Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, has said the Catholic Church would resist any attempt by any of its priests to engage in ‘personality cult’ in the name of adoration.
The reference to ‘personality cult’ was a reaction to the recent outburst of Ejike Mbaka, a Catholic Priest in Enugu State where he accused the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, of being ‘stingy’, hence he won’t win the 2023 presidential election.
Mbaka has since apologized.
Kaigama, in his homily at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Mpape, Abuja, urged Catholic priests to take advantage of the respect they command among the faithful to strengthen unity, peace and love among the people and communities instead of fanning flames of discord.
He said: “Priests should not allow the Mass to become an occasion for drama, exaggerated inculturation or utterances that are purely political or mundane. People come to Jesus at Mass to get spiritually nourished by the word and the bread of life, and refreshed for the long, rough and tough journey to heaven.
To this end, approved Catholic ‘adoration centres’ in Nigeria should really be for adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, not where to intimidate, manipulate and extort people or where a priest attempts to create a personality cult by careless and insensitive utterances and drama.
“The Eucharist is a sacrament of healing. It’s expected of us to pray and wait patiently and expectantly, but do not time God or expect instant and dramatic results. Other than physical healing, there is also a very great need for inner healing.
“A sad chapter in our history as a nation which calls for the healing of memory is the unfortunate civil war which still fills many with very sad memories that are a challenge to social cohesion in the country. After over 55 years, the Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and others need healing and purification of memory.
“We must all admit the war was wrong and immoral and should have never been fought. We must transcend prejudices, stereotypes and barriers to build bridges of love and peace. Our major preoccupation during this season of politics should be to search and elect only credible and capable political leaders who can unite us beyond the narrow confines of tribe and religion.
“By believing in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, our pathological fear of witches and evil spirits should diminish. When confronted with sickness, childlessness or material deprivation, we should not rush to soothsayers or even to some so-called men of God who may not be any different from deceptive fetish agents.”