Posted By Godwin Onyemaechi
A group in the Catholic Church has rejected the apology by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State over his political utterances involving the Pontiff.
Rather, the church tasked the governor to make restitution by embarking on a 40-day fast and stepping down as the Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council.
Upon his appointment as DG of APC campaign for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, Catholics had come hard on Lalong, a Catholic knight, but he said the Pope was not against his acceptance of the position. Later, he apologised for dragging the Pontiff into the fray.
Mass Servants Association of Nigeria (MSAN) said it is not enough for the governor to express remorse, adding that he must prove it by embarking on a 40-day fasting and prayer as well as rejecting the position.
The governor had earlier tendered an apology to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), admitting that it was an error on his part to have linked the Catholic Pontiff with Nigeria’s politics.
But yesterday, in a statement signed by Moses Idoko, MSAN said Lalong must repent and return every penny from the promoters of the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Quoting the Canon Law, Idoko said: “Lalong must confess to the priest for reconciliation with God and with the Catholic Church.
“Even as God is merciful and forgiving, he does not declare the guilty guiltless. Sin carries with it a need for expiation, even after it has been forgiven. After David sinned, Prophet Nathan told him: ‘The Lord, on his part, has forgiven your sin. You shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die’ (2 Sam 12:13–14).
“The Catholic Church understands Jesus’ death as expiation for the sins of the whole world. This, though, does not eliminate the need for expiation of the effects of sin. In the sacrament of reconciliation, the penance helps to remedy the disorders caused by sin (CCC 1459). Because sins often harm others, simple justice also requires doing what is possible ‘to repair the harm’.”
According to him, the governor showed disrespect to God and the Pope, so must make restitution.
“Most importantly, Lalong must denounce the APC presidential ticket. He must openly condemn this evil that could potentially destroy the nation. Except these are done, the governor’s purported apology will still be seen as a charade. God can’t be mocked,” the group added.