By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA — THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, yesterday harped on the need for the government and the Church to work together in addressing the nation’s challenges, saying religious leaders were not ordained to abuse those in power.
In a homily delivered by the metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja, Most Revd Ignatius Kaigama, at the opening mass of CBCN’s First 2020 Plenary Meeting in FCT, the Catholic Bishops regretted that often times worshippers expected clerics, each time they mounted the pulpit, to abuse those in authority for causing poverty and social deprivation.
According to them, that is not the message of the gospel.
Kaigama said: “We must work jointly to eradicate or at least reduce the level of poverty; the level of diseases, sickness and ignorance, unnecessary deaths.
“So much is happening; our primary task as religious leaders is to steer the people to conversion and holiness. But, because of poverty and hardship being suffered by the people, preachers are forced to become miracle workers or political revolutionaries throwing verbal bombs, missiles, grenades, poisonous gas from the pulpit.
“Yes, we must denounce evil; we must denounce corruption; we must denounce reckless spending that cost the poor of their dignity; we must do that at all times.
“But why should Churches, the altar, the Mosque become where we antagonise our leaders instead of seeking solutions?”
He commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for identifying with Nigerians, including the Church, saying there was a sense of oneness each time leaders identified with the people.
He said further: “I am so happy that our Vice President is here. It is not just being yet a very profound sacramental blessings that you are here; when you are with us and we are suffering, we are together but when there is a gap with you, there is a feeling of insensitivity.
“We need to have access to our leaders; we need to have access to the president, to the vice president, to the ministers; they need to be closer to the people that elected them; this is very important.’’
Other dignitaries at the mass were Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state, Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, members of the National Assembly among others.