*Accuses them of loving material things
By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Nnewi—Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Fr. Matthew Hassan Kukah has lashed out at church leaders for not living what they professed, accusing them of pursuing material things and abandoning the three aspects of religious life, which are consecration, communion, and mission.
Bishop Kukah disclosed this in a keynote address titled, “Missionary Strategies for Evangelization and Nation Building” which he presented at the 2nd Symposium and 50th Death Anniversary of Archbishop Charles Heery, the founder of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ, IHM, held at Madonna Renewal Centre, Nkpor and Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha Anambra State.
Also the Archbishop of Onitsha and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke at the same occasion asked men of God to emulate the examples shown by the revered Archbishop Heery who spent his entire working life in evangelization.
“In terms of consecration, you profess the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience according to a particular charisma and sharing in a specific mission. God knows what you profess and certainly people know what you profess, but undoubtedly today, people question your way of living it.
“While many people in Nigeria today suffer poverty and want, church leaders and men of God who have taken a public vow of poverty, enjoy at least adequate material well-being and often have very comfortable houses, cars, and top technology in phones and computers and so on.
“To that something different which Jesus asked the rich young man to do, ’sell all we own and give the money to the poor and come follow me ‘ is something we religious leaders cannot do because of our many obligations. It is something many will not want to do because of the securities it affords us.
“In terms of mission, it has been said that responding to the needs of the people determines where and how we live as church leaders, such as preaching of the gospel where it is most needed. God is asking religious leaders to use not only your personnel, but also your houses, your space, your other resources to be of service to the people in whatever way we can.
“In terms of communion, as church leaders, we say we witness through our lives to the communion of all people where all things are shared and used for the common good. Yet people see so many church leaders in Nigeria today who cannot live in communion with others because of tribalism and other divisions.”