Catholic Bishop Urges Members To Join Political Parties
The Catholic Diocese of Osogbo has inaugurated a movement, Catholic Action Nigeria, that will ensure that the total wellbeing of every Nigerian is guaranteed.
The Catholic bishop of Osogbo Diocese, Most Rev John Oyejola, inaugurated the movement and installed its executive during a Holy Mass at St Benedict Cathedral in Osogbo on Sunday.
The bishop said the movement would advocate good governance for citizens and called on members of the Church to be actively involved in all the efforts of the group to ensure that candidates who have the interest of masses at heart emerge in public offices at all levels.
The cleric urged all Catholics of voting age, including professionals and artisans, to join political parties of their choices to raise their voices and affect the much-needed positive change in the polity.
Oyejola said the group was not established to represent the interest of Catholics alone but all Nigerians in Osun state and called on all Nigerians to support the movement.
"I want all of you (Church members) to support them (Executive of Catholic Action Nigeria). As Christians, use your status to bring change to the world. This group is all over the dioceses in Nigeria. You are to represent us and serve humanity. You are not to represent Catholics alone. You have to endure sufferings. We have those who are government but they are not governing us.
"The church wants you (the group) to help in bringing people out. We can't live this world like this, this is not how we met it. We have got to repair this world for the coming generation. We need to restore the future for our children. Speak the truth always," the bishop charged the newly installed executive.
He further charged the executive to dedicate themselves to the task of educating the electorate through mass mobilisation.
“Catholic Action Nigeria is not a political party, neither is it new. It is a lay organisation in the Catholic Church, instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1927 to help spread the Church’s social teachings, and to mobilise the people to be more involved in socio-economic and political matters that affect their lives,” he said.
Speaking, the Diocesan president of the group, Dr Paul Oyebiyi, noted that the group was inaugurated to conscientise Christians to go into politics and bring about good governance in the country.
Oyebiyi said: "the Catholic Action Nigeria is established to represent the voice of the Church and ensure good governance in such away that the total wellbeing of every individual will be guaranteed: security, economic prosperity, good living and also achieving our eternal home while on earth. It is to carryout the vision of the church in our daily social living.
"The first role of the Catholic Action of Nigeria is to serve as an advocacy group to advocate for all these that have mentioned, especially, good governance.
To also create awareness and conscientise people to vote wisely. It is also to educate our active politicians. Like those of us in the Action group, we are not partisan politicians but we will do as much as possible to be an independent umpire a free and fair and credible election.
"We will also ensure that out people go out to vote, you will discover that we have a large percentage of voters who don't vote and if you are not voting, you cannot get the desired results. And we need to be able to vote for credible candidates, not necessarily Catholic, not necessarily Christian but candidates we know that will be men and women of their words that will be able to achieve good governance for the masses."
"We are encouraging Catholics to participate in politics. As many people that are interested and capable, we encourage them to go into politics; especially the younger generation because we want to build the generational gap.
"You will discover we have a president, who was also our president, forty years ago, and he is still the president. And while he was there, they said the young shall grow, the future belongs to the youth and the same man who was our president forty years ago he is still our president now.
There must be a point when we galvanize and conscientise the young people to become, not just the 'shout group' or the 'Soro Soke' type but the fact that you have some people who are properly conscientised and will be able to act the mind of the Church."
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