The Catholic Bishops have cautioned clergies and members against public endorsement of political candidates for office at the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held in Abuja on Tuesday.
The caution was contained in a statement issued by CBCN President and Archbishop of Benin City, Augustine Akubeze and the Secretary and Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Camillus Umoh.
The group cautioned members that properties should not be used as avenues to gain support of political candidate or party considering the forth coming 2019 general elections.
Punch reports that the clerics said they took the decision as a result of the political tensions that currently rocks the country and the gusts of defection by politicians to various political parties.
CBCN, however, urged Catholic faithfuls to recite the Prayer for Nigeria in Distress.
“We, the members of the CBCN, as teachers of the faith and morals do have the serious obligation to educate our faithfuls on their role in the political life of the country.
“We have observed that the political atmosphere is very tense and also noticed the political realignments that are taking place. Some politicians are changing political parties and urging their supporters to switch over their support to their new parties as well.
“Given this development, we wish to use this opportunity to make it clear that the Catholic Church remains ever apolitical and does not endorse or subscribe to any political party.
“Consequently, we hereby declare that no Catholic clergy or laity should publicly endorse any candidate for political office. Liturgical ceremonies must never be used as an opportunity for political campaigns.
“These are difficult times in the history of Nigeria. As people of faith, we must work hard and also pray hard for the future of Nigeria. During the military rule, the CBCN composed the Prayer for Nigeria in Distress. Dearly beloved in Christ, Nigeria is in distress. We consequently,\ call on Catholics to recite this prayer at all masses and other liturgical celebrations.
“We entrust Nigeria into the hands of God and implore Him to improve the situation in our country. May God intervene in the life of Nigeria once again, so that we can enjoy true peace, justice, and prosperity,” the statement read.
Source; The Punch
By Anne Bassey