The Catholic Church will henceforth sanction priests who use their ecclesiastical positions to endorse politicians .
The President of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria CBCN, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze gave this warning in his adress at the opening Mass of the Bishop’s Conference in Enugu, Sunday August 22.
Speaking on Church and politicians, Archbishop Akubueze, said: “We will like to state clearly that the Church is keenly interested in the political situation in Nigeria. Although the Church does not support any political party, she praises every government that prioritizes the welfare of the citizens. At the same time, the Church condemns vehemently any government policies that are not people-friendly.
“Having stated the above, we must make it clear once again, that no cleric is expected to use his position or ecclesiastical property for promoting what appears to be partisan politics. The Church strongly believes that all political parties do have something or persons that can lead. There is no political party monopoly of good leaders. There is no political party monopoly of bad leaders. Therefore, it is imperative that clerics must avoid every form of political endorsement using the ecclesiastical positions given to them”.
“At the same time, it is not the practice of the Church to identify unelected leaders through some form of prophetic visions or dreams or revelation”.
“The Church does not and no one who speaks as a cleric represents the Church when he pronounces a particular candidate as God’s anointed political leader”.
The role of clerics is to educate the people to choose leaders who will work for the good of humanity. We call on diocesan bishops to ensure that appropriate actions are taken immediately when any priest or religious violates this traditional Catholic belief”.
On the situation in Nigeria, Archbishop Akubeze commended Nigerians for their patience in the face of what appears to be repeated government failure to meet the minimum requirement of the government.
“Nigerians are bearing a high level of inflation, depreciation of the naira, increased poverty, shortage of food because of herders/farmers crisis, insecurity to life and property, insensitivity and lack of Federal Government response to the cries of many Nigerians in the area of economic revolution, structural development, through eradication of corruption, avoidance of selective sectional appointments to important Federal positions. “The call for constitutional reforms that respect the rights of every Nigerian, and provide opportunities for equal access to the resources of Nigeria is something that should be debated fairly”.
“The right to self-determination should follow a civilized pattern and should not be demonized. The Church believes that the Government must avoid criminalizing those who disagree with them”.