P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Religion http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Sun, 14 Dec 2014 11:57:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Priests celibacy reason for child abuse http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/12/priests-celibacy-reason-for-child-abuse/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/12/priests-celibacy-reason-for-child-abuse/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:01:40 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=222618 Pope Francis: Head of the Catholic Church

Pope Francis: Head of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church in Australia on Friday said that obligatory celibacy may have contributed to priests abusing children, and recommended that clergy should be given “psychosexual” training.

In a landmark report, an Australian Catholic Church body dealing with the legacy of child sex abuse added that some church institutions and their leaders turned a blind eye to what was going on for years.

“Obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances,” the Truth, Justice and Healing Council said.

The council is helping the Catholic Church respond to Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which was set up last year.

The commission is investigating widespread allegations of paedophilia in religious organisations, schools and state care.

Its hearings have covered harrowing allegations of child abuse involving places of worship, orphanages, community groups and schools dating back decades.

The council, on behalf of the Church, is compiling a database of abuse by Australian clergy dating back to the 1940s.

Its preliminary work has suggested the number of paedophile priests was about four percent in Australia, twice as many as the number globally Pope Francis was quoted as giving by Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, in comments later questioned by a Vatican spokesman.

– Church pressured over celibacy –

The Catholic Church has come under pressure to reconsider the tradition of clerical celibacy, which although practised for hundreds of years is not an unchangeable part of Church rules.

Council chief executive Francis Sullivan said even the most sacred church traditions, including celibacy, must be up for discussion, although he was not recommending that the no-sex vow be changed.

“What our council’s report says is that we recognise that celibacy can be a contributing factor,” he told ABC radio.

“We do not know the extent of that, we do not know the degree to which it was a dominant factor but we are not putting our head in the sand and ignoring the issue.”

He said the way priests were trained should be addressed.

“When we have a public inquiry into the sex crimes in the Catholic Church, you need to address how sexuality is understood and acted out by members of the clergy,” he said.

“You need a very clear understanding about your own sexuality, your own sexual development, your own way of relating as a person to others.

“That’s called psychosexual education. Certainly in the past, there was none.”

Earlier this year the pope apologised to abuse victims for the “grave crimes” committed against them, and for the complicity of the church in covering them up.

The report released in Australia on Friday said there was often more concern with protecting institutions than children, and criticised a culture “geared to power over others” rather than service.

Sullivan said in a media release that the scale of the abuse uncovered since the royal commission was set up “has gone beyond even the worst expectations of many”.

“The public hearings have exposed the failings within the church to understand the extent of the crisis and, certainly in the early years, to put in place a pathway for survivors of abuse to be heard and to access justice,” he said.

“What we have seen however over the past two years is the willingness of the church leadership to tackle the emerging issues head-on, to understand the need for change and for a new approach to the survivors.”

He said church leaders now recognised that the sexual abuse of a child by a priest was a crime under Australian and canon law.

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Pope Francis makes first visit to Turkey http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/28/pope-francis-makes-first-visit-to-turkey/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/28/pope-francis-makes-first-visit-to-turkey/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 05:04:57 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=221025 Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis begins his first visit to Turkey on Friday in a challenging trip aimed at building bridges with Islam and supporting the embattled Christian minorities of the Middle East.

The pope will spend the first of three days in Turkey in the capital Ankara, notably holding a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at his newly-constructed and hugely controversial presidential palace.

The 77-year-old Argentine pope will move to Istanbul on Saturday and Sunday, visiting key sites of the city’s Byzantine and Ottoman heritage as well as meeting the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

The trip appears less controversial than the last by a pontiff to mainly Muslim Turkey — the visit by Pope Francis’ predecessor Benedict XVI in 2006 which was overshadowed by remarks he had previously made deemed to be anti-Islamic.

But the security of the pope will be paramount for the Turkish authorities.

The close contact with crowds that have been such a feature of the past trips by the charismatic head of the Roman Catholic Church are not expected to feature in Turkey.

Some 2,700 police are set to supervise his visit in Ankara, a number that will rise to 7,000 in Istanbul.

There have also been calls on the pope not to meet Erdogan at his vast presidential palace which has 1,000 rooms, costing no less than $615 million (500 million euros) and seen by critics as an authoritarian extravagance.

But the Vatican has refused to be drawn into the polemic, saying it is merely accepting the invitation by the hosts for the pope, who will be by far the most important visitor so far at the palace.

– Mosque visit –

A subject of keen attention will be the pope’s visit in Istanbul Saturday to the Hagia Sophia, the great Byzantine church that was turned into a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and now serves as a museum.

His every gesture will be scrutinised later in the day when he visits the Sultan Ahmet mosque, known as the Blue Mosque, one of the greatest masterpieces of Ottoman architecture.

When Benedict XVI visited the mosque in 2006, he assumed the Muslim attitude of prayer and turned towards Mecca in what many saw as a stunning gesture of reconciliation.

The Vatican later made clear he had not actually prayed in the mosque but was “in meditation” and Pope Francis could make a similar gesture.

The visit has hardly sparked waves of enthusiasm in Turkey, where the relatively muted reaction is likely to contrast with the jubilant scenes seen on trips to majority Catholic countries like Brazil.

Previous papal trips to Turkey have been greeted moaning about the additional traffic congestion in Istanbul’s already clogged streets.

Turkey’s own Christian community is tiny — just 80,000 in a country of some 75 million Muslims — but also extremely mixed, consisting of Armenians, Greek Orthodox, Franco-Levantines, Syriac Orthodox and Chaldeans.

While only the Chaldeans and Levantines follow the pope in any numbers, Francis is expected to raise his concern about the plight of Christian communities throughout the Middle East amid the rise of Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

But papal visits to Turkey are still a rarity — Francis will be just the fourth pope to visit the country after Benedict in 2006, John Paul II in 1979 and Paul VI in 1967.

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11 dead in church stampede http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/21/11-dead-in-church-stampede/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/21/11-dead-in-church-stampede/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:01:06 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=220361 Police line

At least 11 people have died and several others have been injured during a stampede at a church service in the Zimbabwean mining town of Kwekwe, police said Friday.

“Four people died during a crush at a stadium in Kwekwe,” said police spokesman Shadreck Mubaiwa. “The other seven died on arrival at a state hospital in the town.”

The tragedy occurred Thursday night at a stadium in Kwekwe, 218 kilometres southwest of the capital Harare, at an event organised by Prophet Walter Magaya, a popular Pentecostal preacher who claims to perform miracles of healing.

Mubaiwa said there was a stampede as the church service ended when thousands of worshippers pushed their way through the venue’s only exit.

“Because of the pressure, some people fell resulting in the deaths and injuries.”

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Israel removes age restriction on Jerusalem mosque http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/14/israel-removes-age-restriction-on-jerusalem-mosque/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/14/israel-removes-age-restriction-on-jerusalem-mosque/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 08:10:41 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219610 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Men of all ages will be allowed to attend the main weekly Muslim prayers Friday at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound for the first time in “months”, a police spokesman said.

“No age limit on the Temple Mount, we’re hoping things will be calm and quiet today,” spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told AFP.

He was using the Jewish term for the Old City holy site that has been the scene of repeated disturbances for months.

He added that “extra police units were deployed in Jerusalem this morning to prevent any incidents in and around the Old City.”

Rosenfeld linked the decision to lift age restrictions to talks in Jordan on Thursday after which US Secretary of State John Kerry said steps were agreed between King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lower tensions at the mosque compound.

“Firm commitments” were made to maintain the status quo at the compound, holy to both Jews and Muslims, in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, Kerry said at a press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Israel and Jordan, which has custodial rights at the compound, also agreed to take steps to “de-escalate the situation” in Jerusalem and to “restore confidence”.

“We are not going to lay out each practical step. It is more important they be done in a quiet and effective way,” Kerry said.

“It is clear to me that they are serious about working on the effort to create de-escalation and to take steps to instil confidence that the status quo will be upheld.”

The Palestinians have been infuriated by a far-right Israeli campaign for Jewish prayer rights at Al-Aqsa.

Netanyahu has said repeatedly that his government has no plans to change the decades-old status quo at the compound which allows Jews to visit but not pray.

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New evidence proves that Jesus Christ got married http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/12/new-evidence-proves-that-jesus-christ-got-married/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/12/new-evidence-proves-that-jesus-christ-got-married/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 19:48:18 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219473 Jesus and Mary Photo: soulmerlin.com

Jesus and Mary
Photo: soulmerlin.com

A new book was launched in London on Wednesday claiming to have fresh evidence that Jesus married and had children with Mary Magdalene, but it drew derision from some quarters.

The authors of “The Lost Gospel” made their claims based on a new translation they have made of an ancient manuscript held in the British Library, and two accompanying letters.

The manuscript, “Joseph and Aseneth”, elaborates on the story of Joseph as recounted in the Book of Genesis and is thought to date back to the sixth century.

Simcha Jacobovici, an Israeli-Canadian documentary filmmaker, and Canadian academic Barrie Wilson say they found a code in the document and believe it refers to Jesus.

“It presents the courtship, marriage, children and an attempt on his life in coded, symbolic terms,” they said in a statement.

“Because the early years of the Church were so rife with conflict, important manuscripts were disguised in this way to protect it from those who sought to alter or destroy it.”

Critics have rounded on the new book, which is accompanied by a television documentary.

The Church of England dismissed the claims, and Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of church history at Oxford University, told AFP they were based on a “mistaken reading” of the text.

“What they’ve tried to do is say it’s an allegory of the life of Jesus. But it isn’t,” he said.

Wilson, a professor of religious studies at York University in Toronto, dismissed the “off-the-cuff negative comments”, saying they were motivated by “theological protectionism”.

An ancient piece of papyrus found in 2012 contained a mention of Jesus’s wife but did not name her. It too caused a stir, as Christian tradition has long held he was not married.

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2014 Hajj: Ogun Orders Refund of Form Payment http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/12/2014-hajj-ogun-orders-refund-of-form-payment/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/12/2014-hajj-ogun-orders-refund-of-form-payment/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:42:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219418 Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, Southwest, Nigeria has ordered the refund of payment to intending pilgrims from the state, who could not perform the pilgrimage this year.

It was gathered that the governor made the directive in line with the current administrations rebuilding mission and to ensure fair play, equity and justice for unsuccessful pilgrims who missed out in the just concluded 2014 hajj exercise.

In a statement issued on Wednesday and signed by the Executive Secretary of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Sefiu Rasheed, copy which was made available to our correspondent in Abeokuta, the governor approved the refund of the sum of five thousand naira (N5,000), which was the required payment made for procurement of the forms.

Rasheed noted that the gesture was first of its kind in the history of management of hajj operations in the state, adding that, all unsuccessful pilgrims should visit the Board’s headquarters from Monday 17 November to Friday 5, December 2014 with relevant documents to verify their claims.

“Ogun state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has graciously approved the refund of the five thousand naira, been fees paid for forms by all unsuccessful applicants for the just concluded 2014 hajj exercise, due to his desire to ensure fair play justice and equity,” the statement read.

It also added that all unsuccessful applicants are advised to retrieve their initial deposits from the board coffers, as no reserved slots would be given to any would be pilgrims during the commencement of the 2015 exercise.

“All unsuccessful applicants for last hajj exercise who are yet to retrieve their initial deposit payments from the Board are advised to note that no special status would be accorded to any intending pilgrim in the forth coming 2015 exercise,” Rasheed concluded.

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Paedophile Irish priest sentenced in Chile sex-abuse case http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/11/paedophile-irish-priest-sentenced-in-chile-sex-abuse-case/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/11/paedophile-irish-priest-sentenced-in-chile-sex-abuse-case/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 21:45:55 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219370 John O'Reilly

John O’Reilly

An influential Irish priest was sentenced in Chile to four years’ probation Tuesday for sexually abusing a young girl while he was the spiritual advisor of an elite school.

John O’Reilly, the local head of the Catholic Church’s ultra-conservative Legion of Christ order, was convicted last month of repeatedly molesting the girl from the time she was five.

A court in Santiago sentenced the 68-year old priest to four years and one day of “supervised freedom” — a punishment roughly equivalent to probation that involves no prison time — and barred him from working in schools or with children.

Prosecutors had requested a sentence of 10 years in prison.

“This was not an easy case. It has special connotations, at a particular school and involving a person who’s not just anybody,” prosecutor Lorena Parra told journalists as she left the courthouse, praising the decision to bar O’Reilly from working with children.

Defense lawyer Luis Hermosilla said he and his client would decide whether to appeal in the next 10 days.

The court found O’Reilly had sexually abused the now nine-year-old student at the exclusive Colegio Cumbres school in eastern Santiago between March and December 2010 and March and July 2012.

He was also accused of molesting the girl’s older sister, but the court found insufficient evidence to support the charge.

O’Reilly, who arrived in Chile in 1984, was previously one of the most highly regarded priests in Chile, which granted him citizenship in 2008.

The Legion of Christ has been beset by accusations of sexual abuse, influence peddling and other controversies in various countries.

The order’s founder, Mexican-born Marcial Maciel, stepped down in 2005 amid allegations of pedophilia and fathering several children. He died in 2008.

The group, founded in 1941, managed for decades to hide complaints against Maciel, who enjoyed the protection of high-ranking Vatican officials during the pontificate of John Paul II.

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TREM Holds Kingdom Life Conference 16 Nov http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/11/trem-holds-kingdom-life-conference-16-nov/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/11/11/trem-holds-kingdom-life-conference-16-nov/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:14:49 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=219325 The 25th Edition of the Kingdom Life World Conference 2014, of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) with the theme “God and God Alone” will hold from the 16 to 23 November,  at the TREM National and International Headquarters, Anthony Oke Bus Stop/Gbagada Express Road, Lagos.

Apart from words of ministration during the eight-day conference, other major events scheduled for the conference are the “Big League Summit” from 17-20 November, starting from 9 a.m. and the Friday night musical concert tagged “Zamar” on  21 November, 2014 from 9 p.m. There will also be raffle draws with opportunity for participants to win brand new cars and plots of land, amongst others.

The men of God who will minister during the conference include Bishop Tudor Bismark, Dr. Mensah Otabil, Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, Bishop Peace Okonkwo, the National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Dr. Felix Omobude; National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Bishop Simon Okah and Dr. Abel Damina.

•Bishop Mike Okonkwo

•Bishop Mike Okonkwo

Expected speakers for the “Big League Summit” include: Bishop Tudor Bismark, Dr. Mensah Otabil, Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, Mudi Designs, Cobhams Asuquo and Jobberman.

The guest artistes scheduled for the Friday all-night gospel musical praise concert “Zamar” include Nathaniel Bassey, Cobhams Asuquo, Chinyere Udoma, Ali Baba, Tee A and the evergreen Evangel Voices.

The closing service of the conference comes up on Sunday, 23 November.

The event is the annual conference of TREM that brings together everyone irrespective of his or her location to worship and celebrate the goodness of God.

The conference, which started in 1990, is one of the greatest gathering of believers and unbelievers in the city of Lagos. This conference has always attracted anointed servants of God from around the world and is attended not only by the members of the church but prominent and proven men and women of God from various ministries in Nigeria and also from other African Nations, United States of America, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Philippines and Germany.

Yearly,  delegates from various parts of the world who are not members of the ministry come to receive from God and testimonies from them have been very encouraging.

The conference has also recorded life changing testimonies and landmark achievements and has continued to grow in the area of impacting the leaders, through various leadership sessions and empowering the attendees through various teaching on social and economic issues.

The hosts are Bishop Mike  and Bishop (Mrs.) Peace Okonkwo.

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Jonathan, Bishop Oyedepo, Oritsejafor arrive Jerusalem for Pilgrimage http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/25/jonathan-bishop-oyedepo-oritsejafor-arrive-jerusalem-for-pilgrimage/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/25/jonathan-bishop-oyedepo-oritsejafor-arrive-jerusalem-for-pilgrimage/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:05:26 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=217382 Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Mr John Kennedy Opara; Chief Of Staff to the President, Brig.-Gen. Jones Arogbofa (rtd); Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Sen. Smart Adeyemi and Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State, welcoming President Goodluck Jonathan at the Yafo Ben Gurion international airport Tel Aviv for the 2014 Christian Pilgrimage in Tel Avion on Saturday 25/10/2014

Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Mr John Kennedy Opara; Chief Of Staff to the President, Brig.-Gen. Jones Arogbofa (rtd); Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Sen. Smart Adeyemi and Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State, welcoming President Goodluck Jonathan at the Yafo Ben Gurion international airport Tel Aviv for the 2014 Christian Pilgrimage in Tel Avion on Saturday 25/10/2014

President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Jerusalem on Saturday for a two-day pilgrimage to Israel.

According to the president’s itinerary, he will observe the Sabbath Day on Saturday at the Wailing Wall, where he will pray privately before going to Mount Tabor and Mount Carmel.

Jonathan will also visit some other Christian holy sites during the pilgrimage.

During the pilgrimage, he will pray for Nigeria at an Interdenominational Church Service with the theme: “A day with Jesus for Nigeria in Israel”.

The progamme of events indicates that other Nigerian Pilgrims will join the president during the service to pray for the well being and progress of the country.

NAN recalls that Jonathan is performing pilgrimage for the second time since he was elected president in 2011.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Israel Davi Obasa received the president on arrival at the David Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv.

Others that were at the airport included Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra, Mr John-Kennedy Opara, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission and Brig.- Gen. Jones Arogbofa, the Chief of Staff.

The president is accompanied to the pilgrimage by Ven. Obioma Onwuzurumba, Chaplain of the Presidential Villa, Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church Worldwide and Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT.

Members of the Federal Government delegation in the pilgrimage include the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Chief Olajumoke Akinjide, Minister of State for FCT, Prof. Chinedu Neboh, Minister of Power, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, Minister of Water Resources, Sen. Philip Aduda and Rep. Ndudi Elumelu, are also part of the delegation.

Other delegates are Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue and Gov. Jonah Jang of Plateau.

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Pope faces key test with vote on divorcees, gays http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/18/pope-faces-key-test-with-vote-on-divorcees-gays/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/18/pope-faces-key-test-with-vote-on-divorcees-gays/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 12:52:24 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=216548 Pope Francis was set to sort his allies from his enemies Saturday with a Vatican vote on a document drafted at the end of a fierce two-week debate over opening the Catholic Church’s doors to remarried divorcees and gays.

The vote will close a special synod of bishops from around the world which has seen conservatives clash publicly with liberals over a Francis-backed drive to reform the Church by softening its approach to sinners.

Ahead of the vote, the cardinals overwhelmingly approved a message to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics stressing the value of “unique and indissoluble conjugal love” but without touching directly on the hot topic of non-traditional unions.

Several told a news conference they were confident the final synod document would pass with the necessary two-thirds majority later Saturday after Vatican experts raised the real possibility it could fail.

The vote has turned into a referendum on the pope’s audacious line.

Francis, 77, has called for the Church to take a more merciful approach to unwed mothers, remarried divorcees and gays, famously saying of homosexuals, “Who am I to judge?”

A preliminary report on Monday made waves around the world by suggesting the Church should reach out to homosexuals, who have “gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community”, outraging traditionalists who had to be reminded by the Vatican that it was a work in progress.

A fresh report Thursday summed up the reactions of 10 working groups of bishops, which mixed declarations of respect for homosexuals with fierce insistence that any opening up to sinners would imply the Church condoned their behaviour.

The final document is expected to take into account the bishops’ amendments, but will be written by a drafting committee made up of perceived progressives appointed by Francis himself.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

The fallout in the corridors of power, which Boston Globe Vatican expert John Allen described as “like a daytime soap opera”, has already caused at least one head to roll.

Outspoken Cardinal Raymond Burke, currently head of the Vatican’s top canon law court, confirmed to Buzzfeed that he will be removed from the job to be made patron to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an honorary post.

He told the US news website: “The pope is not free to change the Church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”

The vote will reflect the attitude of the top echelons of the Church towards reform — and ultimately towards Francis’s rule, which has been coloured since his election in March last year by a determination to show the more humane side of the centuries-old institution.

“The Synod splits over gays and divorcees: there’s a risk of an anti-pope vote,” read a headline by Franca Giansoldati, Vatican expert for Italy’s Il Messaggero daily, which described the vote as “a nasty test for Pope Francis”.

“The risks are high. If the amendments are not inserted in the text the biggest surprise could come from the vote. The majority, for now, do not seem to be in favour — and the count could prove fatal,” she said.

German Cardinal Walter Kasper, an ally of the pope’s who has been pushing for reform, has said he believes the “majority” of those taking part in the synod are open to change.

Kasper suggested in February that remarried divorcees should be allowed to take communion under certain conditions.

Critical bishops have said the initial document placed “too much emphasis on the problems facing the family”.

“Many bishops have asked that the document be thoroughly re-written. There have been such a number of negative reactions that the risk is it won’t pass the vote unless its heavily revised,” Marco Tosatti, who writes for La Stampa’s Vatican Insider, told AFP.

Some resent the intense media glare on the proceedings. Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea told the Catholic News Agency that all the attention on gay couples was “an attempt to push the Church to change its doctrine”.

This synod will be followed by a year of consultations, and a follow-up questionnaire will be sent out to dioceses around the world. A second, larger synod will then be held in October 2015.

After that, the results will be handed to the Argentinian pope, who will have the final say in outlining the Church’s stance on family matters.

Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits — to which Francis belongs — told the I.Media religious news agency to watch for a possible “revolution” a year from now.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, an ally of the pope, said there was no turning back. “There have been two steps forward, there may be one step backwards, but certainly not two.”

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$9.3m Arms Scandal: Okotie Asks Oritsejafor To Resign http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/10/9-3m-arms-scandal-okotie-asks-oritsejafor-to-resign/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/10/9-3m-arms-scandal-okotie-asks-oritsejafor-to-resign/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 12:47:35 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=215340 Reverend Chris Okotie, the founder of the Household of God Church, Lagos, western Nigeria, has asked the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, to resign as the leader of the Christian community in Nigeria in order to salvage what remains of the battered image of the religious association.

Okotie made the call in reaction to the controversies surrounding the use of the CAN leader’s private jet to smuggle $9.3 million into South Africa allegedly for purchase of arms and ammunition.

The Federal Government of Nigeria claimed it had a hand in the deal. The cash was seized in South Africa on 5 September from two Nigerians and an Israeli who brought it into the country in  the jet .

•Rev. Chris Okotie: Asks CAN president to resign

•Rev. Chris Okotie: Asks CAN president to resign

In his opinion entitled: ‘$9.3m Scandal: Oritsejafor Should Do The Right Thing’, published on the back page of Daily Sun on Friday, Okotie  expressed dissatisfaction with the CAN boss for compromising the integrity of his esteemed office.

The televangelist called for Oritsejafor’s resignation, saying that he has not only compromised his leadership position due to his alleged involvement in the scandal but also because of  his “indiscretion in indentifying too closely with President Goodluck Jonathan  in a way that suggests a veiled endorsement of policies and actions by the entire Christian community.”

Okotie added that Oritsejafor should step down because “his abrasive leadership style has also polarized the Christian community as evidenced by the current unprecedented division in CAN.”

He wrote: “Not that it is a sin to be the President’s pal, but when such relationship becomes provocatively patronizing, or self-serving, it is unacceptable. The pastor (Oritsejafor) does not show restraint in the way he goes about, publicly hobnobbing with the President as if he is the Chaplain of Aso Rock. This certainly has compromised the integrity of his office as CAN President and his latest incident is just the climax of embarrassing incidents we can’t tolerate any longer. Considering the collateral damage Pastor Ayo’s close relationship with the President has done to the Christian community, it is fit and proper for the pastor to resign immediately as CAN President to salvage what remains of the battered image of the association.

“This is without prejudice to the on-going investigation on the matter. Denials of his culpability by the Federal Government, CAN officials and his own recent defence,  do nothing to reduce the moral burden this whole saga places on his shoulders. As the titular leader of Christians in Nigeria, there’s now a serious crisis of confidence on his leadership and he ought to respond to it by resigning from his exalted position.”

•Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor: In  $9.3m arms scandal

•Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor: In $9.3m arms scandal

Okotie  questioned the CAN president’s involvement in public quarrels with the President’s critics, from the Muslim faith as well as in the opposition.

“In a nation of contending faiths, Pastor Ayo literally ignores our divergent religious sensibilities as he sometimes gets himself involved in public quarrels with the President’s critics, from the Muslim faith as well as in the opposition. Not all Christians are comfortable with this posture by their leader, especially at a time of intense politicking and the sectarian tensions generated by the Boko Haram insurgents and communal violence involving ethnic minorities with entrenched religious identities.

“Before now, leaders of this organization deliberately stayed out of politics in keeping with the traditional stance of neutrality of the body vis-a-viz the policy postures of incum- bent governments. In fact, former PFN leader like the late Archbishop Benson Idohosa and ex-CAN President, Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie, kept governments on their toes during their time…But here, we are dealing with Pastor Ayo as the leader of CAN; the largest umbrella of Nigerian Christians. He is condemned to be judged by secular standards, which, in this case, demands that, having found himself in a quagmire which calls to question the sanctity of his office, he must step down to redeem his image,” Okotie wrote.

Meanwhile, Oritsejafor has washed his hands off the controversies surrounding the $9.3 million scandal.

Oritsejafor recently admitted at the meeting of the National Executive Council meeting of CAN at the National Christian Centre, Abuja that though he owned the private jet which was used to convey the cash to South Africa, he had leased the aircraft to another company at the time it was involved in the cash smuggling incident.

He promised that he will not do anything to tarnish Christianity and also used the occasion to affirm that he did not receive any aircraft from the President as it is being insinuated.

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Pastor who made followers eat grass, now gives them petrol http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/07/pastor-who-made-followers-eat-grass-now-gives-them-petrol/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/07/pastor-who-made-followers-eat-grass-now-gives-them-petrol/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 06:48:44 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214968 Pastor Lesego Daniel, holding his 'pine apple juice petrol'

Pastor Lesego Daniel, holding his ‘pine apple juice petrol’

Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Christ Ministries, in the South African capital of Pretoria is making his followers connect to God in bizarre ways.

First he got them to eat grass. Then he made them to eat flowers used in decorating the church.

Now he has them drinking petrol, with the congregants likening the petrol taste to ‘apple juice or pine apple juice’.

Daniel even walks on his congregation.

Is this the right way to God?

Watch the petrol drinking session here:

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Pope launches historic review of teaching on family, marriage http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/05/pope-launches-historic-review-of-teaching-on-family-marriage/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/05/pope-launches-historic-review-of-teaching-on-family-marriage/#comments Sun, 05 Oct 2014 09:45:42 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214728 Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Sunday launched a major review of Catholic teaching on the family that could lead to change in the Church’s attitude to marriage, cohabitation and divorce.

An extraordinary synod, or meeting, of nearly 200 bishops from around the world and a sprinkling of lay people will, for the next two weeks, address the huge gulf between what the Church currently says on these issues and what tens of millions of believers actually do.

In his trademark style, the 77-year old Argentinian pontiff took to Twitter to mark the start of a debate which has pitted conservative clerics against reformists led by German cardinal Walter Kasper.

“As we begin the Synod on the Family, let us ask the Lord to show us the way forward. #prayforsynod,” he tweeted shortly before presiding over mass in St Peter’s basilica.

In an address to tens of thousands of believers on the eve of the synod opening, Francis urged participants to “lend an ear to the rhythm of our time” and to soak themselves in the “odour” of modern life.

Since becoming pontiff just over 18 months ago, Francis has repeatedly highlighted the “wounds” caused by family breakdown in modern society, while suggesting the Church needs to adapt to this new reality.

“The wounds have to be treated with mercy. The Church is a mother, not a customs office, coldly checking who is within the rules,” he has said, in an allusion to the many divorced people, cohabiting couples and single mothers within the ranks of the Church.

Francis has underlined where he stands by personally marrying couples who had lived together “in sin” prior to their weddings and by baptising a child born to parents married outside of the church.

– Deep divisions –

Since taking office, Francis has taken steps to overhaul the way the Vatican bank and administration are run and has sent out strong signals about the determination of the Church to deal with the issue of clerical sex abuse.

But a reform agenda on social issues could prove much harder to implement because of deep divisions within the Church, Vatican experts say.

Conservatives in the Church hierarchy have already made it clear they will fight any dilution of traditional doctrine.

The Church’s view of marriage has come to be seen as outdated by many in a world where, in some developed countries, nearly one in two marriages ends in divorce and where the notion of the institution itself has been challenged by the global trend towards the legalisation of same-sex weddings.

The bishops gathered in Rome are certainly not about to embrace gay marriage, and few Vatican observers expect much, if any, change on questions such as contraception, another area where Catholic teaching contrasts with the daily practice of millions.

– Easier divorce? –

But with Francis on the side of reform, the feeling is that the synod process could lead to change when it finally reaches conclusions, which is not expected to happen before 2016 at the earliest.

The most notable of these could be a change in the rules to make it possible for Catholics who divorce and then remarry to receive communion.

That has been banned for centuries but critics say the Church’s stance is hard to defend given that individuals who have declared their repentance from more serious breaches of the Christian code, such as murder, can take communion.

While the Church may not yet be ready to take a step that would amount to a de facto acceptance of divorce in certain circumstances, the discussions could result in steps to make it easier for failed marriages to be annulled.

Another area in which the Church could send out a signal of compassion is by making it clear that priests should be ready to baptise the children of same sex couples, regardless of the doctrinal disapproval of their parents’ union.

The synod will also discuss how priests and parishioners can practically help to shore up marriages within their community. Among questions to be addressed on that score is whether the easy availability of pornography in modern society is a factor in family breakdown.

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Tears, prayers as 1.4 million Muslims mark peak of hajj http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/03/tears-prayers-as-1-4-million-muslims-mark-peak-of-hajj/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/03/tears-prayers-as-1-4-million-muslims-mark-peak-of-hajj/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 08:56:05 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214426 SAUDI-RELIGION-HAJJ

Tears flowed and prayers filled the air as the annual Muslim hajj by about 1.4 million believers from around the world reached its zenith on a vast plain in western Saudi Arabia Friday.

“I am now a newborn baby and I don’t have any sin,” Nigerian pilgrim Taofik Odunewu told AFP, standing at the foot of Mount Mercy on the Arafat plain, tears streaming down his face.

Odunewu raised his hands to the heavens in the seamless two-piece white “ihram” outfit that he wore.

All male pilgrims dress in ihram to symbolise a state of purity, which also emphasises their unity regardless of social status or nationality.

“I pray for prosperity, long life and.. I pray for my country,” Odunewu said with a broad smile.

“I feel great… I’m on top of the world,” he said at the world’s largest Muslim gathering.

“I’m very blessed to be part of this occasion. I don’t think I will go back to the sinful way,” he pledged.

The hajj, which officially ends on Tuesday, is one of the five pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must perform at least once.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrived at Arafat on Friday carrying suitcases and other luggage among thousands of white tents which stood ready to provide temporary homes for the multitude.

Many set up their own tents along the roads. Others even made rough shelters from large yellow garbage bags.

Elderly pilgrims sat in wheelchairs, little ones in prams, and others leaned on sticks as they pushed their way towards Mount Mercy, the hill where Muslim Prophet Mohammed made his final sermon 14 centuries ago.

From early morning, pilgrims crowded onto the slippery, rocky hill, which their uniform attire turned white in colour.

Some prayed and wept, some slept, while others spread their mats and sat reciting the Koran.

Security forces were deployed en masse across Arafat plain and Mount Mercy to organise the flow of pilgrims, who have come from 163 countries as well as Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites.

“This way hajji. Don’t stop here. You’re blocking the way,” security men shouted through loudspeakers, trying to control the crowds.

The number of faithful seemed fewer than past years following a crackdown by authorities on illegal pilgrims.

This year’s hajj comes with Saudi Arabia and four other Arab nations joining Washington in air strikes against Islamic State group militants who have committed a spate of atrocities in Syrian and Iraqi territory they seized.

Saudi authorities are also striving to protect pilgrims from two deadly viruses, Ebola and the MERS coronavirus.

No such cases have been recorded among the hajj visitors, officials say.

Odunewu and other pilgrims from Nigeria were permitted to enter Saudi Arabia for hajj, despite eight Ebola deaths in their country.

Three West African states hardest hit by Ebola have not been allowed hajj visas.

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Oyakhilome Removes Wife’s Name, Photo From Publication http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/30/oyakhilome-removes-wifes-names-photo-from-publication/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/30/oyakhilome-removes-wifes-names-photo-from-publication/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:37:44 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=214024 Founder of Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, has removed his estranged wife’s pictures and name, Anita, from the church’s monthly devotional publication, Rhapsody of Realities after her pictures and personal information had been removed from the church’s website, a few months ago.

Anita was reportedly sidelined from her key role and the role taken over  by a prominent female member of the church, Yemisi Kudehinbu, who recently succeeded Pastor Phillip as the Chief Executive Officer of the Believers Love World Incorporated, an umbrella body in charge of Rhapsody.

•Anita Oyakhilome: Details missing in publication

•Anita Oyakhilome: Details missing in publication

The removal of Anita’s profile from Rhapsody took effect from the October edition of the monthly devotional book, which she co-authored with Pastor Chris.

Oyakhilome is the president of Believers’ Love World Inc, the registered name of the Christian ministry, while his wife was the vice-president. They both have two teenage daughters, Sharon and Charlyn.

According to reports, Anita’s pictures, which used to adorn the front and back pages of Rhapsody with her husband, were edited from the latest publication. The current edition has only the name of Pastor Chris, while the back page was filled with only testimonies.

The latest development has worsened the divorce mess between the church’s leader and his wife, Anita, who reportedly filed for dissolution of their marriage on the grounds of “unreasonable behaviour” and “adultery” on 9 April, 2014, according to an online newspaper, The Cable.

Two days after it was reported that Anita had filed for divorce in London, Christ Embassy deleted her pictures and personal information from its official website, www.christembassy.org.

Many describe the action as the beginning of a process to shut her out of the church, after she accused her husband of “adultery” and “unreasonable behaviours” in the divorce suit.

Christ Embassy’s new website now shows only Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.

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Jonathan lauds Bishop Oyedepo at 60 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/jonathan-lauds-bishop-oyedepo-at-60/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/26/jonathan-lauds-bishop-oyedepo-at-60/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:52:07 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213586 Bishop David Oyedepo

Bishop David Oyedepo

President Goodluck Jonathan has praised Bishop David Oyedepo’s massive accomplishments as a devoted servant of God and his immense contributions to the education of Nigerian children.

In a letter written to congratulate the Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Worldwide on his 60th birthday anniversary, tomorrow, Saturday, September 27, 2014, President Jonathan declared that Bishop Oyedepo’s life was “truly worthy of celebration”.

“I write on behalf of my family, the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to rejoice with you as you mark your milestone 60th birthday anniversary.

“Yours is, indeed, a life truly worthy of celebration. You have attained lofty heights not just as an accomplished selfless servant of God, but also in the committed service of community, country, and our common humanity.

“You have not only committed to giving your all in pursuit of the massively impactful propagation of the Word, you have also embraced the cause of providing quality education for our children.

“As Almighty God continues to bless you with robust health and many more years of happiness, uncommon accomplishment, and fulfilling service, it is my prayer that you will continue to partner with us in our quest to reposition Nigeria for peace, progress and prosperity,” Jonathan said.

He then wished Oyedepo a happy birthday.

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Be good ambassadors, Amosun tells Ogun pilgrims http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/25/be-good-ambassadors-amosun-tells-ogun-pilgrims/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/25/be-good-ambassadors-amosun-tells-ogun-pilgrims/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:01:12 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213333 Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state has advised all the pilgrims from the state to this year’s hajj exercise in the holy land of Saudi Arabia to be a good ambassador of the state, warning them not to do things that will tarnish the good name of the Gateway State.

The governor also enjoined them to maintain the level of discipline which is currently been exhibited at the holy land till the completion of all hajj rites.

Amosun stated this Wednesday evening while addressing the second batch A and B set of pilgrims from the state during a special visit (Sihara) to some special places in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The governor, who was represented by the Amir-ul-Hajj for the 2014 Hajj exercise, Alhaji Sheik Imam Abdul-Qudri Junaid disclosed that the level of orientation and seminars instilled in the pilgrims before embarking on the exercise has impacted positively on their level of conduct.

He added that adequate welfare of pilgrims remains a priority of his administration, while the exercise lasted.

The leader of the state delegation, Amirul hajj,who was accompanied by some members of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, noted that, “though the success achieved by the present administration in the state has been through constant prayers and support of all and sundry, no stones would be left unturned at ensuring that the wishes of the people reflect in its programmes and policies.

“As Muslims, we must ensure that we maintain the positive conduct been exhibited since arrival in Saudi Arabia which has earned us accolades in recent past and I urge you to intensify prayers for the success of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun led administration in its rebuilding mission”, Imam Junaid stated.

Imam Abdul Quadri Junaid, Amirul hajj, Ogun State (with megaphone), Imam Sodeinde( Left) and Sheik Is keel Lawal Sugar (Right) while the message of the governor was being convened

Imam Abdul Quadri Junaid, Amirul hajj, Ogun State (with megaphone), Imam Sodeinde( Left) and Sheik Is keel Lawal Sugar (Right) while the message of the governor was being convened

In a related development, wife of the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Mrs. Simbiat Oluwaseun Adekunbi advised pilgrims from the State to always follow the dictates of the Holy Quran in the performance of the hajj rites as prescribed, urging them to continuously offer prayers for the success of the present administration in the State.

Mrs. Adekunbi made this admonition Wednesday while offering lunch to the state delegations to the holy land of Mecca and Medina.

The mother of three, however disclosed that the gesture was in appreciation of the favour of Almighty Allah on his family and the State in general, adding that, “pilgrims must be steadfast and prepared to complete all stipulated rites expected of them during the exercise, for it to be accepted by Allah as an act of Ibadah”, she submitted.

Earlier in their separate goodwill messages to all the pulgrims, the duo of Imam Noah Sodeinde and Sheik Iskeel Lawal, who are members of the State Muslim Welfare Pilgrims Board noted that the State contingents to this year hajj had never had it so good in terms of facilities provided, compared to previous arrangements, charging them that, they must ensure steady health status in anticipation of movement to Minna camp for the completion of the hajj rites.

While reacting on behalf of the delegations, Giasu Yusuf Akorede and Hajia Surratt Oluwakemi Omotara described the welfare packages and the first class accommodation provided as exemplary and worthy of emulation.

The duo further revealed that they were convinced with what they heard from those that performed the exercise last year, in terms of good treatment.

Some of the historical holy sites visited by the pilgrims include Mount Jabalitoro, Mount Arafat, Jabal Nur, Musdalipha and Minna, all in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

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Bishop expelled for child sex abuse under house arrest http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/24/bishop-expelled-for-child-sex-abuse-under-house-arrest/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/24/bishop-expelled-for-child-sex-abuse-under-house-arrest/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:24:50 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=213236 Archbishop Jozef  Wesolowski

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, former Vatican Ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been placed under house arrest over sexual abuse of children.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said on Wednesday in Vatican City that Pope Francis had personally ordered swift action in the case.

He said the 65-year old former archbishop was convicted of sex abuse by a Church tribunal in June and defrocked pending further criminal proceedings.

Lombardi said the legal move was the result of the pope’s express wish for a case this serious and sensitive to be dealt with without delay.

He said Wesolowski was being held under house arrest in an apartment within the same building as the criminal court.

If the case goes to trial, it will be the first sex abuse within the tiny city state.

Wesolowski’s defrocking came six months after the UN children’s rights watchdog highlighted his case as an example of the Vatican’s failure to take concrete actions to prove its commitment to stamp out the abuse of minors by priests.

The Vatican has been accused by some critics of attempting to protect Wesolowski from Dominican jurisdiction by recalling him to Rome.

Wesolowski had been ambassador to the Dominican Republic since 2008, but was recalled by Pope Francis last August following accusations of sexually abusing minors.

He was ordained in 1972 by then archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II and was elevated to sainthood this year.

The Church has faced a decade-long series of scandals over abuse by priests and lay officials from Ireland to the U.S. and Australia.

It was fiercely condemned by the United Nations in January for failing to stamp out child abuse and allowing systematic cover-ups by simply moving around clergy suspected of raping or molesting children.

Francis has vowed to crack down on abuse in the Catholic Church, reiterating the zero-tolerance approach of his predecessor.

Last year, he overhauled Vatican law issuing a special decree declaring that sexual violence and sexual acts with children, child prostitution and child pornography were punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

In May, he warned there were “no privileges” for bishops when it came to child sex crimes and likened sexual abuse to a “Satanic mass”.

At a UN hearing earlier this year, Vatican officials revealed that 3,420 abuse cases had been handled over the past decade by the Catholic Church’s Canon Law prosecutors.

As a result of these cases, 848 priests were defrocked while a further 2,572 were ordered to “live a life of prayer or penance” for example in a monastery.

The Vatican says it receives around 600 claims against abusive priests every year, many dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

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Nigeria’s Top Pastors In Trouble http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/19/nigerias-top-pastors-in-trouble/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/19/nigerias-top-pastors-in-trouble/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:40:37 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=212471 Eromosele Ebhomele

Counted among the wealthiest pastors in the world, Ayo Oritsejafor, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Prophet Temitope Joshua, of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of the Believers Love World, better known as Christ Embassy, all have something in common.

They are frontline Nigerian clergymen who manage churches that boast of thousands of worshippers, sympathisers and admirers. Their words, most times, are hardly opposed by their church members and they are seen as God’s representatives on earth.

For these pastors, however, the year 2014 has been quite turbulent in various ways. While some are battling with issues of their alleged inability to handle their families like they often preach, others are having to find as much convincing explanation as they could over their involvement in allegations of money laundering, which are yet to be proven against them.

For some of these big pastors, however, this is not the first time they would be enmeshed in controversial issues and allegations. But this year it is coming in torrents.


•CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor

For Ayo Oritsejafor, beginning from when he broke up with the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa and left the Church of God Mission to begin his ministry in Warri, Delta State, he has continued to grow in christendom. From being the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, he became the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, a larger body.

His emergence and activities also came with some controversies that saw bishops of the Catholic Church breaking away from the association.

Despite his explanation that his private jet was a gift from his church members, speculations that the jet was given to him by President Goodluck Jonathan are still on.

Oritsejafor, who, critics have accused of reducing CAN to a political arm of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is currently enmeshed in a controversy involving the use of his private jet by two Nigerians and an Israeli in a $9.3 million cash transfer from Nigeria purportedly to purchase arms for the Federal Government in South Africa..

Oritsejafor agrees he owns the jet that was seized by South African authorities, but said he does not know anything about the controversy surrounding the huge cash since the jet was chattered by those managing it.

Some Nigerians do not believe this. Former Minister of the FCT, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has asked the flamboyant clergyman to look beyond his bling and answer questions about his involvement in the deal which some argue could be a failed money laundering attempt.

In the case of Prophet T.B. Joshua, the collapse of a building in his church on Friday, 12 September, that led to the death of at least 80 worshippers, has exposed him to severe criticisms. However, many, including some of his enemies, would attest to the fact that most of his predictions have come true, making him one of the most visited among pastors in Nigeria.

Besides this, he is believed to boost the tourism sector of the country with his uniquely built and attractive church. The founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, with a 15,000 seating capacity, is believed to be worth between $10 million and $15 million.

Now, this prophet is facing the most challenging period of his life following the collapse of a six-storey building within his church premises. The building, with several tastefully furnished rooms and suites,  accommodated foreign visitors and worshippers of the church until last Friday when the entire building came crashing down.

Prophet Joshua attracted harsh criticisms when, days later, he announced that he was the target of terrorists, who attacked the church building. Footage of an aircraft which hovered around the church shortly before it came down was published online.

But the Lagos State Government on Thursday claimed that the building was an illegal structure which was defective from the beginning. This claim follows another by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, which said the building was originally supposed to have only four floors and not six.

The South African Government also added to the controversy when it said it lost 67 citizens when the building collapsed, with many wondering why Joshua could not predict the incident.

•Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy church

•Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy church

On his part, Chris Oyakhilome, fondly called Pastor Chris, the founder of Christ Embassy, is estimated to worth between $30 million and $50 million and boasts of over 40,000 members with many, according to a report, being successful businessmen and hippy undergraduates.

A pastor and businessman, he has interests in printing, hotels, real estate and media which include LoveWorld TV network and thee first Christian TV networks

Pastor Chris is currently having a running battle with Anita, his wife and Vice President of his church in a messy divorce case.

According to reports, a major reason why Anita has made up her mind to leave her husband and father of their two children is simply because Oyakhilome, who heads the church branch in South Africa, is not measuring up as a husband and real family man.

Filing a divorce at a UK court on the ground that “the marriage has broken down irretrievably,” as well as inappropriate relationships with female members of the church, her lawyers said in the court papers: “the wife submits that her marriage to the husband has irretrievably broken down and there is no hope of reconciliation. The wife will submit that it is the husband’s unreasonable behaviours which have led to this.

“…The wife will say that they have lived separately for 16 years and over this time have drifted apart. The wife has come to realise that the husband will only visit the UK for the annual church programmes that he holds rather than to be with this wife. The wife feels that he has been unavailable as a father to their children during their developing years.

•Prophet T.B .Joshua, Synagogue Church of All Nations

•Prophet T.B .Joshua, Synagogue Church of All Nations

“The wife feels that their marriage suffered under the pressure of their work. They would rarely spend time together due to the husband’s unavailability. Special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays and family occasions and anniversaries pass them by and they rarely spent any time together as a family as the husband was more devoted to his work than he was to them.

“The wife feels that she has been used to portray and enhance the husband’s image as a family man when the reality is that there is no existing relationship between them.

“As a result of the husband’s attitude to their marriage, the wife will say that he is virtually not recognised as a married man in the ministry. His teachings and beliefs on marriage is that the husband is a master and a controller and the wife will say that his concept of biblical submission is so extreme that it is impossible for her to meet his expectations.

“She feels humiliated by the way he treats her in the presence of his close female staff members and she feels that she has been taken for granted which has become unbearably stressful for her.”

Archbishop Olubunmi Okogie, who could not stomach the embarrassment the divorce case was causing to Christianity, slammed both of them for refusing to practise what they preach.

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Kebbi airport transports 537 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/13/kebbi-airport-transports-537-pilgrims-to-saudi-arabia/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/09/13/kebbi-airport-transports-537-pilgrims-to-saudi-arabia/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 00:56:15 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=211478 L-R: Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'adu Abubakar III and Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Sa'idu Dakingari are joined by other royal fathers to open Kebbi airport

L-R: Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar III and Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Sa’idu Dakingari are joined by other royal fathers to open Kebbi airport

No fewer than 537 intending pilgrims from Kebbi were transported to Saudi Arabia through the newly constructed Sir, Ahmadu Bello International Airport.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar III, who inaugurated the first batch of the plight in Birnin Kebbi on Friday, advised the pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the nation.

He attributed the delay in early commencement of the airlift of the pilgrims to the delay caused by the Saudi Arabian Consulate in the issuance of visa.

He said the Federal Government had completed arrangements on the general welfare of the pilgrims, adding that, “we would not relent in making you convenient while at the Holy Land.”

The sultan, who is also the nation’s Amirul Hajj, commended the Kebbi state government for constructing such a befitting airport.

He, however, urged the pilgrims to pray assiduously to the country, adding that, “we are in dare need of peace in our country, hence the need for you to devote in praying for this country as part of your contribution towards peace in your homeland.”

In his remark, the Governor of Kebbi, Alhaji Sa’idu Dakingari, said the airport worthiness was certified to be 98 per cent by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

He said the airport would generate revenue to the state,stressing, “we also generated 500 employment to the people.”

Our Correspondent reports that the pilgrims were transported by Max Air, with registration number 5N-BMG.

NAN reports that the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammad Bashir; Emir of Yauri, Alhaji Zayyanu Abdullahi and Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, were among the thousands of people at the airport, who witnessed the first plight.

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