The formation of a Catholic ideas-driven strategic movement has been advocated for an effective and productive paradigm shift in the country’s political system that is presently fraught with non-ethical socio-political practices; thus, stagnating the practice of true democracy and conduct of free fair elections in the country. Through such a movement, the Catholic Men Organization (CMO) can influence the country’s political arena with Christian morals and values for the common good of all.
This admonition was given by the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, while addressing participants at the 23rdAnnual National Conference of the CMO, held recently at Louisville Retreat and Conference Centre, Itele, Ogun State.
Speaking on the theme: Catholic Men and Social Transformation: Challenge with Great Prospects; Bishop Badejo x-rayed the challenges facing the country in all facets of life and outlined the efforts that can be made by the Catholic laity to positively change the situation to ensure: service, justice equity and rule of law in the country.
Speaking on the political situation of the country, the local ordinary of Oyo Diocese regretted that, in spite of Nigeria being endowed with natural and human resources, the country is in serious trouble. His words: “On practically every conceivable social index, political, economic and even religious, our country is under-performing or altogether doing badly”.
He continued: “It has practically been hijacked by terrorists and kidnappers who don the garb of politicians and rape and violate the citizens by every means including using the constitution to legitimise their crimes. That section of the political class increasingly grows in impunity and hand-wriggling arrogance while communal, tribal and religious clashes continue to claim hundreds of lives.”
The Bishop added: “Provision of basic infrastructure for which Nigerians have clamoured over many decades has become a huge and permanent siphoning pipe for stealing mind-boggling sums of money only surpassed by periodic elections which the hapless populace dare not reject and the fight against insurgency, an albatross that cannot but be cast off.”
Noting that the CMO has a great responsibility of incarnating the message of the gospel in the secular society, with the optimum goal of transforming the country, spiritually, politically, and socially; Bishop Badejo declared: “The Church has a role to play and Christians have a task to carry out.”
Using several documents of the Church which include the Social Teachings of the Church, the Bible, Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal encyclicals on social service and justice to buttress his point on how the CMO can be a positive agent of change in the country; the bishop stressed the need for enlightened Christians to ally with the oppressed, the marginalized, the poor, the sick and the impoverished; as primarily advocated by the Church.
While noting that the CMO does not need to float a political party to be able to achieve the desired objectives, the bishop said: “This is not calling for a “CMO Party of Nigeria” but for a catholic-ideals-driven strategic movement, one which will be “partisan” in its strong commitment to the virtues and values which the Catholic faith cherishes and through these, infect and influence others and confront the challenges of the society.”
The bishop continued: “Such a movement will be geared to inspire its members to take political involvement seriously but with a “catholic socio-political agenda” such that one can speak of a CMO bloc of influence in Nigerian politics? This would grow not just “politicians who happen to be Catholics” many of whom I believe we already have in Nigeria, but people who can rightly and confidently be called “Catholic politicians”
He added: “Such an aggregation of Catholics would give flesh to catholic ideals, would not be aimed at excluding anyone but at assembling people who can be counted on to promote and work for positive principles and values which the Church and all people of goodwill can be proud of for the purpose of the common good.”
Bishop Badejo emphasized the need for lay people, especially men who can translate the prose of the pulpit and the galvanizing power of the gospel into tangible benefits in the socio-political realm; assuring that “it is impossible to transform society without engaging with it in such a coordinated and deliberate way”.
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