Christianity's decline in West hurts Nigerian church, says bishop

A bishop in Nigeria said the decline of the Christian faith in the West has an adverse effect on their local church. This is because as the Catholic Church loses its public influence, Islam and evangelical Christianity will rise.

(REUTERS / Afolabi Sotunde)Worshippers arrive at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Nigeria's capital Abuja, June 24, 2012.

In an interview with the Catholic News Service on Oct. 10 in Liverpool, Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto said the European and American politicians' habit of "pandering" to Islam is harming Christianity. He said Catholicism in Nigeria is on a decline partly because Arab countries and American Pentecostal missionaries are pouring in support for their ministries in the African country, while the Catholic Church there has limited resources.

"From my own experience, I find that the British high commissioner, the ambassadors from European countries, the American ambassador - they are pandering more to Islam than to Christianity, because most of them have turned their backs on Christianity," Bishop Kukah explained to CNS.

He added: "For me, as a bishop of the Catholic Church, I can see very clearly that our influence in the public space is gradually reducing, and that is largely because of our capacity to mobilize resources."

Moreover, Bishop Kukah lamented the fact that they can no longer appeal to Catholic countries for financial support for their church projects because of the lack of interest of these people. He claimed that most Catholic ambassadors prefer to attend Muslim celebrations such as Ramadan rather than Christmas or Easter events.

In light of the decline of Christianity, the Russian Orthodox Church's "foreign minister," Metropolitan Hilarion, challenged the West to unite with media in propagating Christian values. He told a delegation at a conference in London last month the importance of giving Churches support in its fight against ideas that clash against its teachings on morality, the Catholic Herald reported.

In addition, Metropolitan Hilarion said it was important that the Churches must be united in their efforts to propagate their teachings and opposing anti-Christian values.