“The ‘son of the soil’ syndrome is not a primary factor for appointments in the Universal Catholic Church. …in the Church of God, the son of the soil syndrome has no place in the appointment of bishops.
The case of Bishop Emeritus Michael Fagun’s appointment as the first indigenous Bishop of Ekiti Diocese has proven that a Bishop can function well wherever he has been assigned by the grace of God and the goodwill of the Holy See … it is signifi cant to note here that when Bishop Fagun was appointed Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, he was not an Ekiti man. But he has since become one today.”
Canon Law specifi es that it is the pr erogative of the Holy Father to appoint Bishops in the Church. It also outlines the
qualifications of candidates that are to be considered suitable and worthy for appointment as Bishops as well as the procedure to be followed in the appointment of Bishops. To the best of my knowledge the provisions of Canon Law are followed in the appointment of Bishops in Nigeria and to a large extent there have been no problems.
However, there are a few instances where people have kicked against the appointment of Bishops out of considerations of ethnocentrism, clan or quota system. Although in the appointment of Bishops, considerations of culture and language may play a role, Canon Law does not provide for place of origin and quota system in their selection.
The Church must be correctly seen as the Family of God, where baptism unites “Jews” and “Gentiles” as brothers and sisters and the reception of the Eucharist makes the Blood of Christ fl ow in the veins and arteries of the faithful, binding and bonding them even stronger into the one Body of Christ.
I think that the correct understanding of the Church as the Family of God and not a political or geographical entity will help to check the feeling of ethnicity, clannishness and parochialism that may surface in the appointment or acceptance of Bishops.
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