BY FREDDY GRAY
MEN WITH greasy permed hair, tight jeans and earrings are not only barred from the world of fashion, they are now also forbidden from entering Catholic churches in Nigeria.
Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, the outspoken Archbishop of Lagos, has had enough of tasteless fashion and wants to make sure that his flock dresses decently.
Fr Gabriel Osu, a spokesman for the Lagos archdiocese, informed parishes within the diocese of the Cardinal’s new dress code for worship. “Fashion that promotes lust and immorality must not be allowed inside the Church,” he said.
He added that inappropriately dressed men spotted in a place of worship will be ejected: “They should be quietly asked to worship outside the Church.” Diocesan officials will be on the look out for “jerrycurled hair” — a sort of shiny ringlet hairstyle sported by Michael Jackson in the early 1980s.
The cardinal also banned the practice of “love-offering” at Catholic funerals. It is unclear exactly what is meant by “love-offerings” but one thing is certain: Cardinal Okogie is against them.
“Love-offering for the family of the deceased is greatly frowned upon,” he said.
Cardinal Okogie also recently criticised Nigerian Catholics for falling into the habit of chanting songs that had no liturgical relevance.
“There should be no singing of such songs as ‘I have a powerful God’, ‘Jesus na super’, etc ... Let us treasure our faith,” he said.
Cardinal Okogie was born on June 16, 1936, in Nigeria. He studied at St. Peter and St Paul's Seminary in Ibadan and at the Urban University in Rome. In October last year, he was made a cardinal priest, and was given the titular Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel of Mostacciano. He is famous for his bold and forthright views.
“It was my war experience that makes me not fear anybody. I may look small but I fear nobody. I tell the truth,” he told a news channel last month.
He has attacked Nigeria’s politicians for fanning the flames of ethnic violence to promote their “selfish motives”.