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Famed Nigerian Author’s Critical Reflections upon Reading Fratelli Tutti

True social friendship is impossible in the absence of dignity, both among the church’s leaders, and between them and the faithful. My family’s experiences during my parents’ funerals served to reaffirm, if not renew, my reservations about the Nigerian church. So much could have been handled with compassion for the grieving but was not. So many opportunities to show dignity were left unused. Our communication with the local church was more of an exercise in priestly power than anything else; we begged and negotiated for a suitable funeral date, with an exaggerated but insincere deference shown to the priest lest he change his mind and not agree to the funeral. 

At the Thanksgiving Mass – a strange concept, as giving thanks was the last thing I felt like doing a day after the funeral – my siblings and I were seated in the front pews, all wearing purple, my mother’s favorite color, all still in shocked disbelief to have buried her so soon after my father. 

I was immersed in sadness and did not realize right away when the parish priest began to criticize me about a press interview I had given a few months before. In that interview, I spoke of the Nigerian church’s focus on money. The Nigerian church, I said, had become too much about money. I have seen church doors locked to prevent people from leaving during fundraisings. I have watched a priest announce his account details to a funeral congregation and then prance about the altar, phone in hand, waiting for alerts from the bank to appear on his phone screen. It is unbecoming.

Source: Vanguard

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One Comment

  1. How depressing is it to read these two texts, from Nigeria and Asia! Still more depressing

    the very fact that similar statements are coming from all over the world! One diocesan

    paper in Brazil some years ago, corageously, sent a questionnaire to its readers, in which one of the questions said: What is your opinion about our new priests? Overwhelmingly,

    the answers were devastating: their life style, with very few exceptions, was very high,

    they only dealt with people of middle and higher class, had no relation whatsoever with the poor. In how many poor towns the house of the priest is the most luxurious! His car as well,

    his computer, his suit, his drinks and foods, as well!

    As a whole, I dare say, what the faithful consider their Church, is a well to do establishment,

    with a clear leaning towards monumentalism and a total absence of testimony to the Gospel.

    Those whom people see as their prophets, people on the side of the poor, smelling like the sheep, are individual bishops and priests, far too few!, many religious and a multitude of

    women and men out there where they live and give themselves for others. Those who are in charge of the local Church, instead, call them troublemakers who do not think with the Church. Imagine, prophets considered troublemakers, after 2.000 years of Christianity!
    Anton Franz Amort MHM

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