Rev. Fidelis A. Olokunboro
PhD Candidate at Notre Dame
Rev. Fidelis A. Olokunboro, a Catholic priest from Nigeria, is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Fidelis conducts research in Political and Liberation Theologies (Latin America and Africa), Global Catholicism and African Religions, Social Ethics; Critical Race Theory; and Christian Personalism, Poverty Studies, and Catholic Social Teachings. He is a guest columnist with a Nigerian Newspaper, Blueprint, and recently published a book chapter, “African Folk Christianity: A Case of Reformed African Traditional Religion with Creedal Ambiguity or a Valid African Christianity?” (2019).
Through his research, Father Fidelis looks at reducing poverty and inequality through a theologized right-based approach. According to Fidelis, poverty is not just a problem of exclusion and social deprivation; it also denies its victims the material expression, and the intrinsic quality of being human—human dignity. Using Nigeria as the case study, his research investigates the reality of poverty, its impacts on the human dignity of the poor, and how it catalyzes inequality. The consequences of poverty, denial of human dignity, and the generation of inequality demand that the approach to reducing poverty should be right-based because inequality and denial of human dignity are issues of human rights. However, human rights are premised on human dignity, and human dignity is predicated on the theology that God created man and woman in God’s image and likeness. By implication, poverty does not just assault human rights, but also God’s image in the poor, and as such, poverty presents social, moral, and theological problems. The work of Fidelis will describe poverty as such and propose a right-based solution that is invested in the theology of the person.