News : Church in Ibadan Province, Nigeria, Decries Rise of Anti-life and Anti-family Values


Posted on: 2015-04-21
Source: Catholic News Agency for Africa (CANAA)


The clergy and the laity of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan in Nigeria have lamented the promotion of the “culture of death” by some global and international institutions and called for an end to all forms of killings, assassinations, terrorism, and kidnappings.


In the communiqué at the conclusion of the Pro-Life and Family Life International Conference of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province sent to CANAA on Sunday, the clergy and the people of Ibadan term the trend “worrisome.”


“The imposing nature of the culture of death as opposed to the culture of life is spreading all around us,” reads the statement.


“It wants to dethrone God and enthrone science; while what a powerful minority wants to impose becomes the morally acceptable,” the statement continues, giving the example of some advocates of abortion who “use obscure U.N. commissions to attempt to wrestle vague languages into resolutions” and funding agencies funding “abortion under the guise of ‘sexual and reproductive health Rights’ to work within developing countries.”


“Billions of dollars are spent influencing laws of different Nations and their cultures in order to create an anti life agenda,” the statement goes on.


The conference called on legislators to “reject every pressure and attempt to legalize the killing of babies in the womb” and urged for the protection of the dignity of human life by nations, institutions, and individuals.


“Pastors of souls should pay serious attention to the preparatory stages of marriage for family life and help families facing different challenges to grow, trusting in God without losing their faith,” the conference declared, denouncing same-sex unions.


The three-day conference brought together Pro-life and Family advocates and resource persons, leaders, stakeholders from Africa, Europe and America and the general public. It concluded on Wednesday.


Below is the full text of the communiqué, which was signed by Archbishop Gabriel Leke Abegunrin of Ibadan on behalf of the clergy and people of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan.


LIFE IS SACRED: IT IS GOD’S GIFT, PROTECT IT


Communiqué at the End of the Pro-Life and Family Life International Conference Sessions of the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province at the John Paul II Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria (April 13 – 15, 2015)


PREAMBLE


1.      The Bishops of the Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan organized a Pro-Life and Family Life International Conference from April 13 – 15, 2015, at the John Paul II Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Having prayerfully reflected on the theme, “A Call to Duty to Protect Human Life and Family Values in the Encroaching Culture of Death”, we now present our communiqué to the Church and the Nation.


THE SANCTITY AND SACREDNESS OF HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY VALUES AND THE CALL TO PROTECT IT


2.      The importance of this special period in the world and in the universal Church must not be lost on us. New technology and inventions accompanied by new attitudes and ideas continue to challenge traditional beliefs, established faith and conventional practices. New lobbies backed by diverse cultures in recent past have shown that there is a gross misunderstanding between what individuals see as human rights and inclinations. It should be borne in mind that all rights must be defended, but not all human inclinations can be defended. The Church has always been at the forefront of protecting human life, human rights and better health care for all and still remains so. The Holy Father, Pope Francis called a Special Synod on the Family in October, 2014 and another General Synod for October, 2015 to deliberate on those challenges and proffer ways to make the Church more supportive of marriage and family life.  This is because she believes that God is the sole Author and Source of all life. She serves Jesus Christ who said “I have come to give them life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).


3.      God is the Author of all life. He however makes man and woman co-creators in the divine work of bringing forth life, as he commands the human race to multiply, thus, procreation, is only found in a union of man and woman which is family life. This makes the family an essential part of the culture that promotes life. Every nation, every institution, every leader and every individual then must be equipped effectively to seek beauty in life, while promoting and protecting it. Thus human life and family values are so closely knitted that they are all a Nation needs to become great. Every individual lives and exists because there is a breath of life in the person. Such an individual is a product of a family and what the person becomes in the society is at large determined by the values or vices first acquired in the family. Such values or vices recycle to make a society to be either a bad one that disregards life or a good one that promotes the culture of life.


4.      The mind of the Creator of life and family is so clear. He alone gives life and he alone can take it. He created man and woman in his own image. The creation of two sexes is ordered for procreation and the good of the spouses. Creating us in his image is to share in his divine essence of being able to love, to reason, to have affection, to choose, to mention but a few.  Thus, inclinations that are inimical to the mind of the Creator must be fought by all. This fight can only be won if everyone is involved. The culture of death, promoting contrary values can only be eradicated if individuals, families, cultures, and nations come together to remind people of what life means and what the family stands for. Also, these individuals, groups and systems are to present to the world those credible ethical alternatives about human life, family life, sexuality and relationships.


ANTI LIFE AND ANTI FAMILY VALUES ON THE RISE


5.      The imposing nature of the culture of death as opposed to the culture of life is spreading all around us. With advancement in technology, it sees a special help, just like a fire in the harmattan. It wants to dethrone God and enthrone science; while what a powerful minority wants to impose becomes the morally acceptable.


In our contemporary time, this culture is becoming more worrisome because many structures and Institutions which ordinarily are meant to support life agenda are fast placing themselves at the service of a culture that promotes and encourages death. For example, some advocates of abortion in the United Nations use obscure U.N. commissions to attempt to wrestle vague languages into resolutions. U.N. agencies develop curriculum for children promoting abortion. Some donor countries, billionaires, Foundations and U.N. agencies fund abortion under the guise of “sexual and reproductive health Rights” to work within developing countries and at the U.N. Government grants are given to Non-Government Organizations to train health care providers in “values clarification” to weaken the respect for the dignity of unborn children as persons. Billions of dollars are spent influencing laws of different Nations and their cultures in order to create an anti life agenda.


Furthermore, the ever increasing phenomenon of the error of relativism is another bane. The Pope emeritus, Benedict XVI ferociously denounced this when he said: “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goals one’s own ego and one’s own desires”. The individual person wants to dictate what he or she can do with his or her life, without recourse to what is objectively true.


TRENDS CHALLENGING HUMAN LIFE AND FAMILY VALUES


6.      The world as a whole will always have its problems and challenges, including those associated with developmental needs. However, these challenges should never be confused with ones which have a common and rather a well organised and unfortunately sinister common origin.


Secular (atheistic, religious, ideological and imperialistic) Humanism is the concept under which they all operate. These challenges include the modern epidemics of sexism, contraception, immorality, pornography, hedonism, abortion, broken homes, homosexuality, crass materialism, so called same sex marriages, international terrorism, rape, crisis in the religious as well as family life, and a lot more.


7.      Drawing from the articles of faith of Secular Humanism as most succinctly expressed within their cycle, especially that on the “death” of God as well as that of the absence of anything called sin, the evils that these have created are all there for everybody to see. Such terms as fornication and adultery have completely disappeared from human literature – including the books of many of the new age religions, even in Christianity! These two sins are now referred to as pre-marital or extra-marital sex – because for Secular Humanism, all sexual intercourses are the same, whether pre-marital, intra-marital or extra-marital!


Abortion has become “menstrual regulation”, “menstrual induction”, “menstrual extraction”, the “removal of the products of conception” or the “termination of a mere pregnancy”. Some of these people have also demanded openly that pregnancy be considered a disease. Hence the whole of society is rapidly sliding into a serious moral and spiritual death; and few people are seeing or realising it!


OUR DECLARATIONS AS A WAY FORWARD


8.      Based on discussions and presentations surrounding the issue on sanctity of human life and the values inherent in family life at the Conference, we hereby declare as follows:


       i.          Life is God’s gift and this life starts at conception and can only be taken by him. Every man and woman is created in the image and likeness of God. Thus, every nation, every Institution, every man and woman must respect, protect and uphold the dignity of human life.


      ii.          The family is the cradle where life is nurtured and protected. Thus, every family as a matter of necessity must create a conducive environment where the value of life is imbued and upheld. Pastors of souls should pay serious attention to the preparatory stages of marriage for family life and help families facing different challenges to grow, trusting in God without losing their faith.


     iii.          The sanctity and sacredness of sacramental marriage is instituted by God as a union between a man and a woman only. Thus, every other form of union is contrary to the mind of the Creator. Inclinations that are inimical to the mind of the Creator must be fought by all, reminding people of what life means and what the family stands for. Also, credible ethical alternatives about human life, family life, sexuality and relationships should be taught by Pastors of souls.


     iv.          Every form of deception by different Agencies, Organisations, and Individuals, to promote the fact that abortion should be seen as a right that can be determined by the individual should be rejected. As such, those who legislate on the laws of our country should reject every pressure and attempt to legalize the killing of babies in the womb.


      v.          The promotion of chastity should be given priority in every home. This should include a suitable sex education of the young, starting from the parents, who are the first teachers, to school teachers and pastors of souls. Such education should include: “the Love of life; appreciation, love and respect for one’s body; respect for the person of others, regardless of their physical characteristics and sexual orientations; the search for and acceptance of one’s identity and the roles that depend on it; respect for freedom; the sense of responsibility in sexual activity”, among others into consideration.


CONCLUSION


9.      Finally, in the name of our merciful God we call for an end to all forms of killings, assassinations, terrorism, and kidnappings, etc.


As Pope Saint John Paul II exhorted us, we urge everyone to continue courageously to witness to the dignity of every human life at every stage and age. May God inspire all Nigerians by his Holy Spirit so that together we may rebuild our dear nation on the principles of the Culture of Life to the glory of God in whose image we are all created.


SIGNED:


MOST REV GABRIEL ‘LEKE ABEGUNRIN


ARCHBISHOP OF IBADAN


FOR AND ON BEHALF OF CLERGY AND PEOPLE OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF IBADAN



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