Priesthood Under Criticism, Catholic Bishop in Nigeria Urges Priests to Work “towards creating right image”

Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi of Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan. Credit: ACI Africa

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan in Nigeria has called on Priests to strive towards the fostering of “the right image” of ministerial Priesthood, which he says is under criticism.

In his homily during the Diocese’s anticipated Chrism Mass on Tuesday, March 26, Bishop Julius Yakubu Kundi said the Priesthood is experiencing a difficult moment “where the whole world is questioning and criticizing every aspect of the life of the Priest.”

“I challenge you today, my Priests, to think and start working towards creating the right image for the Priesthood in this Diocese,” Bishop Yakubu said during the Eucharistic celebration at St. Peter Claver Cathedral of Kafanchan Diocese. 

He told the Priests to think of their image “as a currency”, and explained, “By this, I mean see your image as an intangible currency that you earn over a period of time. Did you know that how you conduct yourself directly or indirectly has a credit or debit effect on your ‘image bank account’? In other words, a positive image reflects your sense of integrity, trust and credibility.”

“This is all we need, to restore dignity, sanctity and respect to the office of the Priesthood; as African elders will warn, ‘if you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents,’” said the 56-year-old Catholic Church leader, who has been at the helm of Kafanchan Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration in February 2020.


He emphasized the need for Priests “to take a critical look at ourselves, our values, our life-styles, the way we exercise authority and the way we relate with others.”

While it is not possible to escape criticism, Bishop Yakubu said, “we must allow prudence to instruct us to question from time to time the type of leadership we exercise among our people, whether we are forming them after the mind of Christ's image and likeness or molding them to our own likeness.”

“There is no doubting the fact that the false images of the priesthood that many of us Priests have created has wounded the mystical body of Christ and slows down the work of Evangelization,” he observed. 

He continued, “Nevertheless, for our celebration and appreciation of the call to the priesthood in this Chrism Mass to become more meaningful, we need to take time out to rethink how to restore the dignity and the correct image of what should be known and celebrated as Catholic Priesthood.”

“My brothers, be men of a Priestly heart so that the faithful will want to listen and to hear what you have to say; so that the faithful will feel the closeness that comes from the ministry of your anointed hands,” the Nigerian Catholic Bishop during the March 26 anticipated Chrism Mass traditionally marked on Holy Thursday.  

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He added, “In the heart of the Priest, there is no room for unforgiving anger or deliberate greed, no room for selfishness or lust, no room for jealousy or calculation, no room for isolation, separation or distancing ourselves from our brother Priests. My brothers when your heart is divided, your priesthood is fractured and not revealed as Christ would have it.”

“When you speak, when you preach, when you teach, when you give counsel as Priests, the faithful listen for God’s voice. Yes, your words matter. Not only what you say but how you say it,” Bishop Yakubu further said, and added, “Therefore, be thoughtful when you speak. Be careful when you speak. And be faithful in your words of truth.”

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