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Avoid “playing comedy of omnipotence”: Catholic Archbishop in Togo to Diocesan Priests

Archbishop Nicodème Anani Barrigah-Benissan of Togo's Lomé Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Lomé

The Archbishop of Togo’s Lomé Archdiocese has cautioned Diocesan Priests in the West African nation against the tendency to show off as all-powerful in the process of giving people assurance about God in what he termed “playing the comedy of omnipotence”.

Addressing members of the Clergy Tuesday, January 11 during Holy Mass marking the start of the General Assembly of the Association of Diocesan Priests in Togo, Archbishop Nicodème Anani Barrigah-Benissan said, “One of the most difficult tasks of a Priest is the encounter or the experience he has with the evil spirit, the devil.” 

“Avoid playing the comedy of omnipotence. It is true that the Lord passes through our assurance, but let us not make our faithful believe that we are all-powerful people invested with a superhuman strength,” Archbishop Barrigah-Benissan cautioned.

The Togolese Archbishop urged Priest to avoid playing the “almighty man in front of the devil. Don't play the comedy because in this matter, God is the one who is really aware of the seriousness of the situation.”

He continued, “Faith is not to be confused with presumption. I would like you to exercise this ministry with humility allowing the Lord to be the victor.”

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Archbishop Barrigah-Benissan further said when members of the Clergy want to acquire certain powers, they end up “moving away from the true faith.”

“The devil can give you or drag you into the temptation of power, and that is his greatest victory,” the Archbishop said, and added in reference to the evil one, “he can make you do things without you knowing he is the one behind it.”

The local Ordinary of Lomé further called on members of the Clergy in Togo to have “confidence in the Lord and not let ourselves be overcome by panic when faced with situations that we do not understand.”

“God gives His grace according to the need, according to the trial, according to the event. We are not here to do our own will. We are here to do the will of the one who sent us,” he noted.

Archbishop Barrigah-Benissan added, “Our mission is not beautiful because it is easy. And our mission is not less beautiful because it is difficult. The mission is beautiful because it is inhabited by the presence of the one who sends us.”

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The first conviction Priests must cultivate, he went on to say, “is the assurance that the Lord has overcome evil. Don't tremble too much before the devil.”

“It seems now that we are more afraid than our faithful before the demon; it is up to us to reassure them, to tell them that Jesus has triumphed over evil,” the Togolese Archbishop said January 11.

He told Diocesan Priests in Togo, “Let us try to find our assurance in God. Evil exists, we cannot deny it. The devil is at work; no one would think of denying it, but the Lord has clothed us with armor.”