We Can’t Keep Quiet, We Must Tell Politicians The Truth – Onaiyekan

John Cardinal Onaiyekan


Former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has declared that clergymen must continue to speak the truth to those in power, adding that silence means compliance.

According to him, it is wrong to keep quiet in the face of injustice, even if it attracts criticisms from politicians and those in government, noting that politics is for everyone and not just politicians.

The clergyman made this submission over the weekend while speaking at the inauguration of the Catholic Social Teaching, CST, programme at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN, in Abuja.

He stressed that clerics must do the right thing at all times because it is part of their responsibilities.

“As Catholic Bishops, we are often interviewed and make powerful political statements. Nobody can stop us from doing that because it is part of our job. We have a responsibility to teach the right things, even if it means facing criticism from politicians.

“We cannot afford to remain silent in the face of injustice. Silence is complicity, and we must speak out against injustice wherever we see it.

“Whenever we speak nicely, politicians hail us, but when we criticize them and warn them that they are not doing well, they get angry with us, accusing us of dabbling in politics. But politics is not for politicians alone; it’s for everyone.

“We teach the right things, but it’s up to those concerned to take the teaching and work on it. We don’t have the facility to force politicians to do the right thing; we only have the word of mouth, our message.

“Even Jesus taught for three years, and it was the same people he taught who rallied around and crucified Him on the cross. They heard His message, but they didn’t take it. It’s the same today: those who listen to good wisdom will do well, and the people will profit from them,” the Emeritus Archbishop said.