Celebrated author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has revealed that her family’s experience during her parent’s funeral has reaffirmed her reservations about churches in Nigeria.
Chimamanda, who has always been vocal about her reservations about some of the doctrines and practices in Catholic churches in Nigeria, shared this in the latest edition of the L’osservatore Romano weekly bulletin.
The 43-year-old writer, who lost her parents in quick succession – her dad in June 2020 and her mom in March 2021, alleged that the church didn’t treat her family with compassion despite the fact that they were grieving.
“My family’s experiences during my parents’ funerals served to reaffirm, if not renew, my reservations about the Nigerian church.
So much could have been handled with compassion for the grieving but was not. So many opportunities to show dignity were left unused.
Our communication with the local church was more of an exercise in priestly power than anything else; we begged and negotiated for a suitable funeral date, with an exaggerated but insincere deference shown to the priest lest he change his mind and not agree to the funeral.”
Chimamanda also revealed that during her mother’s thanksgiving service, the parish priest criticized her statement in one of her interviews, where she said she stopped attending Catholic churches in Nigeria because activities became “way too much” about money, fundraising, and thanksgiving.
“At the Thanksgiving Mass, a strange concept, as giving thanks was the last thing I felt like doing a day after the funeral — my siblings and I were seated in the front pews, all wearing purple, my mother’s favorite color, all still in shocked disbelief to have buried her so soon after my father.
I was immersed in sadness and did not realize right away when the parish priest began to criticise me about a press interview I had given a few months before.
After the interview, there was both criticism and support of my views, as one would expect, but I had not given that interview any thought in months. And so I was shocked by the parish priest standing at the altar and issuing a rejoinder, during my mother’s funeral, in terms so petty and so ill-timed as to trivialise the crushing enormity of her death.”