Friday, January 25, 2013

Catholic bishops blast Oritsejafor

Catholic bishops blast OritsejaforThe Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has asked the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to exercise moderation in its approach to national issues.
In a telephone interview with National Mirror yesterday, President of CBCN and Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev (Dr) Ignatius Kaigama, said the “Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor-led CAN has adopted an approach rebellious in style and fiery in character; a trend that does not promote the much needed religious unity and peaceful co-existence the country needs at these trying times.”

According to Archbishop Kaigama, the hasty reaction to the decision of the Catholic Church to temporarily pull out of CAN by the association’s spokesman in the 19 Northern states and Abuja, Mr. Sunday Oibe, was a confirmation of the combative tendency that has become the norm.
He said: “It is a wrong and false premise for him (Oibe) to start commenting on something that is wrong and that is the kind of rebellious attitude we (the Catholic Bishops) are up against. That is the style that characterizes CAN now; the association is fiery and rebellious and that is not good enough for Christian unity. If the CAN spokesman has started using gutter language on the Catholic faith, we wish him good luck.”

In the meantime, the CBCN has clarified that its letter to Oritsejafor was to announce its temporary withdrawal from activities of CAN at the national level, as the church has since directed its members at state levels to continue to participate actively in the association’s functions.
This is even as it warned CAN to desist from its attempt to further link the withdrawal of the church to the failure of the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, to clinch the presidency of CAN for a second term.

He described such allusion as an insult to the Catholic Church and a diversionary tactic of shying away from addressing the very serious issues of integrity raised against CAN’s leadership.
Kaigama said: “I think CAN is just pursuing shadows and we in the Catholic Church consider that an insult to say that about Cardinal Onaiyekan. Cardinal Onaiyekan is not looking for any job or dignity from anybody, as he is a man that is fulfilled and internationally recognised. He has been President of CAN and because of his outstanding intellectual and spiritual endowments, he was consecrated Cardinal by the Holy Father. We believe that the allegation is diversionary and they are kind of avoiding the issues we are raising. Let them use same as points of meditation because, in the Catholic Church, dialogue is our name.During Onaiyekan’s presidency of CAN, he never looked for money or anything. This is just to call a dog a bad name and hang it. ”

It will be recalled that the CBCN announced it was suspending participation in CAN meetings at the national level until such a time the leadership of CAN reversed to the original vision, mission and objectives of the body.But Oibe, who addressed journalists in Abuja, had accused the catholic church of “arrogance,” saying that its decision may not be unconnected with the failed efforts by Cardinal Onaiyekan to become President of CAN for second term.

His words: “The problem of Catholics is that they always display arrogance of knowledge. They don’t want to be under anybody, but they want everybody to be under them. It doesn’t work like that because there is no seniority in CAN.There is no division in CAN and we are all speaking with one language. There are some certain elements in the leadership of CAN, led by Cardinal John Onaiyekan because he lost the CAN Presidency to Oritsejafor who has recorded a lot of achievements.”

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