive about the this attack on their idols.

While the large crowd of Christians rejoiced triumphantly, there were others who stood behind them, not singing or shouting with joy but observing fearfully. They were wondering, I was told later, when the demonic retribution for this insult to the spirits would come, and what form it would take. When weeks passed and nothing bad happened, that made an impact. Jesus is the winner indeed.

Cultural imposition

Addressing the issue of cultural imposition, William Ryan wrote:

One of the organizers of the Vatican’s 2019 Amazonian Synod, an Austrian bishop whom I will charitably describe only as being very confused for a very long time, made the astonishing statement that in over forty years of missionary work in Brazil he had not baptized a single person and did not intend to ever do so. Apparently, this bishop thinks that baptizing indigenous people would be some sort of unwarranted cultural imposition.

Apparently, Jesus does not think that. His final words to his apostles were ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’ (Mt. 28:19-20).

So, idol-worship here needs to end. Africans need to freely choose to renounce it, full-stop. (I recall that a lady back home asked me if the people here couldn’t have kept their idols just as souvenirs of how they used to worship! Um … no).

An in-depth article about Christian vandalism posted to Bad News About Christianity concluded:

As the tentacles of Christianity have spread overseas it has become expert at destroying other cultures. Undeveloped countries find missionary activity increasingly unacceptable.

At the time of writing over 75 countries have excluded Christian missionaries as undesirable, and the number is steadily increasing at around 3 per year.

Not to be thwarted, missionaries run undercover illegal operations, referring to themselves as tentmakers after St Paul, who did the same thing (Acts 18:1-4). The story is the same from the Americas to Africa, Indo-China, and Australasia.

All around the world the sad refuse of humanity can be found bobbing in the wake of well-meaning Christian missionaries.

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2 responses to “Priest who destroyed African idols says ‘it’s about the coolest thing I’ve ever done’”

  1. Re: ‘….over 75 countries have excluded Christian missionaries as undesirable’ and ‘missionaries run undercover illegal operations,…’ I can’t comment about the destruction of idols, but as a former missions supporter for 50yrs, I know so many examples of just this. Compassion was expelled from India as the (admittedly theocratic) hindu government said though it cloaked its work in humanitarian disguise, it’s primary purpose was evangelism. And just before deconversion, I was invited to meet a veterinary lecturer who was working in a college in a closed country but was actually a ‘brave’ missionary sent by her UK church….I didn’t go to her meeting….but like to think of her telling her students they needed jesus as she stuck her hand up a cow’s backside, or castrated a pig!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am puzzled (as usual) that the worshippers of their own idols, the Mexican nailed to a stick, his mummy and his daddy the ghost (surely the world’s most idolatrous religion), profess to deny idolatry!


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