Facts are now emerging that the Catholic Church actually withdrew from the Christain Association of Nigeria, CAN, with effect from September last year.
Sources told Saturday Vanguard that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, had in a letter announced the church's withdrawal to the Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor- led national leadership of CAN on September 24, last year on the complain that it was being sidelined in some of the major decisions of the association.
The letter entitled, "Our Concern for Christian Unity," and signed on behalf of the CBCN by the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most. Rev. Ignatius Kaigama was addressed to the President of CAN, Pastor Oritsejafor.
The letter reads, "We wish to bring to your notice the concern of the Catholic bloc of the association 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 'That they All May Be One.'
"The CBCN bloc hereby suspends participation in CAN meetings at the national level until such a time the leadership of CAN reverse to the original vision, mission and objectives of CAN. We have been compelled to take this painful decision because of the following reasons:
"That the present state of CAN has departed from the original concept of her founding fathers of which our bloc is a prominent stakeholder.
"That the motto of CAN 'That they All may be one' is not taken as a priority. We note a total neglect of Ecumenism and unwillingness to learn the theological foundations of Christian unity.
The Directorate of Ecumenism and interfaith which is one of the missions of CAN is not given a priority attention to promote peace and unity in the nation which is the mandate of Christ to all Christians.
That CAN is being dragged into partisan politics, thereby compromising its ability to play its true role as conscience of the nation and the voice of the voiceless.
"That there is not enough respect for and involvement of all the blocs of CAN in major decisions and activities. That CAN is no longer acting on consensus on major issues.
CAN is not a mega church but an association of different churches. Therefore any claims by the President to be the leader of Christians in Nigeria must take this into account.
We remain committed to the promotion of Christian unity in the country. We recall our major contributions at the foundation and growth of the association. That is why we are compelled to call your attention to the anomalies we see now.
We remain open to further discussions and dialogue while we pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to guide us all to a better future."