Nigerian prelate laments lack of missionary commitment

Nigerian prelate laments lack of missionary commitment

Catholic World News – January 19, 2017

A Nigerian archbishop said in a recent homily that a lack of a sense of missionary urgency among priests and religious is the greatest challenge facing the Church in Africa’s most populous nation.

Archbishop Mathew Man’Oso Ndagoso of Kaduna said that “many in our generation seem to have been infected with the deadly virus of complacency, lethargy, and nonchalance.”

“We like to bask in the euphoria of our being the first and well established Roman Catholic Church founded on Peter the Rock, with no sense of urgency to proclaim the Gospel,” he continued. “Before our very own eyes we see wolves in sheep’s clothing poaching and devouring our sheep, without any serious concern except that of assuring and reassuring ourselves that when some leave, others will come in on their own because we are, one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”

The nation of 186.1 million is 50% Muslim and 40% Christian, with 10% retaining indigenous beliefs.


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One comment on “Nigerian prelate laments lack of missionary commitment

  1. When 300% growth is not enough: the measure of African evangelization

    By Phil Lawler | Jan 19, 2017

    This news item from Nigeria today is food for thought. Archbishop Mathew Man’Oso Ndagoso of Kaduna concerned, because he sees “no sense of urgency to proclaim the Gospel.” The archbishop fears that “complacency, lethargy, and nonchalance” are choking off the evangelizing impulse in his country.

    To put those fears in perspective, let’s look at some numbers.

    In 1960, when Archbishop Ndagoso was born, Catholics accounted for much less than 1% of the population in the geographical area of the Kaduna archdiocese, which he now leads. By 1986, when he was ordained to the priesthood (in another diocese), that figure in Kaduna had risen above 2%: an impressive rise, but still a small number. Today it is somewhere around 10%.

    (According to the official statistics in the Annuario Pontifico, the population of Kaduna is now 32% Catholic. That figure would mean a whopping 1,000% growth in the Catholic portion of the population during the past 65 years. However, I suspect an error in the statistics, since they show a huge unexplained drop in the overall population, for which I can see no good explanation. I am assuming, in what follows, that the overall population was at least steady. If that assumption is wrong, I am seriously understating my case.)

    In absolute numbers, the Catholic population of Kaduna is ten times larger today than it was in 1970. That number, too, understates the case, since the boundaries of the archdiocese have been trimmed twice during that period, with new dioceses carved out of the territory.

    So when Archbishop Ndagoso complains about complacency in evangelization, he is speaking about an archdiocese in which the Catholic population has grown by 1000% in absolute terms, and by over 300% as a proportion of the overall population. And he thinks that is lethargic?! What American bishop wouldn’t be delighted to see the same sort of statistics on his diocesan reports?

    But is Archbishop Ndagoso being illogical? Or is he merely an energetic pastor, a shepherd fired by a holy zeal for souls? Aren’t great orchestras led by conductors who push good musicians to a higher level? And great athletic teams by coaches who push their players to do more than they might have thought possible? When a prelate can look at 300% growth and worry about complacency—wondering why it’s not 500%, I suppose—it’s no surprise that the Catholic faith is spreading so quickly across Africa.

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