Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "Be careful not to preach the Christianity of prosperity", warned His Excellency Msgr. Peter Ebere Okpaleke, Bishop of Ekwuluobia, in Anambra State, southern Nigeria, during the 51st Assembly of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu. In his report titled "Igbo Catholicism in 2035", Bishop Okpaleke urged priests to avoid preaching based on the promise of prosperity. "The emphasis of neo-Christianity is based on material power and the acquisition of spiritual powers. Certain men and women of God are said to obtain the power to hypnotize people and gather crowds through deities recognized in traditional religion The name of Christ is shouted using occult powers", the Bishop said.
Bishop Okpaleke urged priests to put "the things of God" ahead of personal ambition, and added that they should avoid private activities and dinners with politicians. The Bishop of Ekwuluobia also criticized the tendency of many priests to spend a lot of time on social media and other entertainment programs. Msgr. Okpaleke added that seminarians, priests and the whole Church must redouble their efforts to "address this challenge" which "means returning to the central ministry of the Church".
"The expectations that are asked of you are quite challenging because the Church expects holy and well-oriented priests who will bring people closer to God", said the rector of the seminary, Fr Albert Ikpenwa, who advised graduate students to pay attention to their conduct and to avoid commercializing the gospel of Christ. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/3/2022)