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Nigerian cardinal blasts laxity of American culture, priesthood

Catholic World News - July 27, 2009

In an interview in which he defended the discipline of priestly celibacy, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Lagos condemned the laxity of American culture and some American priests.

Contrasting the priesthood shortage in the US with the more positive Nigerian vocation picture, Cardinal Okogie said that “those people there [in the US]…they don’t value anything any more. And how do you want priests to come from a place like that?”

When the interviewer referred to “an American priest [who] was caught smooching and kissing his girlfriend at a Miami beach,” the prelate interjected:

I am happy you said America. This is Nigeria. Whatever happens there; it is still the universal Church. It pains me. We are all the same body of Christ. It pains me. It shouldn’t be …but I am here in Nigeria and I can speak of Nigeria. If any stupid priest or bishop in Nigeria feels he wants to copy the American model, then there is something wrong with his head.

Cardinal Okogie, now 73, has served as Archbishop of Lagos since he was 36. Pope John Paul II created him a cardinal in the consistory of 2003.

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