The Catholic Diocese of Pankshin, Plateau State, has disassociated itself from the action taken by one of its priests, Rev Fr. Kelas Gogwim, who prevented worshippers without Permanent Voter Cards, from observing the mass.
It was reported on Sunday that some Catholic priests enforced a policy of “No Permanent Voter Card (PVC), No Sunday Mass.”
In videos seen by SaharaReporters, some church members were not allowed to partake in the Sunday mass over their inability to display their PVCs.
Rev. Gogwim had said, “From today if you are coming for mass, carry your PVC. If you don’t have your PVC, don’t bother coming. Because there is no way you have Christians filling up the church, but only a handful of them go to vote during elections.
“So, it means ¬our population and numbers mean nothing. So, we want Christians to take their responsibilities and roles seriously. So, today, I am serious about it. As I’m standing here, if you have your PVC— begin to come in. But if you don’t have your PVC, find your way back home. You won’t attend mass here.”
Reacting in a statement on Monday, the Pankshim diocese said the action of the Reverend father did not have the approval of the Bishop, Most Rev Gobal Gokum, neither was it the policy of the diocese.
The diocese further stated that it regretted the unfortunate incident, according to a statement issued by Rev. Fr. Andrew Danjuma Dewan, the Director of Communications.
However, it encouraged worshippers to obtain their PVCs and carry out their civic responsibilities.
The statement reads, “The attention of His Lordship, Most Rev. Michael Gobal Gokum, The Catholic Bishop of Pankshin has been drawn to a video in circulation by Rev. Fr. Kelas Gogwim, in which he prevented some Catholic worshipers from attending Mass because they did not have their voter’s cards with them.
“The action of this priest did not have the approval of the Bishop neither is it the policy of the diocese. Hence, the Diocese disassociates itself from this video in circulation and regrets the unfortunate incident, much as parishioners are encouraged to obtain their PVCs to exercise their civic duties.”