The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has condemned the investment of billions of naira into the running of today’s churches in Nigeria.
In his Christmas message, Mr. Kukah said religion should not be a profit-driven venture.
Mr. Kukah said there were times when the Catholic Church was guilty of “Simony” – the practice of making profit out of sacred things.
“The embarrassing billions being committed to spiritual matters is an act of outright criminality and nothing to do with the Christian faith. This is one of the damning betrayals of Jesus Christ.”
The cleric called on Christians to return to the model of Jesus Christ as they celebrate Christmas.
“He was born into the most absolute expression of poverty, in a dirty and smelling stable with animals. In real life, the Lord of Heaven and earth had no place to lay His head (Mt 8: 20, Lk. 9:58).
“He ate His last supper in a borrowed home (Lk 22; 7ff). He rode to Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey (Mt. 21:3, Lk. 19:31, Mk. 11:3). In death, He was buried in a borrowed tomb (Mt. 27:57).
Mr. Kukah said that considering the life that Jesus Christ lived, it is difficult to understand how Nigerians had come to equate success, prosperity and blessings of God with wealth.
Mr. Kukah stated that the path to peace in today’s Nigeria remains littered with debris of human pain.
“The excesses of Boko Haram still haunt the landscape. The Chibok girls a still spend another Christmas without any hope that their laughter will soon return to our homes.
“The engine of political change has still not gathered the steam we had hoped for. The political calendar continues to shift as we witness a domino effect of overturned elections across the states.
“All in all, new anxieties, new battles for power among the elites will likely lead us to loss of more innocent lives and blood.
The contest for power continues to take its toll and yet we continue to pray for the stability of the ship of state. We call on our leaders to use the power in their hands for service.”
Mr. Kukah admitted that although Nigerians have not been lucky with quality leaders, citizens ought to also share in the responsibility.