Catholic Bishop Slams Bello, Says Gov Is Incompetent To Talk About Tithe
By Nedum Noble
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor, on Sunday described as distracting the statement credited to Governor Yaya Bello of Kogi State accusing the Catholic Bishops of being angry with the Buhari-led administration because looters no longer paid tithes.
The bishop said the governor as a non-Christian was incompetent in discussing issues that pertains to the Christian faith.
He said Catholic Church does not rely on tithes from members for its existence, saying the church would have been heaven on earth if the leadership had insisted that the congregation brought 10% of their income to the church.
The bishops, under the aegis of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) had during their visit to the President, asked him to address the prevalent security, economic and other challenges bedeviling the country.
Speaking while taking delivery of the 48 en-suite building donated to the diocese by its members living in Lagos at the retreat center, Okpuno Awka, Bishop Ezeokafor said the governor should have addressed the issues raised by the CBCN rather than trying to scandalize the church which he said, did not dwell on the doctrine of tithing.
“Tithe is not a doctrine in the Catholic Church, it is private to the individuals and you know it is an Old Testament way of life for believers.
“You cannot get at the Catholic Church talking about, the truth is that if we tell people to bring 10% of their income and they all bring it as a matter of law, this Diocese will be heaven.
“The Catholic Church does not want to multiply the sins of the people because if you make tithe a law and they don’t bring it, it becomes a sin, just as in the case if Ananias.
“We see the statement of Governor Yaya Bello as just trying to distract the people, the church has told the president the truth, if he likes let him listen.
“Let them address the issues that were presented during the visit; need for equitable appointment, need for equal security for all Nigerians, the need to protect both the farmers and the herdsmen.
“Nobody should talk about tithe here, how much is the person paying, the Gov in question is not even a Christian so he is not even competent to discuss it.
“Let us tell ourselves the truth, these politicians should stop being selfish, their interest is what is important to them, they are ready to hit whatever will stand in the way of their selfish interest,’ he said.
Expressing appreciation to the Lagos based members of the Diocese who saw to the completion of the Retreat Centre building, bishop Ezeokafor noted that the facility would make for conducive interaction between God and man in meditative prayer.
“As an Auxiliary Bishop I conceived the idea of this Retreat Centre here because it is a spiritual house; it is a place for prayer and meditation for both the priests and the laity.
“We thank the Lagos support group and in spite of all we are passing through, we should remember that God is still at the center of everything, we should do those things that will bring us closer to him because at the end of the day, if everybody abandon us, God will not.
“This building is symbolic, it reminds us that no matter what, we should find time to speak with God in prayer and meditation,” he said.
Responding, Chairman, Catholic Diocese of Awka, Lagos Support Group, Mr. Emmanuel Nwakamma, said the project was to address the infrastructure needed of the over 500 priests in the diocese.
He disclosed that said the building which has a reception, commodious sitting room, a basement for storage and other domestic needs, was completed at a cost of about N100 million, pledging continuous support of the group which was formed in 2012 for the Awka diocese.
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