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FAITH

I Saw The Caliphate, Backed By Yoruba To Fight Igbo People,  Says Bishop Udeh

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By Chuks Eke

Fiery cleric, Bishop Abraham Chris Udeh has disclosed that he saw the Caliphate, backed by the Yoruba to finish the Igbo people but they can never succeed because God is by the side of the Ndigbo.
He said if God had not been on the side of the Igbo, these Caliphates would have finished them a long time ago.

“It is better for President Bola Tinubu to resign and hand over power to the winner of the last presidential election because he has no acumen and articulates to handle Nigeria rather, the more he stays on that seat, the more Nigeria will continue to go down economically and politically, while injustice will continue to reign supreme as a result of lack of rule of law”.
Bishop Udeh said that he also saw the Almighty God sign and stamp the existence of the sovereign state of Biafra in the spiritual realm as a result of the continued detention and incarceration of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, Nnamdi Kanu.
He said he saw the mighty hand of God signing and stamping the Biafran sovereignty state in the spiritual realm shortly after he concluded his annual 40 days and 40 nights of fasting and prayer session which he started in 2017 when the Nigerian military launched the dramatic operations python dance which claimed many lives of Ndigbo, including that of Kanu’s parent.

Bishop Udeh, General Overseer of Mount Zion Global  Liberation Ministries Incorporated (a.k.a By-Fire-By-Fire) made this revelation at his Cathedral Church, Nnewii, Anambra state, while briefing newsmen ahead of last Friday’s Supreme Court judgment in the federal government’s appeal against Appeal court judgment which discharged and acquitted Kanu of all the charges brought against him by the federal government, declared: “I am very happy that the Biafran sovereignty state has at last been signed and stamped by the Almighty.
I am in the spiritual realm waiting for manifestation”.

He further declared: ” Instead of continuing to shed blood in the name of agitation or fighting agitation, let there be a referendum to kick-start the sovereign state of Biafra because the quantum of blood already shredded from 1945 till date in search of silencing agitation by the Nigerian government is so enormous that there is a need to conduct a referendum and end the agitation.

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“In my 40 days and 40 nights of fasting and prayers, I saw the anger of God pouring on Britain and other superpower nations working with Britain to suppress Biafran sovereignty. I am seeing the Jihadists conquering Britain and taking over the mantle of leadership as a punishment for siding with the Jihadists in Nigeria.
“I am seeing the punishment of God against Britain for maltreating and suppressing the people they colonized. All the people they colonized are secretly being milked and sulked dry by the British”.
“America will soon be brought down because of the way they are working with Britain. So, America should be very careful because there is a small person down the valley pushing to bring down America. Even Vladimir Putin of Russia should be careful not to be eaten up by a magot because of his conquest style of leadership”.

“In the spiritual realm, I am seeing China, Iran and Russia coming together to pull down America. So, America should be very careful.

Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State should be very careful because I am seeing APC raising flags to the Agu-Awka Government House.
He should stick to his campaign promises to ensure he qualifies for a second tenure or else he will fail to secure a second tenure. He should also be very careful not to allow the ongoing conspiracy from APC from the federal level not to prevent him from going for a second tenure”, Bishop Udeh warned.

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FAITH

NFCS: How Far Do You Know Your Faith?

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NFCS

By Valentine Obienyem*

Being a presentation at the bi-annual convention of the Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students, held at Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

PROTOCOLS

I would like to express my gratitude to the Rector, esteemed formators, and seminarians of this noble institution for granting me this opportunity. It is an honour to engage with the youth who are part of the Nigeria Federation of Catholic Students (NFCS), particularly as someone who has traversed that journey, attended university, and was once a member of NFCS in the early nineties.

In line with the latitude granted to me, I opted for “NFCS: How Far Do You Know Your Faith?” The choice is not specifically for those in Bigard, who, by their training, are expected to possess a deeper understanding of the faith, but primarily for individuals from secular institutions. Furthermore, I aim to instil in young seminarians the importance of apologetics, a vital aspect that will eventually become part of their apostolate as some transition into roles as chaplains in higher institutions and within NFCS. A solid grasp of the fundamentals of the Catholic faith equips individuals to withstand contrary teachings and doctrinal shifts, hence the chosen topic.

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As NFCS members, you are well acquainted with the slogan “Living the Faith.” Achieving a profound and steadfast conviction in living our faith to the fullest requires first comprehending and internalizing its principles. Credit is due to the former Governor of Bendel State, Prof. Ambrose Alli, for laying the groundwork for NFCS in 1956, uniting Catholic students nationwide under one umbrella organization. NFCS is dedicated to nurturing spiritual growth, academic excellence, leadership acumen, and social responsibility among Catholic students. It provides a platform for deepening faith, participating in Catholic-oriented activities, and contributing positively to communities and society. Moreover, NFCS fosters networking and collaboration among Catholic students, universities, and religious entities to uphold the values and teachings of the Catholic Church in academic settings. Understanding the essence of NFCS lies in embracing its slogan: “Living the Faith,” embodying our religious beliefs in daily actions and decisions, and reflecting the values and teachings of our faith tradition, both religiously and socially.
As an additional measure to emphasize the significance of remaining faithful to the faith through living it out, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has selected St. Albert the Great as your patron saint. St. Albert the Great, a man renowned for his profound learning, exemplifies the values and virtues upheld by NFCS. It is noteworthy that your National Day coincides with his feast day on November 15th, further underscoring the alignment of your organization with the principles embodied by this esteemed saint.
St. Albert, known for his exceptional erudition, particularly in philosophy and natural sciences, never allowed his scholarly pursuits to overshadow his allegiance to the Church. Despite heavily relying on Aristotle’s teachings and Averroes’ commentaries to interpret the philosopher, Albert fearlessly corrected discrepancies between their ideas and Christian theology. He extensively drew from Muslim thinkers in his works, to the extent that his writings remain significant sources for understanding Arabic philosophy.

He frequently referenced Avicenna and occasionally Maimonides’ “Guide to the Perplexed,” acknowledging Aristotle as the pinnacle authority in science and philosophy, Augustine in theology, and the Scriptures in all matters. His scholarly pursuits embraced a diverse range of pagan, Arabic, Jewish, and Christian perspectives, providing the foundation upon which his renowned student, St. Thomas Aquinas, constructed a clearer and more systematic synthesis. Without Albert, Thomas’s achievements might have been unattainable. Yet, amidst their scholarly explorations, both upheld the supremacy of the scripture.

Based on the preceding discussion, I trust you now see the wisdom in selecting St. Albert as your patron saint, while recognizing the universal Church’s designation of St. Thomas Aquinas as the primary patron for Catholic students globally. Both figures staunchly defended the Catholic faith, grounded in a deep comprehension of its teachings.

Although Aquinas passed away at the age of 49, the depth of his scholarship resonates through various facets of his works. From his synthesis of Aristotelian philosophy with Christian doctrine to the monumental Summa, and even to the hymns and prayers he crafted for the Feast of Corpus Christi, his legacy endures. Notably, the majestic sequence “Lauda Sion Salvatorem” eloquently proclaims the Real Presence, while his hymn during Lauds, beginning with Ambrose’s line “Verbum supernum prodiens,” and culminating with “O salutaris hostia,” remains a staple of the Benediction. Moreover, his hymns are timeless, blending theology and poetry in a profoundly moving manner.

Many may not be familiar with St. Thomas’s other works, such as the “Summa Contra Gentiles” (Summary of the Catholic Faith Against the Pagans), “Commentaries on Scripture”, “Disputed Questions”, On the Eucharist”. These writings stand as eloquent defences of the Church by the figure later revered as the “Doctor Angelicus” and “Seraphicus.” The crucial point to highlight is that one cannot defend what one does not know. Our patron saints defended the Church because they deeply understood their faith. The question then arises: Do we understand our faith? How much time do we give to our faith? Are we proud of our faith? Do we defend our faith when assaulted?
Invited to join other clergymen at dinner with Louis IX, Aquinas lost himself in meditation during the meal; suddenly, he struck the table with his fist and exclaimed: “That is the decisive argument against the Manicheans!” His prior reproved him: “You are sitting at the table of the King of France,” but Louis, with royal courtesy, bade an attendant to bring writing materials to the monk. Nevertheless, the absorbed saint could write with good sense on many matters of practical life. People remarked how he could adjust his sermons either to the studious minds of his fellow monks or to the simple intellects of common folk. He had no airs, made no demands upon life, sought no honours, and refused promotion to ecclesiastical office. His writings span the universe but contain not one immodest word. He faces every argument against his faith and answers with courtesy and calm. This is what is expected from those who know their faith.

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Certain Catholics, who either lack knowledge or choose not to pursue it, become susceptible to proselytizers, particularly during their undergraduate years. The catchphrase among these groups, often Pentecostal, is “catching them young.” They understand that at this age, individuals who are often separated from the umbilical cords of their parents and older siblings, seek expressions of independence. Hence, my interest lies in engaging with youths in higher institutions, including members of the NFCS, as this is when their faith is most vulnerable to being shattered, particularly for those from Catholic families lacking strong bonds within the faith community.

The other day, for instance, I visited my son at the university. Curious about his activities, I inquired about his day, to which he mentioned attending a church programme. When I pressed for details regarding the church, he admitted he wasn’t aware as a friend had invited him. Concerned, I took the opportunity to have a conversation with him, reminding him of his upbringing and the importance of being mindful when participating in such events. I shared this because I have witnessed many students deeply devoted to their faith, only to return from such programmes with their faith seemingly shattered, as if by sudden catalytic forces. This phenomenon is particularly noticeable among the youth, who are the primary focus of the Church’s attention today. Why does the Church invest so much in young people, going as far as establishing chaplaincies wherever they are educated?

Throughout history, great philosophers have emphasized the profound truth that the future belongs to the youth – they hold the power to shape it for better or for worse. Highlighting your centrality to the Church, numerous Popes have addressed this subject in their Encyclicals. For example, in his Encyclical “Divini Illius Magistri,” Pope Pius XI stressed the importance of diligent care and timely instruction in the Christian education of young people, enabling them to know and understand their faith. In 1985, during the International Youth Year, Pope St. John Paul II addressed an Apostolic Letter titled “Dilecti Amici,” acknowledging the Church’s special attention to the youth as they shape the future. Pope Francis continued this focus by dedicating his 2019 apostolic exhortation, “Christus Vivit,” to the youth. These Encyclicals and exhortations reflect the Church’s deep concern for you. Addressing these concerns, including the deepening of faith, is the overarching goal of the founders of NFCS.

To add to this, the Holy Bible contains significant references to youth. For instance, Ecclesiastes 12:1 advises, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’.” Additionally, 1 Timothy 4:12 encourages, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Society, including the Church, bears the responsibility of guiding and directing you along the right paths. While the Church guides catechism and moral instruction, it is essential for you to independently seek the truth. True revolution lies not in conquest, but in enlightening the mind and improving character. How much effort have you put into learning about the Catholic Church? How familiar are you with her teachings? Exploring these questions will lead us to understand the importance of organizations like NFCS and the journey of faith.

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NFCS AND THE FAITH

This segment aims to be as interactive as possible. Here are some initial questions to ponder:

1. Have any of you ever contemplated leaving the Catholic Church?

2. How many of you have been invited to other churches and attended?

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3. Have you invited any of your friends to the Catholic Church?

4. How many of you left their houses as pious Catholics wedded to the Holy Mass and Rosary and came back with pollens of Pentecostalism?

Understanding the Catholic Church is the key to knowing your faith. When you truly understand it, no one can sway you towards other denominations. How many of you are familiar with the sources of Catholic beliefs? They include The Holy Bible, Tradition, and Magisterium.

 

THE BIBLE – While all Christian Churches acknowledge and utilize the Bible, the question arises: How did the world receive the Bible? Although it was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the complete Bible we have today did not descend from heaven ready-made. Many early Christians who played roles in establishing the Bible’s canons, such as Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch (who first used the term ‘Catholic’ in 107 AD), St. Polycarp, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus, were Catholics. The present canons as we know them were affirmed by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (Algeria) and Carthage (Tunisia).

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Among the books rejected by the Councils, which were in circulation at that time, were: The Book of Jubilees, Epistle of Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, Paul’s Epistle to the Laodiceans, 1 Clement, 2 Clement, Preaching of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, Gospel According to the Egyptians, and Gospel According to the Hebrews.

Additionally, Catholic Cardinal Stephen Langton organized the Bible into chapters. Even during his rebellion against the Church, Martin Luther acknowledged that the world received the Bible through the “papists” – a derogatory term he used for Catholics.

TRADITION – Equally significant as the Bible, the tradition was once the very source from which the Bible gained its authenticity. Only churches with apostolic succession, namely the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, uphold the importance of tradition. The principle here is straightforward: one cannot impart what one does not possess. Therefore, only these two churches serve as custodians of sacred tradition.

The Second Vatican Council’s (1962-65) document on divine revelation, “Dei Verbum”+ (The Word of God), elucidates the relationship between Tradition and Scripture:

Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. Sacred Scripture is the word of God since it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently, it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore, both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence.

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The entire Christian community adhered to this belief until the Reformation led by Luther, who introduced the concept of “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone). In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul emphasizes the transmission of teachings orally. He also instructs believers to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). John’s Gospel concludes by stating that many of Christ’s actions were not recorded (John 21:25), a sentiment echoed in 2 John 1:12.

THE MAGISTERIUM (Teaching authority of the Church), derived from the Latin word “magister” (teacher), serves to interpret events in light of Scripture and tradition. It does not create new doctrines; for instance, consider the issue of birth control. While the Bible provides references, such as the story of Onan, modern methods like condoms are later inventions. The Magisterium must clarify that such methods are among those prohibited for birth control.

The magisterium possesses the ability to interpret due to their institutional and scholarly training. For instance, in this seminary, seminarians undergo theological studies. In biblical studies, they engage in courses such as Fundamental Scripture, Exegesis, and Biblical theology. Additionally, ministerial courses include subjects like Patrology, Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Greek, and even studies on Islam and African theology. This comprehensive education sharpens their intellect and positions them more adeptly for the task of interpretation. For example, if a Catholic priest wishes to study Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he would approach it from various angles. Through Patrology, he gains insights into the teachings of early fathers who lived during that era. Through Exegesis, he understands that Paul’s letters to the Corinthians extensively address issues of sexual immorality, given Corinth’s reputation as a bustling hub with numerous brothels catering to travellers. Moreover, his knowledge of Biblical Greek enhances his understanding, as Paul wrote in Greek.

After exploring the foundations of our faith, it is enlightening to delve into the evolution of the Church—its triumphs and tribulations that have shaped its journey. This serves to demonstrate that many of the criticisms levelled against the Catholic Church today were also raised in the past, long before the critics themselves were even born. Through numerous councils and the gathering of ecclesiastical authorities, these issues were decisively addressed by the guidance of the Bible and Tradition.

Before delving into the question of who founded the Catholic Church, it is important to examine the founders of other churches.

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a. Lutheranism was established by Martin Luther in 1517, who was a Catholic Priest.

b. The Swiss Reformed Church was founded by Zwingli in 1523, also a Catholic Priest.

c. The Anglican Church was established by King Henry VIII in 1534. Henry earned the title of “The Defender of the Faith” (“Defensor Fidie”) after refuting Luther’s criticisms of the seven sacraments in his “Assertio Septem Sacramentorum” (The Defence of the Seven Sacraments).

d. Calvinism was founded by John Calvin in 1536, who hailed from a devout Catholic family. Although his father aspired for him to become a priest, Calvin did not pursue this path.

e. Presbyterianism was established by John Knox in 1560, who, like Calvin, was a former Catholic Priest.

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f. The Baptist denomination was founded by John Smyth in 1605, who was an Anglican Priest.

g. Methodism was established by John Wesley in 1739, also an Anglican Priest.

h. The Latter-Day Saints movement was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, with a strong Anglican background.

i. The Salvation Army was established by William Booth in 1865, who was also an Anglican Priest.

j. Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by Charles Russel in 1870, with Presbyterian roots.

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What is the Nigerian Situation?

a. The Christ Apostolic Church was established by Joseph Ayo Babalola in 1941.

b. The Celestial Church of Christ was founded by Revd. Samuel Joseph Oshoffa in 1947.

c. The Redeemed Christian Church was established in 1952 by Revd. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi.

d. The Living Faith Church was founded by Bishop David Oyedepo and his wife in 1981.

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e. The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) was founded by Revd. Mike Okonkwo in 1981.

f. The Deeper Life Bible Church was established in 1982 by Pastor William Kumuyi.

g. The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries was founded by Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya in 1989.

h. Christ Embassy was established by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome in 1990.

i. The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement was founded by Lazarus Muoka in 2002.

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When examining the actions of these individuals and reflecting on their endeavours, one might be inclined to conclude that they exploit the gullibility of the majority of the people. One lingering question often arises: Why did it take over a thousand years after Christ for people to begin founding churches? This serves as food for thought.

During my time as a young Youth Corps member serving in Kano, I resided on Church Street in Sabon Gari. Curious, I undertook the task of counting the number of churches on that street, and to my surprise, there were over 25 at that time. One can only speculate about how many exist today. The affluence associated with the founders of churches in Nigeria has attracted even hardened criminals, who view it as an open sesame to wealth and influence, leading to a rush into this sector.

Returning to the original question: Who founded the Catholic Church?

We firmly believe, and with strong reasoning, that Jesus Christ is the unseen leader of our Church, which He established. Christ founded the Catholic Church and instituted the office of the Pope when he addressed Simon, also known as Peter or the Rock, saying: “You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

Later, in John 21:15-17, Christ further emphasized Peter’s role. After calling him three times, He entrusted Peter with the responsibility of shepherding His sheep and lambs, effectively establishing him as the first Pope. Did Peter fulfil this role as expected?

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St. Peter’s leadership within the flock of Christ is evident from his actions. He consistently took the lead among the apostles and was always mentioned first among the twelve. At the Council of Jerusalem (A.D. 47), which discussed matters concerning the Gentiles, Peter served as the presiding authority. When St. Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, Peter acted as the spokesperson. During Pentecost, Peter addressed the men of Judah and all who dwelt in Jerusalem on behalf of the apostles (Acts 2:14). Additionally, Peter played a prominent role in the condemnation of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 3:3).

The early Church, initially established in Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece, as documented in the Acts of the Apostles, soon centred its activities in the capital of the Roman Empire—a focal point that persists to this day. The abundance of evidence supporting Peter’s residency in Rome is attested by renowned pagan and Protestant historians such as Frederick Bruce, Everett Ferguson, John Kelly, and Henry Chadwick. Even Whiston, a prominent Protestant historian, acknowledges that the fact of St. Peter’s residence in Rome “is so evident in Christian antiquity that it is embarrassing for any Protestant to admit that any Protestant ever denied it.”

While enlightened Protestants may concur, their counterparts from other churches—often those with less understanding of the Bible—tend to disagree. They frequently attempt, as is their habit, to reinterpret the explicit understanding presented in Matthew 16:13-20. Consequently, ‘Catholicism’ often becomes the subject of intense scrutiny, angry criticism, violent attacks, and both intelligent and often senseless analysis. Therefore, it is necessary to pose the question once more: What exactly is the Catholic Church?

The term “Catholic” is derived from Greek words meaning “general” or “universal.” It was first used by Theophilus, also known as Ignatius, the 2nd Catholic Bishop of Antioch, who was martyred in Rome in AD 110. He stated, “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem further elucidated this concept in his catechetical lectures, explaining that the Church is called Catholic because it spans the entire world, teaching comprehensively all doctrines about both visible and invisible matters, heavenly and earthly. Additionally, it guides all of humanity towards godliness, addressing and remedying all forms of sin, and encompassing every form of virtue, both in action and in speech, along with every kind of spiritual gift.

Dear youth of NFCS, it is essential to remain steadfast and not yield to every doctrine that comes your way. In Matthew 24:24, Christ cautioned about false prophets who would arise and perform great signs and wonders to deceive people. Similarly, 2 Peter 2 also addresses the issue of false prophets. They abound, attempting to deceive by challenging the purity of your beliefs.

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A glance at Church history reveals that the issues raised today have been addressed and resolved by the Church in the past. Let us examine a few of them:

INFANT BAPTISM – The matter of infant baptism was resolved by the Council of Carthage in 253 AD. While there is no direct reference to the age of baptism in the Bible, instances are mentioned where entire households were baptized, likely including infants (Acts 16:13-15; 32-34; 1 Cor. 1:16; cf. Joshua 24:15). Early Christian figures from Polycarp to St. Justin and Hippolytus all spoke in favour of infant baptism. The Church thoroughly examined this practice and passed it down to us. If infant baptism were not beneficial, why would the Church endorse it? Some even argue for baptism by immersion over aspersion, but both forms are considered valid.

PURGATORY – In theological terms, there exists a concept known as “Eschatological Parousia” – the final events. These final events consist of Heaven or hell. Purgatory is not a permanent state but rather a transitional one. While the Catholic Church appears to stand alone on this doctrine, it holds firm as the guardian of divine truth. The issue of Purgatory was addressed by councils such as Florence and Trent, among others. 1 Corinthians 3:15 speaks of souls passing through fire before salvation. Additionally, Matthew 12:32 suggests that certain sins may be forgiven after death, indicating the existence of Purgatory. This raises the question of mortal and venial sins.

MORTAL AND VENIAL SINS – The concept of mortal and venial sins is primarily addressed by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. 1 John 5:16-17 provides some insight into this distinction.

 

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THE ROLE OF MARY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

The Council of Ephesus played a significant role in addressing the Blessed Virgin Mary within Catholic theology. Within Catholic doctrine, three types of worship are identified: Latria, Hyperdulia, and Dulia. St. Thomas Aquinas, in his “Summa Theologica”, elaborates on this distinction, stating: “Devotion to Mary falls under the veneration of dulia, which involves homage and honour given to saints, both angelic and human, in heaven, rather than latria, which is reserved for the adoration and worship of the Triune God and the incarnate Son.” However, due to Mary’s unique relationship to Christ in salvation history, a special degree of devotion known as hyperdulia has traditionally been attributed to her. While Latria is offered to her Son because of the unity of his divine and human natures in the Person of the Word made flesh, hyperdulia is bestowed upon Mary as truly his Mother.

 

Worship is reserved exclusively for God. The prayer known as the Hail Mary, which begins with “Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you,” draws its inspiration from Luke 1:28, while the phrase “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” is derived from Luke 1:48. Catholics frequently reflect on their relationship with Mary, citing biblical verses to support their devotion. However, interpretations of Mary’s role may vary among different religious traditions.

REAL PRESENCE – The Catholic Church uniquely upholds the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist through Transubstantiation. The biblical passages on this topic are clear and leave little room for differing interpretations. The Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council further defined this doctrine to ensure clarity and understanding. The explicit biblical references, such as John 6:53, affirm this belief. It is a fundamental aspect of Catholic teaching, as outlined in the catechism.

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Only the Catholic and Orthodox Churches profess belief in the real presence of Christ and possess the authority to uphold this doctrine. This authority stems from their adherence to Apostolic Succession, which grants their priests the power, originally bestowed upon the Apostles, to consecrate bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

 

Challenges and Misconceptions in Religious Discourse

The historical disputes between Catholics and some other Churches are among the ongoing controversies. However, the current tragedy extends beyond theological debates. Some youths today are advocating for a return to the religious practices of their ancestors, blaming Christianity for the challenges facing Nigeria. This viewpoint is rooted in ignorance. Nigeria is not unique in its conversion from traditional religions to Christianity. Before Christ, except perhaps the Israelites, many nations were fragmented flotsams of idolatrous tribes. Unfortunately, some individuals fail to distinguish between idolatry and cultural practices, mistakenly associating Christianity with the problems in Nigeria. It is important to note that Christianity does not require individuals to abandon their culture, except for practices like the harmful tradition of killing twins.

In ancient Rome, a multitude of gods held sway over various aspects of life. Vesta represented the sacred flame, symbolizing continuity within families, while Lar protected the fields, and Penates oversaw the home’s interior. Janus, with his two faces, served as the guardian of doorways, observing all who entered and exited. Cuba presided over oversleeping, while Fabuliana taught speech. The Earth itself was revered as a deity, known as Tellus or Terra Mater. Bona Dea granted fertility to women, and every aspect of agriculture had its corresponding deity: Pomona for orchards, Faunus for cattle, Pales for pastures, Sterculus for manure heaps, Ceres for crops, and Vulcan for fire-making. Jupiter, also known as Jove or Zeus, held a prominent position among the gods. In households, the father acted as the priest (known as Oji Ofor), while public worship was conducted by various priesthood associations led by a Pontifex Maximus. Offerings to the gods ranged from various commodities to even human sacrifices.

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Upon embracing Christianity, they abandoned those gods and their associated rituals.

Similar to some youths today, following the reign of the Christian Emperor Constantine, subsequent rulers, like Julian, known as the “apostate,” attempted to revive paganism but were unsuccessful. Consequently, Rome did not attribute its problems to Christianity thereafter. Therefore, the current actions of the youth are not unprecedented. It is driven by ignorance. However, the Church relies on NFCS members like you to convey that their efforts will not succeed.

Conclusion

In conclusion, dear NFCS youths, our exploration today has shed light on various aspects of our Catholic faith. I urge each of you to delve deeper into our tradition, seeking a profound understanding of our beliefs. Understanding our Catholic beliefs is crucial for spiritual growth and resilience in the face of contemporary challenges.

 

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As members of NFCS, embrace the slogan “Living the Faith” wholeheartedly. Let your patron saint, St. Albert the Great, inspire you to excel both academically and spiritually. In the face of challenges and misconceptions, remain steadfast in your convictions, trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of the Church.

Continue seeking knowledge, deepening your understanding of our faith, and living it out in your daily lives. Together, let us pursue our salvation with courage, conviction, and unwavering faith.

Thank you for your attention. God bless you abundantly on your journey of faith.

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FAITH

CAN Boss Brutalised By Anambra Traffic Officials, Loot His Vehicle

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Ven. Joseph Nweke, the Anambra State chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has accused some Anambra State Road Traffic Management Agency, ARTMA, officials of attacking him and looting his vehicle at the Dennis Memorial Grammar School, DMGS round-about axis in Onitsha on Friday afternoon in the name of traffic control.
Nweke, an Anglican Archdeacon, claimed that ARTMA officials beat and battered him after he questioned their identity when they pounced on him for allegedly committing a traffic offence.
He confirmed that the officials, acting commando-style, took away his car battery, plate number, money, and other valuables during the process, and they quickly zoomed away to avoid retaliation from sympathisers who cursed them for attacking a cleric.
Ven. Nweke recounted his ordeal at the hands of the attackers, saying, “I escaped being killed eight hours before my Diamond Jubilee celebration (60th birthday, scheduled for today, Saturday) by hoodlums claiming to be working for the state government.”
“I invited Governor Charles Soludo to the celebration, which I will host for guests from all walks of life as it is a celebration of my time on earth and service to God and humanity,” he said.
“My problem began with them when I was driving past the DMGS roundabout and a tricycle in front of me was stopped by the gang dressed in plain clothes. During the process, one of them rushed up to me and asked why I was blocking the road; I explained that the tricycle they had stopped was the cause because it was in front of me.
“He immediately began dragging my car key, and his members began looting my car; they removed the battery, plate number, and everything else in the pigeonhole, including a large sum of money, the value of which I cannot estimate at this time.”
“They quickly rushed and put on their aprons when sympathisers yelled that they were criminals and fled the scene.”
“I reported the incident to the Onitsha Police Area Commander, Mr Gregory Itobore, and the Inland Town Divisional Police Officer, Mrs Tina Okeke, who directed her men to ensure the safety of the car that was abandoned at the scene of the incident,” he said.
Confirming the incident, Mrs Okeke, the DPO, told reporters in her office that she had heard several negative stories about ARTMA officials assaulting and causing harm to road users in the name of checking traffic offences.

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FAITH

CAN Calls For Ethical Leadership, Unity In Eid-el-Fitri Message

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Archibishop Okoh

Archbishop Daniel Okoh, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has called on leaders at all levels of government to demonstrate moral rectitude and ethical leadership in their service to the nation.

Archbishop Okoh emphasised the importance of leadership integrity, accountability, and selflessness, as well as the critical role of ethical governance in guiding Nigeria towards long-term development and unity.

He called on Nigerians to reflect on their common aspirations for a just, equal, and respectful society, grounded in principles of justice and equality.

Archbishop Okoh reaffirmed CAN’s commitment to interfaith dialogue and cooperation, calling for religious unity and collaboration. He urged Nigerians to embrace diversity as a source of strength and work together to create a peaceful and prosperous future.

As Muslims around the world commemorate the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting, reflection, and spiritual renewal, Archbishop Okoh extended warm congratulations to our Muslim brothers and sisters.

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Recognising the profound significance of the Eid-el-Fitri celebration, he expressed solidarity with the Muslim community and acknowledged its importance not only for Muslims but for the entire nation.

Archbishop Okoh emphasised the values of compassion, humility, and generosity embodied in Eid-el-Fitri and their relevance to Nigeria’s diverse society. He emphasised the importance of drawing inspiration from these values to promote peace, harmony, and progress in the face of national challenges.

The Archbishop emphasised the lessons of empathy, forgiveness, and understanding embedded in Eid-el-Fitri, emphasising their importance in bridging religious and cultural gaps.

Finally, Archbishop Daniel Okoh’s Eid-el-Fitri message serves as a powerful reminder of the values of ethical leadership, unity, and cooperation that are critical to Nigeria’s progress and development. As the nation commemorates this auspicious occasion, his words serve as a call to action for all Nigerians to uphold honesty, transparency, and equity in their endeavours, as well as to embrace the spirit of unity and solidarity across religious and cultural lines.

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