Abeokuta, September 11 – 20, 2019. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a powerfully worded Communiqué after her Second Plenary Meeting at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, West of Nigeria.
In the document, the Bishops recognized the Petrine authority of Pope Francis in these trying times and recommitted their loyalty to the Supreme Pontiff.
As Nigerian Bishops living in the challenging and contrasting realities of the entire space of the Nation, the Prelates beckon and plead on the Government and politicians to strive for justice and give everyone his/her due if peace and any form of development could be achieved. Hence peace, according to the Church’s definition, is not merely the absence of war, but fundamentally, the presence of justice. Government must be fair in its approach to the diverse religions and ethnic manifestations of Nigeria.
It is easy to affirm that the Nigerian Bishops were firm in believing that the Government, at all tiers, has all the mandate and the tools to effectively respond to the various religious, socio-economic and ethnic crises in Nigeria.
Without equivocation, the Communiqué denounces the xenophobic attacks by South Africans. An issue that has ignited international outcry and total condemnation. While sympathizing with the victims, largely Nigerians, they conclude that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
The Bishops also noted with joy the Pope Francis’ declaration of the Month of October as the Extraordinary Mission Month in celebration of the centenary of the great document “Maximum Illud” by Pope Benedict XV. This is the time to reflect on the meaning and consequence of missionary mandate of Christ.
The Communiqué concludes with a call to the political authorities to be fair and equitable in the sharing of the Nigerian common wealth. That is the major catalyst to diffusing the enormous strife and angst across the land today.