Bishop Gabriel Dunia of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi on Sunday warned priests against using the altar to preach partisan politics.
Dunia gave the warning at a news conference as part of activities marking the 53rd World Communication Day held at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral, Auchi in Edo.
He said it was wrong for priests to use the altar to preach partisan politics, adding that priests should maintain neutrality when it comes to partisan politics.
He said that all priests like the lay faithful were political animals, but priests should maintain their neutrality when it comes to partisan politics.
“It is not that we, priests, should not talk about politics, for example every adult who is of age should go out to vote for the candidate of his or her choice during elections.
“But no priests should use his position to canvass for vote no matter the temptation, no matter the relationship with those to be elected,” he said.
The bishop noted that using the altar to preach partisan politics was an aberration to the church.
He said that priests could speak about the actions of politicians and polity in the country but they should remain neutral.
“We the priests can talk about how the politicians were playing the game, but if my any of my priests say he wants to contest for any elective position, I will suspend him from the practice of the priesthood,“he said.
He noted that when the late Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu was elected the governor of Benue, the bishop then told him that he could not function as a priest during that period and that he could not return to the church to celebrate mass.
“Because everybody is free to belong to any political party, if any of them begins to campaign for particular candidates, that is an aberration. It is not expected from them.
“If candidates are beginning to influence people with their money and doing abominable things in the name of politics or winning election, the priest should speak against it,” he said.
Earlier, the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Rev Fr Peter Egielewa, said the World Communication Day was being celebrated by the Catholic Church worldwide to promote peace and unity among faithful.
Egielewa said this year`s theme is , “We are Members of One Another from Social Network Community to Human Communities.“
He said it was conceived to promote communication among human persons for communion love and to affirm interpersonal nature of humanity through the network.