A prominent Nigerian archbishop last week advised his fellow clergy against a sense of complacency and security which ends up damaging the Church.

"I have observed among us priests and religious is a lack of proper sense of mission, a lack of serious missionary commitment and a lack of missionary creativity," Archbishop Mathew Man'Oso Ndagoso of Kaduna said in his Jan. 11 homily for the episcopal consecration of Philip Davou Dung as Bishop of Shendam.

Archbishop Ndagoso said he has seen a lack of pastoral planning and implementation, which proceeds from a nonchalant and lethargic attitude, calling it "the deadly virus of complacency".

He lamented a pastoral mindset which relies on pews being filled because of an established Catholic identity.

"We like to bask in the euphoria of our being the first and well established Roman Catholic Church founded on Peter the Rock with no sense of urgency to proclaim the gospel," said Archbishop Ndagoso, adding that parishioners are being devoured by wolves "without any serious concern except that of assuring and reassuring ourselves that when some leave, others will come in on their own"

Archbishop Ndagoso emphasized that the time for waiting on people to fill the pews is an outdated practice, and now is the time in which the gospel must be lived outwardly: "Ours is the era of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep and going out in search of the lost one."

"We must therefore avoid the temptation of feeling secure in our well established church and rest content with our huge attendance at Masses."

Finally, Archbishop Ndagoso said we should be wary of false security and of and men masquerading as  persons of God.

The living out the gospel needs to be a watchfulness and an extension into society, and cannot be lived out complacently, he reflected.

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