The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, says coronavirus has become an acid test for Christendom to determine genuine clerics.
He said pastors and priests after prosperity are businessmen and not called by God.
Kaigama said this in an interview with Sunday PUNCH in Abuja in response to the protests by pastors and imams against closure of places of worship because of COVID-19.
Kaigama said, “This is the time to know who are true shepherds of the flock and those who are just engaged in work of religion in order to amass wealth for themselves or to acquire wealth and prosperity.
“This is the acid test now. If you are a pastor or priest in order to serve the people and lead them to heaven, then whether coronavirus is active or not, you will still go on to do that.
“But if you are a pastor or priest in order to acquire material wealth, in order to enjoy prosperity, then, I’m sorry, you’re not called by God. You’re a businessman or businesswoman and not a priest or pastor.
“This is the time we should see real men of God who are dedicated, even to the point of giving everything they have, including their lives in the service of the people of God.
“This is a moment of trial for us, we hope that we will pass the test with distinction as pastors and we will be able to stand by our people solidly without money.
“If the collections are not coming to the church, tithes are not there, how do you do? Will you run away and abandon the sheep? No, as a good shepherd, you should stand strong and firm and be there for the people and pray for good time to come again.”
He backed those forced to suspend weddings because of the COVID -19 pandemic.
Kaigama said, “We have to be alive first, our priority now is to be alive and healthy. So, whatever we need to do to stay alive is more important. Things can be put on hold and if you can’t put things on hold, you have to manage by scaling them down.
“You can see, even in the church that we have not been holding our regular activities because we want to make sure we don’t increase the spread of this coronavirus. The same with government, banks and many other institutions. Everything has to be scaled down.
“The situation dictates what is possible, if there wasn’t any pandemic, things would go as normal. But now with the way it is, everything has to change. Life can’t be the same and marriage is good but must not be done according to what society feels it should be. Marriage can be done quietly and it is still marriage.”