Posted on: 2014-06-14

Family and Life Under Threat

The first anxiety of the Holy Family after the birth of Jesus was caused by a threat to the baby\'s very life. King Herod\'s attempt to kill the \"newborn king\" provoked the flight to Egypt. That action saved the life of Jesus but not so the life of numerous children massacred in Herod\'s madness. In our day such a threat to human life has not abated. Jesus\'s experience turns out to be a sad preview of the relentless assault on the family and the sanctity of life, especially the defenseless as seen across the world today.  In Africa especially, an aggressive culture of death promoted by decadent, modernist Western culture is being vigorously entrenched even in legislation and constitutions across the continent. Nigeria is at the centre of that infamous activity which undermines human life in many forms.


Church and Conference to the rescue

At times like these a prophetic voice is needed to sound the warning and push for the defense of life in all its forms. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) rose to the occasion when they hosted a two day international Family and Pro-Life Conference at the National Christian (Ecumenical) Centre, Abuja from 5-6 June, 2014. The conference, jointly organized by CBCN, Culture of Life Africa and the Action Family Foundation brought together Pro-Life leaders, stakeholders and church members from Africa, Europe and America to reflect on the family as the foundation of the Culture of Life, and to develop strategies for defending the sanctity and dignity of human life. At the end of the conference an eight-point communique was issued. Applying every one of those points to the current realities of Nigeria today is imperative, nothing short of saving our own lives and our future.


The Life-saving commitment

1.     Every conceived child is formed and perfected in the image and likeness of God. Human life therefore begins at the moment of conception, and must be protected until natural death. Nigerians love life, welcome children as precious gifts, celebrate motherhood and uphold marriage as a union between man and woman.


2.     Witnessing to the dignity of human life should include the defense of marriage between man and woman, the promotion of  chastity, the campaign against abortion and all forms of artificial birth control, as well as the promotion of natural family planning methods while ensuring that Nigerians are supported to live a more dignified life.


3.     The family is God’s precious gift to humanity which ought to be continually cherished. It is the bedrock and foundation of the development of a better society because it has the primary role of educating children which provides formation of character and ensures ethical living.


4.     Only sacramental marriage between a man and a woman forms the foundation for the human family. Such a covenantal union is the true source for procreation offered to man by God. On the other hand, same-sex unions are grossly disordered and should never be given legal status in Nigeria. The adoption and promotion of same-sex unions undermines the right to life, right to freedom of conscience, religious liberty, respect for moral and cultural values, etc. It also harms the innocence of children, degrades marriage and family life and destabilizes society, now and in the future.


5.     To be Pro-Life is to be Pro-Christ for Jesus came to give life and life to the full. (John, 10:10) It is imperative for the Catholic Church and all religious organizations in Nigeria to  be more courageous and consistent in Pro-Life activities in favour of human life, marriage and the family as counter-cultural antidotes to anti-life ideologies and practices. This call is urgent as the battle against life, marriage and family in Nigeria has become more intense at both the federal and state legislative sectors.


6.     People in public service have a profound moral duty to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable from all threats. Professionals and practitioners of media have a special responsibility before God in this regard. The right to life - the most basic of all human rights - applies to all, regardless of race, colour, creed, sex, religion, state of physical health, age, stage of development or condition of dependency. Policies and programmes ought to reckon with this fact of our common humanity.


7.     The relentless promotion by some Western nations and international organizations of “sexual and reproductive rights”, a euphemism for abortion, is deceptive and unacceptable. Accordingly, we ask that all legislations for abortion, which is the intentional killing of innocent babies in the womb, be denounced and abrogated. We remain resolved in our efforts to ensure that abortion is never legalized in our country.


8.     The entire human person belongs to God. This means that neither the human person nor the body parts can be reduced to commodity for commercial purposes. Therefore, we strongly reject human trafficking, the sex trade, human egg trafficking, embryo manipulations and organ poaching without donor consent which has been inserted in the Nigerian National Health Bill and ask all people of goodwill to do the same.


Option for the truth

The strongest lesson of the entire Pro-Life conference was the exposure of how the wicked agents of the culture of Death who promote abortion, contraception and trafficking of human parts without donor\'s consent deceive and mislead the general public. Having huge funds and means, they falsify facts and figures, conceal data and conceal their real interest, thereby wasting numerous lives. The strong appeal to all is to seek the truth about everything from credible sources and choose measures that promote and preserve life. What Jesus said in the Scriptures remain true. \"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free\". (Jn. 8: 32).