“The love of money is the root of all evils” (1Tim 6:10)
As I’ve always understood, not everybody in the priesthood understands what it’s about. Some are truly living in bondage – feeling trapped – because they entered the priesthood with the mindset of pursuing a career. For those truly called, it’s an inestimable privilege and blessing. To God be the glory!!!
All that glitters is not gold. One can give a wonderful sermon or homily (based on academic knowledge). It doesn’t imply the person is convinced of the teaching of the Christ and His Church. Only God knows the heart and how convinced we are about the faith and what we are preaching.
AFTERMATH OF LEAVING THE PRIESTHOOD: What next?
I think the priest for love of power, influence and money, left the priesthood. It is never about being gifted. Absolutely not! What gift has the Church not seen in its 2000 years of history? We have seen super-eminently gifted saints like St. Padre Pio, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Benadette, etc (not to mention the eminent Apostles of the Lord and many others). So it’s about pomposity, spiritual pride and foolishness. Clearly, he has no proper understanding of Ecclesiology or the Priesthood of Christ.
I didn’t realize originally he was a “healing ministry priest.” When I read about Grace Family Outreach yesterday, I googled it and listened to his preachings. I didn’t see any difference between him and any of those half-baked evangelical pastors and prosperity gospel preachers. I think it’s high time our Bishops of Nigeria begin to review the modus operandi of approval of these misguided approaches.
Every priest should operate within the parish level, not seeking individual ministries. There’s absolutely no reason why any priest cannot fulfill the ministry at the parish level, irrespective of whatever gifts one may have.
Think about it: If each priest, for love of money, power and influence, begins to ask his Bishop to release him so that he could face his own PERSONAL ministry full time, who would do the proper COMMUNITY ministry of the Church? Please, we are called to work in the Lord’s vineyard, building up the ONE BODY OF CHRIST, not individual or personal empires. That they may be one!
Reflect on these words of Scripture:
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matt 12:30).
“And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16).
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1Cor 12:7).
“So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church” (1Cor 14:12).
“And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12).
The Church is all about unity and communion; none of the Apostles of Christ ever divided from the Church or strayed from the path expressed in these passages. Truly, “the love of money is the root of all evils” (1Tim 6:10).
Our Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria needs to begin to find urgent solution to this misguided trend, terrible malaise. It’s precisely “INTERDENOMINATIONAL” because they by and large disavow the Catholic Church’s teachings in these useless events. They preach and teach without authentic Catholic theological, pastoral or catechetical perspectives and considerations.
I have been saying and will always maintain that preaching Prosperity Gospel Way is devilish (evident in Christ’s temptations by the Devil: The Devil wanted Jesus to display power by turning stones into bread and to jump down from the pinnacle of the temple. Christ rejected it; it’s never about sheer display of power. The Devil wanted Jesus to desire wealth and riches of all the kingdoms of the world.
Christ disavowed it). Jesus never invited people to come for signs and wonders; Christ invites all disciples to embrace the WAY OF THE CROSS. Christ healed people and said, “Tell no one;” not “Go and advertise it.” “Advertise it” is the Devil’s Proposal. Clearly, therefore, the promotion of miracles, signs and wonders and breakthrough crusades is the Devil’s proposal, evident from Christ’s temptations.
The Church through the Bishops’ Conference MUST stop giving these misguided priests the forum to use the Church as their springboard to making the leap of founding their own PERSONAL and SELFISH ministry or “church.” These guys are exploiting and misleading our Catholic faithful (many of whom do not understand the faith, do not know their left from their right, and are consequently like sheep without shepherds) and dividing the One Church Christ founded.
Every priest should work and function within the given or living tradition of the Church, (just as the prophets of old functioned by prophesying within the living tradition and all the apostles of Christ and their successors functioned within the living tradition of the One Church).
The New Evangelization methodology we taught and still teach in Emmaus School is not about founding “Independent churches” or “Autonomous Ministries.” The slogan has always been “We evangelize into the Church” (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 60). That’s what Jesus did! That’s what the Apostles did!
Every priest should evangelize and do every ministry within the parish and if there’s any outreach to anywhere (in stadium or any other arena), the money raised should be legitimately parish/diocese money for the advancement of the mission of the one Church. Otherwise, the priest is doing his own thing, his own business. Neither Christ nor His Apostles did their own thing, personal business.
If the money from such belongs to such priests, then there’s no reason why any parish priest should not be able to lay direct claim to the entire PARISH ANNUAL HARVEST THANKSGIVING AND BAZAAR (as his personal money, for his personal thing).
Obviously, that would not be right! But why not??? That is to illustrate that something is definitely wrong with the present state of affairs regarding “healing ministries” and our Bishops should take another look at it.
As I remarked earlier, if every priest begins to divert selfishly into a personal money making ministry, which priest will be available to work for the Church’s COMMON GOOD???
St. Paul warned sternly against founding personal ministries or personal churches. In his words:
“And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you all the time from the first day that I set foot in Asia…. how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house…. And now, behold, I know that all you among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am INNOCENT OF THE BLOOD of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that AFTER MY DEPARTURE FIERCE WOLVES will come in among you, NOT SPARING THE FLOCK [THE CHURCH]; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, TO DRAW AWAY THE DISCIPLES after THEM” (Acts 20:17-30) – meaning to exploit and deceive the members of the Church using the DEVIL’S METHOD or the DEVIL’S PROPOSALS during Christ’s temptations (proposal for signs and wonders and miracles and breakthroughs).
This is NOT the faith Jesus and His Apostles proclaimed! But many, if not most, of our Catholic faithful are vulnerable to these delusions and seductions because these misguided priests are exploiting their lack of faith, unnecessary fears and superstitious mentalities and also material poverty. We must – like the Good Shepherd Himself – protect the vulnerable flock from these ravenous wolves. That’s a divine mandate.
Prosperity Gospel entails prioritizing the preaching of material well-being, materialism, at the expense of preaching the depths of the mysteries of the Kingdom and its righteousness as Christ commanded. We preach Christ and His Mysteries of the Kingdom, not about wealth or breakthroughs. People need to learn the faith that they “may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph 3:18-19).
Remember the words of Jesus: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Or “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20).
The “everything” or “all” in both cases – CLEARLY – is not materialism.
Hence, Pope Paul VI declared:
“Evangelization will also always contain – as the foundation, center, and at the same time, summit of its dynamism – a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all men, as a gift of God’s grace and mercy.
And not an immanent salvation, meeting material or even spiritual needs, restricted to the framework of temporal existence and completely identified with temporal desires, hopes, affairs and struggles, but a salvation which exceeds all these limits in order to reach fulfillment in a communion with the one and only divine Absolute: a transcendent and eschatological salvation, which indeed has its beginning in this life but which is fulfilled in eternity” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 27).
ADDENDUM – CALL TO CATHOLIC CHRISTIANS WHO USED TO ATTEND FR. PATRICK EDET’S MINISTRY:
This is a call inspired by the Holy Spirit. Don’t allow Fr. Patrick Edet to make you lose your holy and beautiful Catholic and Apostolic Faith. Don’t abandon the Church of Christ for a dissident/fallen priest. Choose Christ and His Church! Remain with Jesus and His Church founded on the rock Peter.
WHAT ARE CHRIST’S WORDS OF INSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH? Christ words are “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I [JESUS] will build my church” (Matt 16:18). Christ did not say, “You are my Apostles, on these rocks I will build my churches”. He did not say, “You are James, on this rock I will build my Church”; or “You are Philip or Thomas … on this rock I will build my Church…” Thus, it is historically impossible to see any Church that James or Paul or Thomas founded different from that founded on the rock, Peter.
Since we cannot find any example of Paul or James or Thomas, or Mark or Luke, Philip, etc., founding an independent church, we must understand that what we see from the examples of Wesley, Calvin, Henry VIII, Harvard, name anyone else, have no biblical support.
If these private church founders were correct, certainly we could have seen the church of Paul or James or Matthew running through history independent of the one Christ willed through Peter; just as we now see that of Wesley or Calvin or Henry VIII running through history.
Among many Evangelicals (Pentecostals), we find “churches” established by some couples. It needs be said that there is NO “HUSBAND AND WIFE” CHURCH, INC. IN THE BIBLE. Where do we see Matthew, James or Thomas and his wife’s church? Christ DID NOT SAY, “YOU ARE FR. PATRICK EDET, UPON THIS ROCK, I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH.” Absolutely not! So please stay with Jesus and His Original Church. Don’t fall away!
He wants “freedom” to do whatever he wants, without any control, check and balance. He wants to be his own bishop, his own pope. He wants to be able to control others in his ministry and not to be controlled by anybody.
It’s simply called immaturity and pride. Even Jesus placed Himself under the control of His Father, saying, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). So Fr. Patrick Edet’s actions are absolutely against the Spirit of Christ (cf. Phil 2:5-11). The Church has checks and balance right from the beginning.
See how Apostle Paul directed and controlled the Early Catholic Christians (both clergy and laity):
“What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.
If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged” (1Cor 14:26-31).
St Paul even added unequivocally, “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1Cor 14:32-33).
Clearly, we are not free to do whatever we like, however gifted one may think one is. We are under authority as willed by Christ (Matt 16:16-19; Matt 18:17-18; John 21:15-18).
Just look at the awesome DIVINE POWER Christ entrusted to His Church in these lines from Jesus:
“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt 17:17-18).
CAN YOU SEE THE POWER OF THE CHURCH HE ABANDONED? IT IS THE LORD HIMSELF WHO DID IT! There’s always the place of the Magisterium (the Pope and Bishops) in the Church of Christ. Christ placed His Church under proper authorities and their successors.
See how St. Paul had greater authority than Bishop Titus:
“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…. ” (Titus 1:5).
Why didn’t Titus say, “I want freedom and break away from the Church?” Because such attitude is not from the Holy Spirit!
See how the Apostles at the Council of Jerusalem showed they had authority from Christ to direct the flock correctly when some misguided members went to preach wrong doctrine without proper mandate from the Apostles. The Apostles wrote a letter to the regions concerned, saying,
“Since we have heard that some persons from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions” (Acts 15:24).
Why didn’t those folks break away and say “We want to be free?” Because such attitude is not from God! So it’s never anything goes. So pray for Fr. Patrick Edet to humble himself, see the light and repent.
See how St. Paul placed himself correctly under the control or authority of Peter and the Apostles:
“Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up by revelation; and I laid before them (but privately before those who were of repute) the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain” (Gal 1:1-2).
This is the RIGHT ATTITUDE inspired by the Holy Spirit. Notice, St. Paul said, “I went up by revelation” (Gal 2:2). So this is how you know God’s Spirit at work, because “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16-17).
No one has mandate to divide the Church or to begin a new one. Such move will always be “anti-Christ”, contrary to the will of Christ (cf. Matt 24:23-26; Rom 16:17-18; 2Cor 11:12-15; 1John 2:18-19; Jude 1:17-18).
So no reasonable Catholic Christian – who has fear of God – should follow Fr. Patrick Edet; any Catholic Christian who follows him has abandoned Christ and His Church. He or she has fallen away like Judas Iscariot and all like him throughout the ages. The Church will continue without them, just as it continued without Judas Iscariot. And the Church will remain until Christ returns because He promised from the beginning (from the First Century), “the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18).