Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, has said the Catholic Church does not rely on tithes from members for its existence and advised Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State not to delve into areas he was ignorant of.
Bishop Ezeokafor spoke on Sunday while taking delivery of the 48 en-suite building at the retreat centre, Okpuno donated to the diocese by its members living in Lagos.
He used the occasion to react to a statement attributed to Governor Bello that Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) was angry at the present administration because looters no longer paid tithes, describing the statement as unfortunate and selfish.
He counseled the governor to address the issues raised by the CBCN rather than trying to scandalise the church which he said did not dwell on the doctrine of tithing.
“Tithe is not a doctrine in the Catholic Church; it is private to the individuals and you know it is an Old Testament way of life for believers.
“You cannot get at the Catholic Church talking about it, the truth is that if we tell people to bring 10 per cent of their income and they all bring it as a matter of law, this Diocese will be heaven.
“The Catholic Church does not want to multiply the sins of the people because if you make tithe a law and they don’t bring it, it becomes a sin, just as in the case if Ananias.
“We see the statement of Governor Yahaya Bello as just trying to distract the people; the church has told the president the truth, if he likes let him listen.
“Let them address the issues that were presented during the visit – need for equitable appointment, need for equal security for all Nigerians, the need to protect both the farmers and the herdsmen.
“Nobody should talk about tithe here, how much is the person paying? The Governor in question is not even a Christian so he is not even competent to discuss it.”