Priestly are to emulate christ in simplicity
In recent times, there have been lots of discourse on the social media about the relevance or not of Christians paying tithes. I believe the issue came up as reactions to trending photographs of some religious leaders perceived to be living large. I equally saw one or two of such photos showing a man posing beside a vehicle said to worth millions of naira, while another was spotted inside a private jet. One can understand the sensitivity of such an issue at this time, when the country is going through hard times.
Before now, some people have been quoted, as saying some of today’s churches are merely serving as conduit pipes for money laundering and other nefarious activities. Well, that is their opinion. As for me, it is not right to judge how others perceived men of God live their lives. Those who worship in such pastors’ churches must have their reasons. The Bible equally admonishes us not to judge, so that we may not be judged. Be that as it may, one cannot but make one or two comments in order to pacify the minds of God’s children on the need for them not to focus on the views of men, but to look up to Jesus, Who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Jesus Himself warned us that in the last days, many would come out with strange teachings and claim to be who they are not. We see all kinds of people claiming to be prophets and performing all sorts of magic to confuse the children of God. They work on the people’s gullibility and their quest for easy wealth without sweat. They are told to expect instant miracles, if only they can sow certain sums of money into their ministries. But can one buy God over? Can we truly afford to buy God’s blessings? No. God is generosity personified. There is no amount of gift we can give to Him to change His loving mind towards us. No one can bribe God.
For those still bothered about the issue of tithing, let not your heart be troubled. It is a matter of personal conviction. When you give, do so with an open mind, being assured that such donations would be properly utilised for the upliftment of humanity. If, however, you have issues bothering on the flamboyant lifestyle of your pastor, feel free to meet him one-on-one to express your observations. At the end of the day, if you are not satisfied, allow God to guide your footsteps. However, as a Catholic priest, I can say authoritatively that priests are trained and encouraged to live simple lives in line with Jesus Christ’s nature. We have clear-cut guidelines for handling finances in parishes and dioceses.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social
Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.
The priest does not have liberty to enrich himself with the Church’s proceeds. It is not acceptable. Indeed, at ordination, the Catholic priest is required to take an oath of obedience, chastity and poverty. These bind him to a life of prudence and accountability. There are financial councils in the various parishes, which administer the use of funds and are accountable to the bishop or Archbishop, as the case may be.
The Catholic Church is committed to ensuring that the spiritual and temporal needs of the faithful are met, as much as possible. A large chunk of collections so received is given back as aid to those in need, as is the case with members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, who offer financial assistance to the less privileged. The Church is very active in philanthropy, providing such social services as building and running hospitals and skill acquisition centres, especially in rural communities where the people do not enjoy high government’s presence.
We also offer aid to widows, the handicapped, prisoners and the sick in the society, following the injunction of Christ to be actively involved in corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, bury the dead, shelter the traveller, comfort the sick, and ransom the captive.
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