By Evelyn Okakwu
The Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis1 has called on Christians to desist from various vices and imbibe the culture of selfless love.
He was speaking during his Lenten message published at the Catholic reporter online to mark the Ash Wednesday and the beginning of lent.
According to the Pope: “As individuals, church and nation, we are called by God to turn away from all evil: Sins like pride, greed, lust, indifference, nationalism, consumerism, secularism, anger, abortion, violence and war must give way to the central Gospel virtue of love for all, including our enemies. And our love must have a preferential concern for the vulnerable and poor”.
The pope noted that there are three types of destitution. The first type being the Material Destitution, normally called poverty. He said this type affects people living in conditions opposed to human dignity.
According to him, the second is moral destitution, which consists of slavery to vice and sin; while the third, he said is spiritual destitution which occurs when we turn away from God.
Pope Francis warned against making power, luxury and money our idols. He urged Christians not to let these idols take priority over the need to have everyone benefit from a fair distribution of wealth.
Similarly, the Catholic Arch Bishop of Lagos Alfred Adewale Martins, has charged Christians in the State and in Nigeria, in general to use the Lenten season to pray for peace and Unity of the country.
The news agency of Nigeria NAN reports that that the Bishop gave the charge yesterday at the Ash Wednesday mass held at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, to mark the beginning of the 40-day fasting period by the Christian faithful.
In his words: “We have a 40-day period of grace to prepare for the resurrection; the ceremony is very symbolic and we begin this 40-day period with a special day with ash.