The Catholic Church in Nigeria in contemporary society
Notable quotes

Notable quotes

“Any weaponisation of the sacrament that Christ freely entrusted to us for the sanctification of his people goes against the mind of Christ and the mission of the Church” (23 October 2023).

“I-have-arrived mentality stirs up the entitlement mentality, where everything should come to us, and people should always bow to us even if we abuse them, misuse our authority, or lie to them with the gospel” (7 August 2023).

“An institution survives to the extent it can manage internal conflicts” (31 July 2023).

“Effective inter-religious dialogue requires that each religion fully understands itself. Criticising Islam’s strategy while ignorant or refusing to admit that we were once guilty of that same strategy undermines our moral vantage position in any inter-religious discussion” (24 April 2023).

“The growing number of Muslims doesn’t necessarily reflect Islam’s persuasiveness” – A.S. Ibrahim (10 April 2023)

“The most important basic knowledge in Christian-Muslim relationships is that both religions differ significantly in the extent of their influence and control of daily life” (20 March 2023).

“In the Nigerian context, I describe environmental ecumenism as the working together of Christian denominations to improve waste management and reduce pollution to promote healthy living” (13 March 2023).

“An increasing number have left the Catholic Church because we, the clergy, abused or failed to give them value, even through the sacraments” (6 March 2023).

“De-emphasising our superiority does not negate our apostolicity” (27 February 2023).

“Customary marriages are identity-based and identity-driven. No one is born a Catholic. I was first an Igbo before being a Christian, and then a priest. Therefore, customary marriages are not contracted for ideological or practical reasons or in rejection of Christian marriage” (2 January 2023). 

“An African priest in the twenty-first century who, amidst the cultural reawakening, continues to discourage or even prevent people from using native theological names at baptism is neck-deep in an identity crisis. Sadly, the worst thing that can happen to someone is not knowing his identity. The person is lost” (10 October 2022).

“What is happening today is not neo-paganism but a cultural reawakening. The danger of insisting that it is neo-paganism is that we further deepen our identity crisis. Second, we develop a perspective that those involved in this trend are evil; a perception that shuts the door for evangelisation” (3 October 2022).

“Institutions are not built on arbitrariness and no system survives on spontaneity” (26 September 2022).

“The religious reason we need to safeguard our authority jealously is that religion is increasingly becoming a commodity in Nigeria. Simply being the true Church and having the Eucharist are no longer sufficient to keep our members except we actively work towards keeping them” (12 September 2022).

“The Church’s official neutrality is a Christological strategy that ensures that the pastor always reaches all people. It limits the high political risk of defeat and political backlash. It safeguards the moral authority of the Church and gives the Church a soft landing in case of defeat” (22 August 2022).

“Neutrality has been the strength of the Church throughout history and it is an enviable asset that enables it to mediate in any conflict around the world” (18 July 2022).

“Be shepherds with ‘the smell of the sheep’…people capable of living, of laughing and crying with your people, in a word, of communicating with them” (Pope Francis – Speech to the community of San Luigi dei Francesi on 7 June 2021).

“Since by our vocation we are spiritual doctors and it is the sick who need the doctor, it means that the type of sickness a patient suffers determines the action of the doctor” (27 June 2022)

“Administering the sacraments and burying the dead are responsibilities entrusted to us, and should never be denied to people, except on grounds of liceity and validity” (20 June 2022).

“Before we lay too much emphasis that the Holy Spirit is speaking through us even as we continue to abuse our authority, mistreat the flock entrusted to us, and undermine the salvation of souls (including ours), let us remember that even when Jesus (God) spoke directly, those who listened to him still differed. Peter even rebuked Jesus, albeit privately” (13 June 2022)

“If a bishop or superior privately asks us for feedback, it is uncharitable and unchristian to hide the full realities or worse still, lie that everything is perfect when we know they are not” (6 June 2022).

“How we currently react to contrary views as priests, seminarians, and ordinary members of a religious institute determines how we will react as bishops and superiors in the future” (6 June 2022)

“We are simply “errand boys”—a term packaged as “servants of the servants of God” and beautified as “vicar of Christ” according to our level on the hierarchy. We are still errand boys, even while acting in the person of Christ the Head. The reason is that every single religious function we perform in the Church comes from the ministry of Christ, and they are to sanctify (feed-tend) his flock” (16 May 2022).

If some Church authority teaches something against established and universally accepted doctrine, we are not bound by conscience to accept it. If I teach it, I should expect differing views” (25 April 2022).

“The content of the faith cannot be transmitted in a way contrary to the faith itself: Jesus taught us to welcome, love, serve and not judge; it is a frightening thing when, precisely in the name of the faith, counter-witness is rendered to the Gospel” – Pope Francis – Audience with Delegations of the Indigenous Tribes of Canada, 1 April 2022

If we will be forced to apologise in the future, why not apologise now, and save our successors the consequences of a wounded Church, a reduced population, a financially weak Church with its attendant challenges to the Church’s evangelising mission, and the trouble of cleaning up our mistakes?” (17 April 2022).

“Our vocation is a response to God’s call and not that of the Bishop, Major Superior or Mother General” (3 January 2022).

“The vine-dresser in John 15 is not interested in branches with beautiful flowers but in those that bear fruits. The Church is the mystical body of Jesus Christ (Mysticum Corpus Iesu Christi), and it is ONLY Christ’s criteria for the mission that should govern everything we do. Every other thing is secondary” (3 January 2022).

“An arrogant priest or religious is never a good minister because attending to the flock requires humility, tolerance, compassion, and the ability to engage all—just as Jesus did. Simply put, we cannot be good fathers and spiritual directors to those we denigrate” (27 December 2021)

“The pursuit of success for its sake is the major cause of a vocation crisis” (27 December 2021)

“Jesus is not interested in the number of our academic degrees or our grades at graduation; he is not interested in our wealth or talents, or awards, but in how our knowledge, wealth, and talents bear fruit in the lives of others” (27 December 2021)

“A leader is to lead, and an assistant is to assist the leader. Whether it is an assistant trying to push over or outshine the leader, or a leader trying to suppress the assistant—none is being faithful to his duty” (13 December 2021)

The level of spirituality of a priest is largely influenced by how often he confesses (6 December 2021).

“A better disposition should be to pray that God blesses our intentions and promotes our interests. He knows how best to do it” (29 November 2021)

“Happy are those who do not expect, for they shall not be disappointed” – Fr Anselm Ekhelar.

“If we really love God and his Church and want to feed the flock as Jesus told Peter, we will realise that there is no alternative to working together” (24 October 2021)

“Righteousness or purity of heart is not avoiding certain sins but avoiding all sins” (11 October 2021).

“While we can never please everyone and some people will still go away no matter our good intentions or how we try, we should not actively increase their number by our actions and inactions” (4 October 2021).

“We need to realise that preaching ONLY about heaven is not sufficient to keep our members in the long term. It has never worked” (27 September 2021)

“We need to realise that helping others is a response to their prayer point, and therefore, God can use anyone to respond to that prayer” (13 September 2021)

“When we say that everyone is doing the wrong thing, we should ask ourselves how many people we have actually seen or heard about” (6 September 2021).

“Detachment is the first step to happiness” (30 August 2021)

“Every idea is important because it either confirms a right idea, introduces a new perspective to things, or restates an idea that has been confirmed as wrong”. (23 August 2021)

“People may have made mistakes in the past, but it does not mean that they cannot make genuine points today”. (16 August 2021)

“Research is indispensable to effective evangelisation”. (11 August 2021)

“You are important because there are things that only you can do and can do in the way you can do them. This is the beauty and wonder of God’s creation”. (2 August 2021)

“For everyone on the stage, there is a backroom staff working behind the scenes. If the one on the stage feels the staff are dispensable, he should try to do both jobs simultaneously”. (25 July 2021)

“Since through baptism we acquire ecclesiastical citizenship, should we wait till children complete their eighteen birthday before they become members of Christ’s faithful”? (19 July 2021)

A new existential approach to theology entails “the adoption of elements of physical sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, laws, and culture for the purpose of expounding Catholic doctrine in terms appreciable to contemporary society”. (12 July 2021)

“Every discipline either focuses on understanding the identity of God, an aspect of his creation, or how he wants us to live”. (5 July 2021)