Lalong apologizes to Catholic bishops

The Chief Executive of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, on Friday apologized to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, following the alleged ‘blasphemous’ comments to against the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

While admitting that it was a mistake on his part to link the Catholic Pontiff to the politics of Nigeria, he asked for forgiveness and understanding from the Catholic Church through the Episcopal conference.

Previously, concerned church members had disapproved of his choice of words, even as a Papal Knight of St. Gregory, and they demanded his immediate suspension from the church.

However, in a letter to the CBCN President, titled “Letter of Apology,” dated August 12, 2022, Governor Lalong reaffirmed his commitment to the Catholic faith and promised to continue to uphold the banner of the Christian faith in the public life.

The letter read: “I have followed with some shock and deep regret the reactions following my appointment as Director General of the Campaign Council of our party’s presidential candidate, APC, Ahmed Tinubu, and his running mate, Ibrahim Shettima.

“The nomination has understandably drawn mixed reactions from within the Christian community, who sincerely feel aggrieved by our party’s decision to settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

“While many people congratulated me on this appointment and saw it as a way to stay in the system to defend our own interests, others decried it on the grounds that our faith had been insulted and denigrated.

“During this, many of my opponents turned the issue into a political weapon by spreading rumors and questioning the integrity of my credentials as a Catholic and a papal knight.

“In trying to make my point, I have given interviews to justify why I believe the appointment has in no way undermined my commitment to the Catholic Church.

“During the week, during my defense, I had reason to refer to my credentials as a Catholic and a pontifical knight. In the aftermath, I referred to the Holy Father.

“I now realize that this was a mistake on my part and has caused a level of concern and even embarrassment to many, especially members of the Knights Pontifical family to which I belong.

“I now understand that I may have overstepped my bounds in trying to defend my personal decision to accept this appointment and therefore the reference to the Holy Father was not intended to disrespect his exalted office and revered.

“Your Grace, through this written letter, I wish to offer my unreserved apologies and ask for their understanding and forgiveness from my brethren in the Catholic faith and, through you, to all the members of the Episcopal Conference, our Fathers and our leaders .

“My commitment to the Catholic faith, to which I belong, remains unreserved and undiluted. I will continue to uphold the banner of my faith in public life as I have done over the years.

“You may recall, Your Grace, that for the past five years or so I have been at the forefront of facilitating our dialogue as politicians with you, our fathers in the faith. I remain committed to this and pray that you will continue to encourage us as we climb the slippery slope of politics. »

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