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Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Universal Church Should be Proud of the Role Played by Nigerian Bishops -Bishop Kukah

Delivering a report at the conference "New Challenges for Catholic Peace building" organized in Rome on May 30 by the Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace" and Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah briefly traced the role carried out by the Church of Nigeria since independence in 1960, until now to preserve national unity and reconcile men, especially after the Biafran war (1967-70). He emphasizes that the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have played a role of which the universal Church should be proud." "If the Nigerian state had taken note of these interventions, perhaps our condition would have been different,".

He however pointed that though the Church in Nigeria has played a leading role in national peace efforts, She can still do more, especially in promoting a political class inspired by Gospel values and the teaching of the Social Doctrine of the Church. He also observed that "The average Nigerian citizen, whether Muslim or Christian, acknowledges that the Catholic bishops were truly the voice of the voiceless. The real challenge is to carry out a more active role in changing the character of the political landscape, perhaps favoring a more energetic role of the faithful." The Bishop also noted that "there are already some prominent Catholics in public life such as governors, senators, ministers and so on. But they are more the product of other political influences based on ethnic support or of a party, and not on the fact that they are Catholics." This requires, according to him, investing in the formation of the faithful in order to learn the social Doctrine of the Church (and also the Nigerian Constitution).

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