The Catholic Bishop of Ekwuluobia Diocese, in Anambra, Most Rev. Peter Okpaleke has urged priests to shun prosperity and commercial preaching in churches.
Okpaleke made the call on Saturday during the 51st Convocation of the Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu.
NAN reports that 224 seminarians of 2020 and 2021 academic sections were awarded degrees on Theology and Philosophy.
Speaking in a lecture entitled “Igbo Catholicism in 2035” Okpaleke said Igbo Catholicism would suffer negative bias due to changings in the world.
According to him, we are now witnessing what he called neo- Christianity which is the other side of Pentecostalism, most especially, the prosperity version of it.
“The emphasis of Neo- Christianity is based on power and acquisition of spiritual powers.
“Some men and women of God are rumoured of obtaining powers to mesmerise people and pool crowd through deities which is recognised in traditional religion.
“The name of Christ is shouted using occultic powers,” Okpaleke said.
He advised that things of God should be first than personal ambition, stressing that they should not behave like Pentecostals both in their teaching and activities.
Okpaleke added that they should avoid private businesses and dinning with politicians, saying that all these were not their core mandate.
According to him, vibrant Catholicism in Igboland entails person loving God and others.
He further said that priests could bore their minds on revolution change in Information Communication Technology (ICT).
He noted that many priests spent a lot of time on social media and other entertainment programmes than things of God.
The bishop added that efforts should be redoubled on the part of seminarians, priests and the entire church to arrest the ugly trend.
“To address this challenge means going back to the core ministry of the church,” he said.
In his remarks, the Rector of the seminary, Rev. Fr. Albert Ikpenwa, advised the graduands to be mindful of their conducts and avoid commercialising the gospel of Christ.
He noted that church business was now thriving while self acclaimed pastors and prophets taking advantage of the gullibility and vulnerable ones.
“The expectations required of you are quite demanding as the church expect holy and well-focused priests who will bring people closer to God,” Ikpenwa said.
He however, urged them to eschew all forms of materialistic tendencies and anomalies, saying that was the core mandate of Christ.
Meanwhile, the best graduating student in theology, Rev. Thaddeus Atuegwu said it took a lot of hardwork and consistence to sail through.
“It takes the grace of God for us to make it through the seminary,” he said. (NAN)