July 14, 2024
News Nigeria

2024 CBCN PLENARY: SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF PROF. AKINWALE’S PAPER ON SYNOD ON SYNODALITY

By Rev. Fr. Michael Nsikak Umoh, CSN

  1. Pastors are teachers of apostolic doctrine, not teachers of doctrines they have invented, nor proponents or spokespersons of ideologies at odds with apostolic doctrine. Their exercise of pastoral office involves receiving, preserving and transmitting apostolic doctrine without distorting it.
  1. The Synod should be a journeying together within tradition and not away from tradition. If pastors are teachers, they must not to do pastoral work without doctrine, they must not exercise the will without the intellect. We cannot truly love without being truthful in love.
  2. While it reaffirms the doctrine that marriage is permanent and indissoluble union of a man and a woman, its affirmation of the possibility of blessing same-sex couples undermines the doctrine it reaffirms. If we as a Church embrace a pastoral praxis that undermines our doctrine, if our pastoral praxis is at odds with the doctrine we preach, it is our credibility itself that is undermined.
  1. While the spirit must not be stifled, every spirit is to be tested. That is what discernment is about. And the outcome of the process of discernment may be the inability or unwillingness of some who, like the rich young man, will go away sad, or of some disciples, who will find the teaching and language of the Gospel unacceptable.
  1. “In looking inwards, we must not ignore what discourages. The Church in Nigeria must pay attention to doctrinal deviations, liturgical aberrations, and pastoral malpractice. It is a well-known fact that in Nigeria, our Catholic space has been invaded by Pentecostalism. …  This is a greater concern than blessing of same-sex couples. We have witnessed an explosion of new religious communities some with little or nothing in terms of spirituality and charism of consecrated life.

 

  1. It is the explosion of ministries in the Church in Nigeria established and patronized by some priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful. Some of these ministries and ministers pretend to be Catholic.A more critically-minded generation will emerge and is already emerging that would repudiate Catholicism because it is unable to see the difference between the Pentecostal pastor and a Catholic priest.
  1. Our seminary formation must be constantly reviewed to attain the objective of safeguarding the faith. And the Church recognizes that it ends neither with priestly nor with episcopal ordination.
  1. A synod is not a political consensus. For there is political synod and there is ecclesial synod. The former is what happens when political activists and ideologues strategies and “walk together” in their quest for votes and for political power.
  1. A synod, again in the true ecclesial sense of the word and not in the sense of political or ideological consensus, is participation in the task of going to the whole world to announce that we have been found by Truth while we were seeking truth.
  1. Consequently, if we wish to preach a Gospel that is domesticated, customized and attractive, a Gospel that makes the world applaud our political correctness or our politically correct pastoral initiatives, then we had better forget going on this mission. For there is no such Gospel except in political campaign slogans.
  1. The initial proclamation of the Gospel by Peter on Pentecost Day invited the people to conversion. Our mission is to invite people to conversion. The Gospel demands conversion. The invitation of the Gospel is a demand. Such invitation will or may attract unpleasant consequences visited on the preacher of the Gospel.
  1. Despite these risks, the Church of our time, the Church in Nigeria in particular, must have the courage of martyrs of old in receiving, preserving and transmitting the Gospel that comes to us from the apostles. She will exercise this courage by identifying, raising and addressing issues of concern for apostolic tradition, for the synodal process, and for social and ecclesial realities that confront her.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *