April 15, 2024
News Nigeria

‘Church in Nigeria must pay attention to doctrinal deviations, pastoral malpractices,’ Fr. Akinwale appeals to Catholic Bishops

By PJ Usanga

In his Paper on Synod on Synodality: Areas of concern for the Church in Nigeria, Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Anthony Akinwale has appealed to Catholic Bishops in Nigeria to pay attention to doctrinal deviations, liturgical aberrations, and pastoral malpractice, which appear to be going on in the church unnoticed. He lamented that in Nigeria, the Catholic space has been invaded by Pentecostalism, and noted that this should be of more concern to the Nigerian church than blessing of same-sex couples.

“It is a well-known fact that in Nigeria, our Catholic space has been invaded by Pentecostalism. I prefer to call it contemporary Nigerian religiosity in its expression within and outside the Catholic Church. 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. Thankfully, the Catholic Bishopsโ€™ Conference of Nigeria looked into this phenomenon.”

Prof. Akinwale who was addressing the Conference of Nigerian Catholic Bishops during the CBCN first 2024 plenery assembly, noted one important phenomenon the Conference needs to look at, is not to stifle but to discern the Spirit. He emphasised that the explosion of ministries in the Church in Nigeria established and patronized by some priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful have eroded the credibility of Christianity, of Catholicism in particular, in the country.

“Some of these ministries and ministers pretend to be Catholic. They even display statues of our Blessed on their websites or expose the Blessed Sacrament in a way that points to sacrilege. Fake prophecies and arrangee miracles are being touted before a traumatized, bewildered and gullible populace while shepherds fail to rescue the flock from ravening, ravaging and manipulative wolves.

“The populism of these ministries, the advertisement of un-authenticated miracles and prophecies, the opium these ministries administer on our people, erode the credibility of Christianity, of Catholicism in particular, in our country.”

Explaining that the ongoing synod is not a political consensus, but in the ecclesial sense of the word, the desire to be in communion with God who is truth, advised that it should never be an arrogant pretension that they have found the truth, but rather, a unity in their desire to be found by Truth.

Prof. Akinwale who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Augustine University, Ilara-Epe, Lagos, urged that despite these risks, the Church of our time, the Church in Nigeria in particular, must develop the courage of martyrs of old in receiving, preserving and transmitting the Gospel that comes to them from the apostles. He challenged the church to 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.

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