30 May 2013


ROME, MAY 28, 2013 in the Philosophy Department of Pontifical Urban University Rome, Prof. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah and a group of African students in the Licentiate class bid one another farewell as they rounded up his course “FL1041: Kwasi Wiredu, Cultural Universals and Particulars (a Seminar in English Language on African Philosophy). Prof. Onah introduced the course this academic year (the only course taught in English language in the faculty). It was a project aimed at teaching African Philosophy, alternating between English and French languages every academic year. But like he said in a lighter mood in one of his classes, the appointment has terminated a dream when it just started getting sweeter. However, he told his students that as a servant, one needs always to be ready and docile to respond to duty calls.

Speaking to his students, Prof. Onah admitted that he habitually handles his students, lay and clergy, as adults and fellow priests respectively, and not just as mere students. He believes that every priest and lay student in the university is an adult, and should be treated as such. He also expressed his age-long disapproval for the title “My Lord” being used for Bishops. According to him, he prefers the title ‘Father Bishop’ (‘Nna-anyi Bishop’) to ‘My Lord Bishop’ (‘Onyenwe m/Dinwenu m Bishop’), and expressed his intention to prudently continue to insist on the former as much as he would be able to. 

Responding to a question from one of his students on whether homosexuality has a moral or social consequence, he reasoned that it is a problem of human nature. As such, that it is an anthropological issue with moral, social, economic and political consequences. Nature he said, made no mistakes in fashioning beings as male and female. That someone enjoys or prefers eating through the nose and not the mouth, or walking on the hands and not the legs does not remove the fact that what is abnormal is abnormal. The same people who are propagating artificial birth control are the same people championing homosexuality. And their major aim, he suspects, is to reduce nature’s control over the issue of procreation and limit it within the confines of science, so that it would be monopolized by scientists, and made affordable to those who can afford it, when and how it would be affordable, he argued. And he expressed fear that his suspicion is gradually becoming a reality.

Prof Onah called on his students to dismiss their fears about Nigeria which is based on the media reports about Boko Haram and the ugly pictures painted by the movies about Nigeria. Now that they have a friend like him in Nigeria, he expressed the hope to see each and every one of them in Nsukka at one time or the other in the future. In a vote of thanks, the class representative for the course, Rev. Fr. Hyuwa Y. Everest from Nigeria, thanked him on behalf of the class for his fatherly and selfless efforts towards the academic growth of his students, and for his contributions towards the growth of the mother Church in general. Prof Onah and his students wished one another the best in their future endeavors.

The following day, May 29, the entire Philosophy Faculty gathered in his honour to bid him farewell in gratitude for his immense contributions to the faculty, and wish him well in his new assignment. Present at the occasion were Rev. Fr. Prof. G. Mazzotta (Dean of the Faculty), Prof. (Mrs.) L. Congiunti (successor to Prof. Onah as Vice Rector), Rev. Fr. Prof. L. Sileo (director of Licentiate Program in Philosophy), Prof. P. Miccoli (one-time lecturer to Prof. Onah), Prof. L. Tuninetti, and many other lecturers. In a brief remark, Prof Onah thanked his fellow professors, some of whom were his own teachers in the past, and at least one of them who was his own student. He also thanked the entire students for the fraternity he enjoyed in the faculty. He recalled that he has spent about twenty five years learning to be a professor. And now that he should start rendering account of what he has learnt, he has been called for another responsibility which he has not learnt about. Finally, he expressed his wish to host anyone who would be able to make it to Nsukka any day.

It would be recalled that Msgr. G. I. Onah was appointed the bishop-elect of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka –Nigeria on April 13, 2013, by His Holiness Pope Francis to succeed Bishop Francis E. O. Okobo, who is due for retirement. Until his appointment Msgr. Onah was holding the chair of Philosophical Anthropology, and at the same time serving his second tenure as the first African Vice Rector of his alma mater, the Pontifical Urban University Rome, Italy. He was also a consultor of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops. His episcopal ordination comes up in Nsukka on July 4, 2013.

Deede Uche’s World wishes Msgr. Onah all the best in his future endeavors, both in the priestly ministry and in his personal life. May God who has begun this good work in him bring it to fulfillment, Amen.

13 May 2013


He's a man who has every right to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. During his pontificate,  John Paul II, quickly broke all the records set by his predecessors. In fact, just a few months after being elected Pope, he was nicknamed Hurricane Wojtyla. 
He visited 129 countries. He made 104 trips abroad and another 146 within Italy.  He traveled over 1,200,000 kilometers, which is more than three times the distance from Earth to the Moon or the equivalent of going around the world 30 times. 
Card. Angelo Amato Prefect, Congregation for the Causes of Saints [says:] “He launched himself  with fervor and courage to all parts of the world. He visited hundreds of countries, not for pleasure or curiosity, but to preach the gospel of peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 He celebrated the biggest Mass in history. It was in the Philippines during World Youth Day in Manila back in 1995, where more than 4 million people attended. 
Card. Gaudencio Rosales Archbishop of Manila (Philippines) [says:] “I remember the Pope's spokesman said that the crowd prevented the passage of the so called “popemobile. " We had to walk two miles to reach the stage. It was supposed to begin at 9, but we started at around 11. The spokesman described the WYD in Manila as an excess of success." 

These are all records that show the personal power of the Pope and his tireless dedication to the Church. A reign full of achievements that will mark forever the history of Catholicism and Christianity of the third millennium. 
 But the Pope also  celebrated smaller masses, like the one held before 200 people during a 1989 visit to the Nordic countries. He also held a mass in  Azerbaijan in May 2002. He became the first pope to visit those places. 
Joaquin Navarro Valls Former Pope's spokesman 
"The Pope could no longer walk. It was a tremendous sacrifice for him to speak at that point. But, he decided to go to Azerbaijan, where the total number of Catholics was less than 200.” The Pope wanted to go because he valued how that small group, the handful of Catholics who were in that country, had the right to celebrate Mass. They had the right to be with the Pope as if it were a country in which there were 200 million Catholics." 
The figures of his reign are impressive. It was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years and the first Slavic pope in history. His pontificate lasted 26 years and 5 months, the third longest after Pius IX and St. Peter. 
As a bishop of Rome, he  made 301 visits to parishes within that city. 
He held 1,160 general audiences attended by more than 17 million people. He also named 231 cardinals from all continents.   
He met with nearly 1,600 heads of State and Government. No one else has ever led so many people in such a diverse cultural context. 
He held many catechisms for children, whom he called "the little friends of Jesus." John Paul II was also the first pope to write a papal document for children, in this case it was a pastoral letter.
He was also a  great writer. He signed more than 100 solemn documents,  including 14 encyclicals, 45 apostolic letters and 14 apostolic exhortations. Throughout the years, his speeches added to more than 100,000 pages. 
He declared more saints and blessed than his predecessors all together. He canonized 482 people and beatified another 1,338.
Arch. Piero Marini Master of Ceremonies John Paul II 
"John Paul II proclaimed more saints than all other popes together since Urban VIII to Paul VI." 
His vision of dialogue with people of all religions  was innovative. He was the first modern Pope to visit a synagogue, the first to enter a Protestant church and a mosque. He promoted dialogue with Jews and with representatives of other religions while calling for prayer and peace, especially in Assisi in October 1986.
These are all records that show the personal power of the Pope and his tireless dedication to the Church. A reign full of achievements that will mark forever the history of Catholicism and Christianity of the third millennium. 
< April, 27, 2011. Romereports.com

6 May 2013


 Pope Francis met on Sunday May 5, 2013 with the members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. In his address to the Guards, the Holy Father reminded them “The Faith that God gave you on the day of Baptism is the most precious treasure you have! And your mission in the service of the Pope and of the Church finds in the Faith its source . . . Dear Swiss Guards, do not forget, the Lord walks with you.” 
Each year on May 6th , the Swiss Guard commemorates the sacrifice of 147 soldiers who died defending Pope Clement VII during the “Sack of Rome,” in 1527. To commemorate the heroic death of the soldiers, the anniversary is also the occasion of the solemn oath of 35 new recruits, which took place this afternoon in the courtyard of San Damaso in the Apostolic Palace.

Dr Donald Prudlo, associate professor of medieval history at Jacksonville State University in Alabama (USA) told us more about the Swiss Guard.
“For hundreds of years Swiss guards formed part of the bodyguards of the monarchs of Europe. This began in the late middle ages, when Swiss mercenary companies were highly sought after. Kings and princes soon discovered that their Swiss troops were loyal and far less open to corruption than other military forces. Their history is full of heroic stories about their protection of various sovereigns, not the least of which was their defence of King Louis XVI in 1792, when hundreds of them lost their lives defending the Tuileries Palace from revolutionaries.
“Like other monarchs, the popes too appreciated this kind of dedication and incorporated Swiss volunteers into the forces of the papal states in the late 1400s. In 1503 Pope Julius II, an exceptionally able pontiff, foresaw the establishment of a permanent corps of 200 Swiss for the papacy. In 1506 the corps was formally founded, and they have defended the popes from that day to this, having just recently celebrated their 500th anniversary in 2006. 

“Their most famous moment in papal service came in 1527, when Protestant troops, having mutinied from the armies of Charles V, sacked Rome. 147 Swiss guardsmen laid down their lives in defending Clement VII. As a result of their sacrifice the Pope was given enough time to flee down the famous Passetto di Borgo from the Vatican to the safety of the fortress of Castel Sant’ Angelo. The guard has had other tense moments in its history as well, such as in 1848, when they only barely held the Roman revolutionaries back from doing violence to Bl. Pius IX at the Quirinal palace.

“Though there were other papal military units in existence, such as the Palatine guard, since 1970 the Swiss guards have assumed all the ceremonial roles for papal events and liturgies and can always be seen, in their colorful ceremonial costume with halberd, flanking the supreme pontiff.
“Yet their duties are not all ceremonial, they are a real military force with excellent training and modern weaponry. One can see them, in their daily attire, as they guard the working entrance to Vatican City State, the Porta Santa Anna. They are an army, bodyguard, and border protection all rolled into one.
“In terms of the place of the Swiss Guards in the Catholic Church, they are far from being an outdated ceremonial body. Pope Francis put it best a few days ago. He offered the soldiers a greeting of affection and gratitude. ‘The Church,’ he said, ‘loves you so much . . . and so do I’.”

5 May 2013


As far as many pastors are concerned, the most important scripture of all is not to be found in the word of Jesus.  Neither is it even in the New Testament.  That scripture says: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” (Malachi 3:10).
This scripture is drummed repeatedly into Christians on Sundays.  However, the only time Jesus mentioned tithing in scripture, he pointed out that it was not a weighty matter of the law. (Matthew 23:23).  Hebrews says people only receive tithes “according to the law.” (Hebrews 7:5).  It then insists tithing (and everything else under the law) has been annulled: “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless.” (Hebrews 7:18-19).  Nevertheless, mercenary pastors continue to insist on the payment of tithes.
Latter-day Pharisees
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for keeping part instead of the whole law. (Matthew 23:23). That is what tithe-collecting pastors do today.  If we insist our congregants must pay tithes, we must also insist that they keep the rest of the law.  James says: “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10).  Therefore, if we insist on tithing, we should also refrain from eating pork.  We should stone adulterers, execute homosexuals, kill Sabbath violators and restore blood-sacrifices.
Tithe-collecting pastors counter this by maintaining the payment of tithes pre-dated the law.  Here Abraham is cited as the cardinal example of someone who paid tithes before the promulgation of the Law of Moses, as did Jacob, his grandson.  However, such arguments are disingenuous.
Before the law, tithing was at best an example but not a commandment.  Moreover, pastors fail to mention that Abraham only tithed once in his lifetime.  When he did, he did not even tithe his own money: he tithed the spoils of war.  He gave ten percent of the plunder he took when he rescued Lot to Melchisedec, king of Salem.  But then he did not even keep the rest but returned it (all ninety percent) to the king of Sodom.
For his part, Jacob also tithed only once.  He did this in a “let’s make a deal” arrangement he offered to God: “Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God.  And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth to you.’” (Genesis 28:20-22).  This kind of deal about accepting God only under certain self-serving conditions should certainly not be a term of reference for any serious believer.
Femi Aribisala,  Fellowship Coordinator of Healing Wings, a Pentecostal Christian fellowship.
Lies upon lies
The first lie pastors tell Christians is what some have referred to as “the eleventh commandment:” “Thou shalt pay thy tithes to thy local church.”  But the bible says no such thing.  The storehouse of Malachi was not a church.  It was a place where food was kept.
Pastors hide from church-members the fact that money was not acceptable as tithe.  The tithe was a tenth of the seed and fruit of the land and of the animals which ate of the land. (Leviticus 27:30-32).  That is why God says: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be FOOD in my house.” (Malachi 3:10).  He does not say “that there may be MONEY in my house.”  The food was used to feed the Levites, the poor, widows, orphans and strangers.
Pastors also conveniently fail to teach the biblical tithe.  The principles of tithing were not laid down by Malachi.  They were laid down by Moses.  The study of Moses’ guidelines quickly reveals that the biblical tithe has no application whatsoever to Christians and is mischievously violated by tithe-collecting pastors today.
According to the Law of Moses, the tithe was divided into three allocations.  The first year, it was given to the Levite.  The second year, it was given to widows, orphans and the poor.  The third year, it was eaten in the company of the faithful before the Lord as thanksgiving for his faithfulness. (Deuteronomy 14:22-28).  In the seventh year, there was no planting and no reaping and therefore no tithing.
So the next time your pastor asks you to pay tithe, ask him about the seventh-year reprieve.  Also ask him if you can give your tithe to the orphanage, or bring it as food items to be eaten in church.  Believe me; he will not agree with you because it is your money he is after.
Inapplicability of tithes
Tithing was only applicable to Jews and to the land of Israel.  When large populations of Jews lived in Babylon, Ammon, Moab, Egypt, and Syria, these lands became tithe-able lands.  However, tithes were not acceptable from strictly Gentile lands.  So you need to ask your pastor how come he is collecting tithes in Nigeria.
Servants or slaves who worked on the land did not tithe because the land did not belong to them.  Since only agricultural and animal resources were included, a fisherman gave no tithe of his fisheries.  Neither did a miner or a carpenter pay tithes, nor anyone from the various professional occupations.  So if you are not a farmer or a keeper of livestock, tell your 419 pastor tithing is biblically inapplicable to you.
Moreover, the only people authorised to receive tithes were the Levites. (Hebrews 7:5).  So if your Pastor is a “tithe-collector,” ask him if he happens to be a Jew.  Remind him that, even though a Jew, Jesus could not receive the tithe because he was not from the tribe of Levi but from that of Judah.
The trick, of course, is for pastors today to claim we are “Levites.”  If your pastor is one such dissembler, ask him if he lives as a Levite.  Remind him that Levites had no land and did not have private property.  Ask him also how he knows he is from the tribe of Levi, which happens to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.  Point out to him that even Jewish rabbis don’t claim to be Levites today because all Jewish genealogical records were lost with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, ensuring that it is no longer possible to ascertain the true identity of Levites.
Therefore, if Jews no longer tithe because the Levites are a lost tribe, how can Christian pastors collect tithes when we are not even Jewish, how much more Levites?  If Jewish rabbis, whose terms of reference remain the Old Testament no longer collect tithes, then pastors who insist Christians are under a New Testament have no business doing so.
The conclusion then is inescapable. Every pastor who collects tithes is nothing but “a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1).
  • The author of this article, Femi Aribisala,  is the Fellowship Coordinator of Healing Wings, a Pentecostal Christian fellowshipI may not agree with all his premises, but his general conclusion is interesting. I do not support the idea of “tithes” according to the contemporary redefinition of the concept by Private Church Entrepreneurs.

2 May 2013



It has been two months since Benedict XVI left the Vatican by helicopter. In the last few hours of his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI traveled to the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. Now he comes back to the Vatican as Pope emeritus.   
As the Vatican got ready for the conclave, the remodeling of Benedict XVI's new residence was underway. From now on, he will live at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, located within Vatican territory. 
Two months after he headed out to Castel Gandolfo, he comes back to the Vatican in a similar fashion, arriving by helicopter. 
Upon his arrival, Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was waiting for Benedict XVI, along with Angelo Sodano who serves as the Dean of the College of Cardinals. Also there was the president of the Governorate of the Vatican City State, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello. 
As Benedict XVI made his way to the former monastery, Pope Francis was there, ready to welcome him back to the Vatican. They both went to pray in the chapel. 
According to the Vatican's press release, Benedict XVI will serve the Church through prayer. He will live with his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein who will also serve as the prefect of the Papal Household. Four consecrated lay women from the Communion and Liberation movement will also live there to help out with every day chores. 
More than likely, Benedict XVI will be visited by his 88 year old brother Georg Ratzinger, who is his only living relative. 
The Mater Ecclesiae was used as a monastery for 19 years. Before that, employees of the Vatican Radio lived there, including the director. The living area is about 650 feet. The actual residence of Benedict XVI will be on the floor level, so he doesn't have to go up and down the stairs. The four story building has a small garden. 
For now Pope Francis will continue to live in the so called Casa Santa Marta which is a Vatican guest house. So the first Latin American Pope and Benedict XVI will live just a few meters away from each other. Despite having a Pope and a Pope emeritus living in the Vatican, ironically, the Papal apartment, to this day, remains empty. 
< Romereports.com May 2, 2013.