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“Work for transformation of world in which we live”:Catholic Bishop to Nigerian Christians

Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese. Credit: Diocese of Oyo

Each Christian is called, “in his DNA”, to transform the place he or she lives, a Catholic Bishop has told Christians in his native country of Nigeria.

Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo who was speaking at the gathering of members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in South Western part of Nigeria, said the call for followers of Christ to transform and not desert the nation whose situation is “pretty bad” rises by virtue of their discipleship. 

“Even within this convoluted country, Nigeria, every authentic Christian is called even in his DNA to desire and work for Christian unity and also work for the transformation of the world in which we live,” Bishop Badejo said during the September 22 meeting. 

In his statement shared with ACI Africa, the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese said, “Being a Christian is to be a transformer of the world through the discipleship of Christ and the grace of God.” 

In the statement, Bishop Badejo notes that some Nigerians want to dissociate with the country “that is simply not working”. 

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“Perhaps the most rampant point of public discourse in Nigeria today is whether to break Nigeria up or to keep it as one,” the Nigerian Catholic Bishop observes, adding that some Christian groups are already trying to “excise themselves from a country that is seen as irreparably corrupt, unjust and doomed.”

He calls upon Nigerian Christians to transform their nation from within the country similar to Jesus who “chose not to remove his disciples from a world that was clearly corrupt, antagonistic and hostile to them during his time.”

“Our Christianity seems to dictate to us that remaking Nigeria does not have to mean unmaking it but transforming it,” Bishop Badejo says in his statement titled, “The Christian DNA and Current Situation in Nigeria.”

"What we need today are committed Christian leaders, passionate individuals and dedicated Christian groups who can use the Gospel of Christ to spearhead a spiritual transformation, moral revolution and an ethical reorientation in our society," he says, and adds, that this is the only way to give "credible witness to Jesus before the men and women of our day". 

The Bishop of Oyo Diocese who doubles as the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) urges Christian leaders under the auspices of CAN to “groom foot soldiers for the future in order to better defend and protect the rights and welfare of Christians and Christianity.” 

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“If CAN is ever to effectively play this role and act as a vanguard of the spiritual and moral welfare of this nation, it must consciously determine with what tools and strategies to do the job,” says Bishop Badejo. 

“What are our tools for changing the future politics, economics and sociology of Nigeria?” he poses, and further says, “CAN must constitute itself into a platform for forming future politicians with Christian values that can transform society in future.”

Christianity will have a direct and effective influence on Nigeria’s politics and transform the society according to Christ’s command if CAN leads in the formation of politicians, the Nigerian Bishop underscores.  

He adds that Christian leaders in Nigeria must be on the frontline in defending human life in the West African nation where "the Culture of Death seems to be fast eclipsing the Culture of Life."

Bishop Badejo highlights murders, assassinations, suicides, lynching, armed robbery, abortions and related killings as some of the actions that dominate the news in Africa’s most populous nation. 

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"CAN needs to be heard more often on the issue of the sanctity of human life and the fact that every human being is created in the image and likeness of almighty God," says the 60-year-old Nigerian Bishop. 

The Bishop who has been at the helm of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese since November 2009 adds, “If Christians truly belong to Christ who brought us life, not death as the Scripture affirms, then pro-life matters in this sense must frequently feature in interventions of CAN for therein lies our credibility as followers of Christ.”

Related to the aggressive invasion of the culture of death, Bishop Badejo says that Christian leaders need to speak out against the proposed Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) “whereby children as young as 7 years and youth are taught the nitty gritty of artificial family planning, including contraception and abortion and indoctrinated to view homosexuality and gay culture as another acceptable way of life.”

“All this is carefully couched as an introduction to gender issues and sexual rights but is perhaps the most destructive phenomenon of self-control, chastity, marriage and family life ever in history,” he says in reference to CSE. 

CSE paints abstinence and self-control as obstacles to personal freedom, something that should worry CAN enough to merit occasional public intervention and action, he further says. 

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The Local Ordinary of Oyo also calls upon CAN leadership to “guide and inspire member churches/Christians to be conscious of and take interest in these environmental concerns for a better future.”

“God gave us the earth to care for so that the earth can care for us in return,” he says, and adds that the degradation of the earth in activities such as oil drilling, deforestation, waste management and mining “deserves the occasional attention of CAN.”