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Catholic Bishop Heading Africa’s Communications Committee Appointed to Vatican Dicastery

Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, appointed a member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication. Credit: csnmedia

The Catholic Bishop at the helm of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), an initiative of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), has been appointed a member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication.

The news of the appointment of Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo in Nigeria was published Thursday, December 3 by the Holy See Press Office. 

Bishop Badejo was appointed to the Dicastery that was established in July 2015 alongside Mauro Cardinal Gambetti, the Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, Archbishop Jorge Eduardo Lozano of San Juan de Cuyo, Archbishop Borys Gudziak of Philadelphia of the Ukrainians, and Sr. Nathalie Becquart, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

Born in July 1961, the Nigerian Bishop was ordained a Priest for Oyo Diocese in January 1986. He was incardinated in Nigeria’s Diocese of Osogbo in March 1995 following its erection, having been carved out of Oyo Diocese. 

He was ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese in October 2007, and succeeded Bishop Julius Babatunde Adelakun as the Local Ordinary of the same Episcopal See in November 2009. 

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The alumnus of the Rome-based Salesian Pontifical University served as the Director of the Social Communications Department of the Nigerian Catholic Bishops' Conference (CBCN) from 2003 to 2006, and as Bishop Chairman of CBCN’s Social Communication for eight years.

The National Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) has described Bishop Badejo’s appointment as member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication as a “very welcome development”.

In an interview with ACI Africa Friday, December 3, Fr. Mike Nsikak Umoh said, “The news of Bishop Badejo's appointment … is a very welcome development and a thing of great joy for the Church in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.”

Fr. Umoh explained, “Bishop Badejo is communication personified with very wide experience in the field, so the Vatican have only made a very right choice to have him on board.”

The Abuja-based Nigerian Priest added in reference to Bishop Badejo, “We are confident he would very capably represent us, adequately bringing the Nigerian/African perspective to bear.”

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“On behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, we wholeheartedly congratulate His Lordship,” the National Director of Social Communications at CSN said December 3.

Bishop Badejo who has been the President of CEPACS since his appointment in 2015 is currently serving as the Vice Chairman of the Social Communications Department of the Regional Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA).

In an interview with ACI Africa last year, Bishop Badejo said the Church in Africa has a lot to offer the global Catholicism but the people of God on the continent face the challenge of telling their stories within and across the world.

“Africa does have a voice. We have something to contribute to the whole world,” he said during the March 2020 interview, recalling a past encounter with Pope Francis who, he said, made a similar observation about the people of God in Africa. 

“When I met with the Holy Father at the beginning of my mandate, that was precisely what he said, that even if the whole world is saying everything, Africa's voice needs to be heard,” the Nigerian Bishop recounted in reference to his 2015 meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican as part of the SECAM delegation.

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He added that the Catholic Church in Africa has experienced immense growth over the years and emphasized the need for these developments to be documented on the global platform.

“The African church has, since the 1994 synod, chosen the theme of the ‘Church in Africa as family of God.’ Now, a lot has been happening in various (Bishops’) conferences in the other regions, but there has been no way of documenting what's been happening,” Bishop Badejo said, expressing his concern about the communication gaps in networking and making known the activities of the commissions for social communication in Africa. 

With the regional communication offices in place, the Catholic Bishop who is also gifted in music expressed optimism that the Church in Africa can have the possibility to be heard through some collective forums and “contribute to the discourse on the natural family, the traditional family and the Christian family all over the world.”

In the March 2020 interview, Bishop Badejo shared with ACI Africa about his belief that “there is a new awareness, a new determination in SECAM and in the standing committee of SECAM to strengthen our communication outfit, communication platforms and to encourage our communication practitioners even more.”

He went on to encourage the people of God in Africa to embrace and engage digital media, saying that the Church is no longer in the habit of shying away from the engagement of social media.

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“It is important for the Church in Africa to show interest in those who practice media, both the professionals and the mere practitioners, those who use social media, the new incomers who don't have any professional skills but have all the tools at their disposition,” the Nigerian Bishop said. 

The Local Ordinary of Oyo Diocese added, “It's also important for even the church to have the humility to be taught in a way by these young people and these newcomers who have all the skills of communication and new ways of uprooting issues of the world today.”

In a report announcing Bishop Badejo’s appointment to the Dicastery, the Communications Director of Oyo Diocese expressed his best wishes to the new appointees.

“The entire Diocese of Oyo prayerfully wishes them the best in their service to God and the universal church,” says Fr. John Irekiigbe in the December 3 report shared with ACI Africa.