BY ETOP EKANEM
LAGOS — THE Parish Priest of Catholic Church of the Ascension, Lagos, Rev. Fr. Michael Etegene, has advised the priests to avoid scandals, saying they cannot minister as priests without moral integrity.
The cleric who stated this in his Homily during the celebration of Chrism Mass at SS Michael, Raphael & Gabriel Catholic Church, Satellite Town, Lagos, Tuesday, said: “Let us avoid scandals because scandals can vitiate the unity of the priesthood. Scandals have probably cost the church what heresies do not cost her.
How fruitful our priestly ministry would be depends on how prayerful and prudent we can be especially given the fact that some women are prowling round like wounded lions, looking for whose priestly ministry to devour. Stand up to them and be strong in faith.
“This is one of the areas where we priests are mostly challenged today. As far as the world is concerned, our credibility as priests hinges on moral integrity. Let us not give opportunities to the enemies of the church to cast shadows on the moral integrity of our dear church.”
To the faithful, Fr. Etegene enjoined them to continue to stand for the faith “particularly at this time in Nigeria when greed and violence, under the cover of religion, have led to the onslaught of our people, especially in the northern part of the country.”
“Today, Nigeria, our beloved nation that was one time ‘bound in freedom, peace and unity’ is now bleeding to death under the knife of Boko Haram. Nigeria is fast becoming the home of death, where men, women and children are slaughtered in their numbers. Never in the history of our nation has corruption and greed driven human nature to eliminating over 500 souls in a city in less than a month.
“As we prepare for the year of faith as declared by the Holy Father, we call on our dear faithful, illustrious sons and daughters of the church to stand tall and defend our faith, to stand tall and be counted on the path of the Church.”
On the current blood-letting in the northern part of the country, the Bishop Emeritus of Ekiti Diocese, retired Bishop Michael Fagun, who represented the Archbishop of Metropolitan See of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, said anybody involved in wasting anybody’s life for the sake of anything is not a believer in God “because you cannot kill for God. Those who are throwing bombs everywhere are not believers in God.”