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Live As Victims, Avoid Triumphalism – Bishop Odetoyinbo Charges Priests

 The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Most Rev Dr Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo has charged Catholic priests to live as victims and avoid triumphalism in their ministry so that God may approve their ministry and life. He said, the triumphant life being lived by priests affect their vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, stressing that they begin to live above everyone even to the temptation of being triumphant over the Bishop, the church and even Christ by their way of life adding that it is a dangerous trend in the priesthood that is affecting and infecting the priesthood of Christ and the community of believers. Bishop Odetoyinbo said God alone has endowed priests with dignity and reverence which Christ achieved by being a sacrificial victim, so priests cannot but be faithful, constant and consistent in living a dedicated, worthy, accountable and responsible priestly life. The prelate noted that in the litany, “Jesus, the High Priest offered himself to God as an oblation and sacrificial victim. Jesus, Holy and Immaculate sacrificial victim, Jesus sacrificial victim of God and men, Jesus pleasing sacrificial victim, Jesus, peacemaking sacrificial victim, Jesus sacrificial victim of reconciliation and peace, Jesus sacrificial victim in whom we have confidence and access to God, Jesus, sacrificial victim living forever” and ever saying “if Jesus lived by this way, priests cannot but live and act in the same way”. The Chief Shepherd stressed that the best way to describe the life and self realization of priests is as simple as being called victims and never victors adding that if any priest conceives, acts and lives as a victor which is what the reality is in many cases, such is not a reflection of the true priesthood of Christ and can never find fulfilment or serve God faithfully. He stated that priests are triumphant over nothing and it is a deception in priestly life that you are triumphant when you are ordained but really not in the Catholic Church and not for the priesthood of Christ himself to obey through suffering and gave himself up as a victim. “Priestly life lived like that of Christ must be lived in humility, simplicity, obedience, poverty , charity, total dedication to ministry, self sacrifice, pastoral care of the people of God and accountability, this is what is called the priestly dignity” bishop Peter Odetoyinbo noted. The local ordinary charged the priests to pay more attention to the things of God for which they are ordained for and as contained in the diocesan liturgical directive should be used for celebrating a worthy liturgy for, with the people of God through Christ to God Almighty. He stressed further that they must be spent until all the children of God come to true knowledge of God through catechesis, hence they will be called again to their commitment to teaching catechism and passing on the faith especially with the use of the catechetical syllabus for the diocese of Abeokuta which it is by this they can also consider themselves as sacrificial victims. The chief shepherd stated that Christ’s priesthood was for a precise and specific purpose as recorded in the Bible, experienced by the Apostles, passed on to the church, taught to all in the seminary and catechism classes, and lived on in the church from all ages saying priesthood of Christ cannot but be lived the way Christ lived and offered himself especially in the Eucharist, as pure victim, holy victim, spotless victim, the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation. Christ lived in constant obedience to his Father to serve and save the world, so, priest as pleasing victim must therefore be charitable, humble, simple, poor, chaste, obedient, kind , merciful, firm, hospitable, cheerful, prayerful, hardworking, holy, courageous, affable like Christ in order to fulfil the purpose of his priesthood, for his self fulfilment and for the reward of eternal life. Francis Erinoso

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