The Church on trial
I recently walked into the Augustinian monastery library in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria. I did not intend to read anything but just to admire the old library I frequently consulted during my initial formation days in the Seminary. As I walked around, my eyes stumbled on a book titled “The Missions on Trial.” It is an old book first published in Great Britain October 1978 by St. Paul Publications and written by Walbert Buhlmann. I did not really open the book to read, so I do not know exactly what it is all about, but the tittle triggered something in me and I went straight to my room and began to write.
Whatever kind of mission that was on trial according to that book did not really matter to me at that point, but my mind was on the Catholic Faith. Yes, the Catholic faith; it’s on “trial”. But this trial has never shaken my Catholic faith neither has it ever led me to doubt my Catholic faith. It rather reminds me of what Jesus told the apostles about the coming persecution, that they would be persecuted but that it would be for them the time to trust the more, to rely on the eloquence that would come from Him. This Divine statement shows that in the trial that is on, judgement is passed already; it is between Catholicism and Protestantism. The Catholic Church is definitely not at war with any denomination, but it baffles me however why the frequent attacks on Catholicism. Well, the saying may be right here that if you are of no importance nobody cares about you.
Mind you there is no special heaven for neither Catholics nor the Protestants, or to be more Christian, our separated brethren. We are all Christians and hope for the same heaven, but one cannot deny the truth about the negative attitudes and comments made against the Catholic Church by some of these separated brethren. Let me not be too general, so I limit myself to the Nigerian Church.
Catholicism in Nigeria is no doubt on trial, I said on trial because Protestantism is becoming fashionable to so many Christians including some Catholics. But I am proud to say that in the midst of this trial, judgement is passed already. The Catholic Church keeps moving and remains a force to be reckoned with. This is not to say that Catholics are better Christians, but I will not shy away from the fact that she remains the Church with the “keys.” It is the Church built on the rock and remains the Church the gates of hell cannot overcome.
For sure I do not completely reject Protestantism, there are some things about this movement that should be appreciated, and after all we are all brothers and sisters. But I stand with all my strength against whatever rises against Catholicism and I encourage every Catholic not to be deceived by sugar coated tongues. You have it all in your Church, you only need to discover it. Truly, the question is not whether we have it, but whether we know what we have. Be proud therefore of your Catholic faith, it is the faith of our fathers, the apostolic faith.