The Catholic Church in Nigeria has commended Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State for his legendary tolerance in the face of provocation, describing him as a major pillar of support for the Church.
The representatives of the Pope and Ambassador of the Vatican, Most Reverend Augustine Kashuja, gave the commendation at a meeting with the governor and other Bishops in Osogbo, the state capital.
The meeting was part of activities lined up for the ordination of a new Bishops for the Osogbo Dioceses of the Catholic Church.
Kashuja debunked the insinuation that the governor was attempting to Islamise the state.
He said that whenever there are thorny issues, the Church has always dialogue with the government rather than raise dusts or stoke fire of crisis.
“Mr Governor, I am delighted for your exceptional and warm reception; you are a great supporter of the Church and you are friendly and cordial with the Church.
“There has not been any face-off since you resumed office because we engage in dialogue a lot. When things go wrong, we dialogue.
“We don’t make noise, and I assure you that we shall continue to dialogue.
The Catholic clergy said that the church was synonymous with peace and pledged maximum cooperation with the governor.
“The Church shall not abandon its age long culture of dialogue.
“We have no room for violence; we could dialogue for years and when some people raise dust of crisis, we keep quiet and dialogue.
“Your posture has assured me that the process of dialogue on religious matters that was started by the Church will continue for the purpose of progress and development of humanity,” Kashuja said.
Responding, Aregbesola remarked that no religion preaches violence and commended the Catholic Church for refusing to join the bandwagon of those who hide under the cloak of religion to foment trouble.
“Your visit today will send signals to the whole world that this government has no ill-feeling against any sect or religion.
“I sometimes get disturbed when people fight or kill in the name of religion; whereas, religion is an instrument of developing capacity for love; instrument of refinement of human beings and an instrument for testing our will to resist provocation.
“If religion fails, we must ask the adherents of that faith if they are truly practising what they preach.
“All religions make love a central theme of their faiths. The cardinal focus of all religions is love,” he said.
The governor asserted that the major difference among faiths exists only in the methodology of attaining Godhead.
He also stressed that there could be no difference in how they express their faith in relations to others and the need for love and compassion.
From Adeyinka Salaam, Osogbo