News : STILL ON THE CULTURE OF LIFEPosted on: 2016-05-17
Source: Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Badejo
The Ibadan Ecclesiastial Pro-Life and Family Conference took place a little over a year ago now. Providentially, I have just participated in the March for Life for the United Kingdom in Birmingham. I was also formally introduced in London, to the offices and work of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Children (SPUC) which is fifty years this year. After the enriching experience, I responded to questions on pro-life issues in Africa and Nigeria. Here are excerpts:
1. Is it true that African people love human life at every stage?
I speak only for Nigeria because Africa is such a huge reality of so many peoples, languages and nations. Nonetheless, we can identify Africans with some common cultural values regardless of particular exceptions. One of them is the respect for human life from conception to natural death. I think that this is closely connected to the African worldview that God is the author of life and of everything on earth. This is the worldview of the Bible and Christianity as well.
2. Do you agree that African women need contraception and abortion to solve their social problems?
The idea that Africans have problems which only contraception and abortion can solve betrays either ignorance or disrespect for the African worldview and values. It reduces Africans to mere sexual beings whose entire life reality can be reduced to sexuality-related solutions. It smirks of a bias that Africans are incapable of controlling their sexuality. It is an insult really. It is also based on the erroneous assumption that there are too many people in Africa and its population must be reduced by these anti-life, de-population strategies. It is also a direct attack on the love of Africans for the family relationship of which our countries have been very protective. The truth is that only good administration, good maternal healthcare, good educational policies and institutions and support to rid African countries of corruption will solve the social problems of women not contraception and abortion.
3. What is the most serious threat to the culture of life in Nigeria?
The most serious threat to life is the combination of terrorism, ignorance, unemployment armed conflicts, corruption etc. However if I were to name one single, most serious threat it has to be the aggressive encroachment of the Culture of Death promoting contraception, abortion, divorce and gay culture. These strategies are mischievously pushed in Nigeria to undermine faith, values and populations in developing countries to please powerful but selfish interests.
4. Do you agree that "cultural imperialism" is at work?
Many Western individuals, organizations and governments aggressively seek to impose their worldview on the peoples of Africa. They no longer disguise this disrespectful and immoral action. Some governments have shamelessly declared that unless certain modernist practices are protected by the laws of developing countries, such countries will not receives grants and aids, read the U.S and the European Union. Unfortunately many African governments are so weak or inattentive to today's secular humanist realities that they embrace such offers and endanger their cultures. If this is not cultural imperialism I wonder what is. The Church and the Popes have declared this immoral and unacceptable. Not even the United Nations approves of that in its basic principles, never mind its operations.
4. Tell us about the pro-life movement in Nigeria.
Many heroic individuals and groups have been driving the pro-life movement over many years. The movement is relatively young needing support and reassurance. We are grateful that SPUC was in Nigeria last year to offer such support, expertise and encouragement during the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province's Pro-life and Family Conference. Since then more pro Life groups and NGOs are relating and working more together. Such groups have successfully exposed and stopped anti life policies and legislation through the courts, media advocacy and education. New groups are emerging through individual initiatives like the group called Family Life Project (FLIP) in my own diocese of Oyo. It seeks to help guide the youth in matters of love, sexuality and marriage matters. Priests and Consecrated people also work more closely with the Prolife movement. There is considerable appreciation of these efforts by parents and the youth, including some Muslims because the movement is closely identified with the family.
The Catholic Bishops at the National, Provincial and Diocesan levels are paying closer attention to supporting pro-life programmes and strategies as well. In Ibadan Province the Bishops have commissioned the publication of a PRO LIFE/ FAMILY CATECHESIS in three or four volumes. This is in the pipeline and I am involved with it. The idea is to present the cultural and Christian values along with the teaching of the Church on the Culture of Life in accessible language and idioms for our people for a better appreciation of human life and dignity.
5. Please give us some final words of encouragement and hope.
Please do not relent in the great job you are doing. You can save Europe by helping Africa. The hypocrisy of world organizations who should but do not protect the sanctity of life must be exposed. The archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onayekan, recently expressed this. The United Nations and the Western world agree that the formula called ABC, Abstinence, Be Faithful and Condom works excellently to reduce HIV/Aids and preserve family life. The Church approves and promotes only the A and the B. These organizations invest exclusively for C and do nothing to promote A and B which work even better? Where is the sincerity of purpose? In spite of the great challenges however, the world belongs to God. He only needs us as witnesses to protect the sanctity of his greatest gift to man- Life.
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