The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, said that the Catholic Church is apolitical, and so, does not endorse or subscribe to any political party.
The bishops made the clarification in a Press Release issued at the weekend in Abuja.
The Release signed by Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze and Most Rev. Camillus Umuoh, President and Secretary respectively, also stated that no Catholic clergy should publicly endorse any candidate for political office. Similarly, ecclesiastical properties should not be used as place for support for any political candidate or party.
The Press release reads in part: “We, the members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), as teachers Of the faith and morals do have the serious obligation to educate our faithful on their role in the political life of the country.
“We have observed that the political atmosphere is very tense and also noticed the Political realignment that is taking place. Some politicians are changing political Parties and urging their supporters to switch over their support to their new parties as well. Given this development, we wish to use this opportunity to make it clear that the Catholic Church remains ever apolitical and does not endorse or subscribe to any political party.
“Consequently, we hereby declare that no Catholic clergy or religious should publicly endorse any candidate for political office. Liturgical ceremonies must never be used as an opportunity for political campaigns. Similarly, ecclesiastical properties should not be used as places for support for any political candidate or party. All priests and religious should avoid giving the impression that the Church favours one candidate over another or one political party over another.
“These are difficult times in the history of Nigeria. As people of faith we must work Hard and also pray hard for the future of Nigeria. During the military rule, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) composed the Prayer for Nigeria in Distress.
“Dearly beloved in Christ, Nigeria is in distress. We consequently, call on Catholics to recite this prayer at all Masses and other liturgical celebrations. We entrust Nigeria into the hands of God and implore Him to improve the situation in our country. May God intervene in the life of Nigeria once again, so that we can enjoy true peace, justice, and prosperity.”