Catholic Church returns to CAN After Five Years Of Absence
After about five years’ absence due to alleged misunderstanding that was later described as “political,” the Catholic Church has announced its return to the Christian Association of Nigeria.
The return was reportedly perfected on Thursday and Friday in Abuja when a delegation of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, led by Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Cornelius Omonokhua, appeared at the expanded National Executive Committee and quarterly meeting of CAN for the amendment of its constitution.
The Catholic Church left the association in January 2013.
In a letter to Ayo Oritsejafor, the then CAN president, the church said it was leaving the organisation “temporarily” over “some recent attitudes, utterances and actions of the national leadership of CAN which in our opinion negate the concept of the foundation of the association and the desire of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But in a statement on Sunday, Samson Ayokunle, CAN president, announced that the church had returned to the fold.
“Their return is one of the best things that have been happening since I was given the mandate to become the president of CAN,” he said in the statement which Adebayo Oladeji, his spokesman, issued on his behalf.
“One of my visions for CAN is to bring our Catholic brothers and sisters back to the fold; and I must acknowledge the support and understanding of my brother in Christ, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and his team.
“I give kudos to all the principal officers, the directors and some Christian leaders in the country for their support and understanding while the dialogue lasted.”
The CAN president added that “my joy knows no bound” with the presence of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) at the constitution amendment meeting of CAN held on Thursday.
The CSN was also said to have attended the national executive council meeting of CAN on Friday.
“It is our prayers that the body of Christ in the country will remain one forever in Jesus’ name,” the CAN president added.
“At a time like this when Christians are almost becoming endangered species in Nigeria, when churches are being denied the certificate of occupancy especially in the core north, when Christians are being denied key public offices and when the church is expected to speak for the voiceless, especially over the economic and social hardship in our country, we cannot afford to be at war with one another.
“CAN is united in diversity. Jesus Christ prayed for the Church shortly before He returned to heaven in John chapter 17.”