Adequate knowledge of the Catholic Social Teaching and other documents of the Church that emphasize love, justice and equity in the society, can make Catholic lay faithful effective agents of positive change in the country’s political system, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo has declared.
Bishop Badejo made this observation in his lecture delivered recently at the 23rd Annual National Conference of the Catholic Men Organization (CMO), held at the Louisville Retreat and Conference Centre, Itele, Ogun State. The theme: of his presentation was: Catholic Men and Social Transformation: Challenge with Great Prospects.
According to the bishop: “The repeated call to holiness shows that the Church recognises that in the course of history, human conduct and institutions have been corrupted and that the world needs men who can establish the proper scale of values and offer a template with which to renew the temporal order;” which “seems tailor-made for Nigeria”.
Emphasizing the responsibility of the duty of the laity as being co-responsible for the Church and the actions of the Church in the world, Bishop Badejo stated that this opportunity should be exploited by the lay apostolate organizations of the Church, like the CMO; to transform the society in all ramifications for the common good of all. Outlining the roadmap for the realization of this objective the bishop declared: “My main concern is to re-propose the pastoral and spiritual proposals of the Church’s legacy for the CMO, as disciples of Jesus who believe in the mission and teachings of the Church to express itself and seek to transform the society we live in by pastoral, moral and spiritual tools”.
He stated: “In a society fraught with moral crimes and a socio political environment, often infested with players lacking integrity but well versed in the language of double speak, corruption, violence, self-interest, manipulation and other similar vices”; the disciples of positive change really need a navigational aid. Those who seek to transform such a society must master their arsenal. They must possess the correct understanding of who they are and what their task really is. They must show that they understand the overall principle of Christian charity as based on love for God and for the neighbour.
The lecturer continued: “They must show that it is only a faith that proclaims and practices love that can challenge social injustice. That understanding can be acquired through a deeper knowledge of the following: the Bible, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Code of Cannon Law, Catholic Social Teaching and other documents of the Church, especially the encyclical and apostolic exhortations of the popes on social justice, human dignity and labour, love, charity and good neighbourliness.
Bishop Badejo added: “The CMO would give very valuable service if it becomes a platform for the education and formation of its members and others on the proposals contained in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, the document which compiles the practical proposals of the Church on social concerns as an instrument of evangelization. Through it, the potential evangelising force of members will be activated to match the vision and mission of the CMO. It would be a worthwhile investment for social transformation.”
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