Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo
Our world has really fallen on hard times. I do not refer only to material and structural needs. The entire world is gasping for breath in facets of life bordering on politics, economics and social and spiritual concerns. In recent months the world has been assailed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Even as that pandemic, tagged COVID 19, remains dangerous and unresolved, racism, domestic and child abuse, police brutality terrorism and sundry crimes have increased in many countries. Nigeria, like other parts of the world suffers from these and more. Recently, the Archbishop emeritus of Lagos archdiocese, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, said: Today, cries of hunger can be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Nigerians hunger not only for food, but also for good leadership, for peace, security and justice. Although international organizations non-governmental groups, professionals of different walks of life and individuals are making frantic effort to resolve the problems so much is left crying out for a solution.
The death in the hands of the American police in Minnesota, U.S., of George Floyd, a black male suspected of attempting to spend a fake 20-dollar bill, followed by the killing of other blacks in America, sparked a worldwide spree of protests and violence. As one of the four police officers called to arrest Floyd pressed his knee into the neck of Floyd for over 9 minutes snuffing the life out of him, a passerby recorded the horrific incident. Floyds plea as he begged for mercy, I cant breathe, became the rallying cry for victims and protesters all over the world. A world that has lost its humanity cannot but suffer hiccups in it social, moral and spiritual balance and serenity.
As we scramble for solutions to the myriad of problems, every challenge can seem to have equal importance. This cannot be true. Most problems that may be identified as common to humanity are but symptoms of an ailing world, one in dire need of spiritual healing. Unless humanity recovers its identity as one family, all solutions procured in the search of peace can only be short-lived and inadequate. God created one world but human beings have today invented three or four. There is need to go back to basics, that of one human family, to those days when Gods commandments reigned and the brotherhood of humanity mattered. Simply put, all prospective solutions to the worlds problems must incorporate spiritual revival and moral regeneration or they will not stand the test of time. Spiritual and moral values by which the Creator set up the world must be the building blocks for a new world order that caters for the legitimate rights of everyone and provides for the needy.
As a consequence of this, pastoral initiatives in Oyo diocese seek to include a new catechesis that forms the faithful in living according to the 10 Commandments of God and to the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy. The diocesan pastoral plan already seeks to respond to such needs and solicit the contribution of every parish, church society, groups and individuals in realizing that noble objective for establishing a better world. Until that is attained, it will be inevitable that we hear often that rallying cry: I still cant breathe.