Aprovada em 29 de novembro, a lei suscitou uma tempestade de queixas e ameaças partidas de chefes de Estado estrangeiros, como o primeiro-ministro inglês David Cameron e do Obama.
Em 7 de dezembro, a Conferência Episcopal da Nigéria emitiu declaração dizendo: “Queremos apoiar firmemente a proibição da união do mesmo sexo como expressão ao mesmo tempo de nossos valores culturais nigerianos e de nossas crenças religiosas enquanto cristãos”.
|Igreja catolica em Lagos|
Os bispos nigerianos insistiram em que a proibição de atos públicos de “afeto” homossexuais é “essencial para a saúde moral do país”. “Muito longe de ser uma negação de um direito fundamental de alguns nigerianos que adotem essas condutas, a proibição protege nossa sociedade da usurpação de seu direito à saúde moral e à decência cultural”, explicaram.
Os bispos estão bem conscientes de que a “Nigéria de fato foi interpelada diretamente por alguns países ocidentais para reverter essa decisão sob pena de perder certas ajudas e apoios”.
A coragem do povo nigeriano, manifestada por seus legisladores e bispos, enfrentou as pressões da Inglaterra, Canadá e outros países “civilizados” que exigem dos países africanos rescindir suas leis pela família.
|Atentados islamicos nao intimidam catolicos, Natal 2011|
Os prelados acrescentaram: “Declaramos que país algum tem o direito de impor a outro, normas que visam subverter nossos valores culturais e sociais só para satisfazer a exóticos desejos e tendências de alguns poucos”.
A STATEMENT ISSUED AT THE END OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD MEETING OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF NIGERIA (CBCN), HELD AT THE POPE JOHN PAUL II SOCIAL CENTRE, WUSE II FROM 5TH – 7TH DECEMBER, 2011
We, members of the Administrative Board of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, at the end of our meeting at the Pope John Paul II Social Centre, Wuse 2, Abuja, having deliberated on issues of current concern to our Church and our country Nigeria, issue the following statement:
The Holy Father in Africa
We join millions of Africans in thanking God for the recent pastoral visit of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI from November 18th to 20th, 2011 to the Republic of Benin for the proclamation of the Post-Synodal Exhortation Africae Munus. The document which is the outcome of the last Synod of Bishops for Africa was signed in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Ouidah, and presented by the Pope to the Presidents of the National Episcopal Conferences of Africa before a joyful, mammoth crowd at the colossal Stade de l’Amitie in Cotonou on 20th November. Nigeria’s delegation to the 3-day event was led by the President of CBCN, and Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Reverend Felix Alaba Job. In the Post-Synodal Exhortation, Africa’s rich intellectual and religious heritage was commended and all Africans were invited to continue to show the courage of Christian faith and hope. We particularly thank the Holy Father for his optimistic view of Africa, indicating the dawn of a new era in which Africa must stand up and walk and have confidence in herself and in her dignity as a people loved by her God (Africae Munus No. 149). It is our desire and prayer that this rich exhortation be disseminated all over Nigeria and be made a fresh source of reconciliation, peace, faith and hope for all the children of God.
Renewed Effort for Reconciliation, Justice and Peace
We cannot fail to recognize the urgent need for reconciliation, justice and peace in the face of serious security challenges in our country. As has often been said Nigerians must learn to live together in peace or perish through violence and mutual destruction. Pope Benedict XVI, during his recent visit to Benin Republic asked African leaders and the people of the continent to engage in building hope and dialogue in Africa and for Africa. Needless to restate that in Nigeria, corruption, bad leadership, unemployment, armed conflict and robbery rob do our people of hope. More recently terrorist activities such as the Boko Haram menace and kidnapping have driven many almost to despair. We simply can no longer hide our heads in the sand. We therefore commend the Arewa Consultative Forum for bringing the issue of reconciliation, dialogue, justice and peace to the fore in its recent conference just as our Church’s Justice, Development and Peace organs continue nationwide to invest in and promote dialogue, justice and peaceful coexistence. We urge all, the leaders and the led in Nigeria to sincerely work for peace and reconciliation through dialogue, mutual respect and justice in order to salvage the land from those who would destroy it and its peoples.
The Same-Sex-Union Issue
The Nigerian Senate last week voted to outlaw same-sex unions and all such public manifestations to the great relief of most Nigerians. We note that the Senate took this courageous and hope-inducing decision in the face of considerable internal and international pressure to do the exact opposite. Nigeria has in fact since then been directly asked by some Western countries to reverse this decision or forfeit certain aids and support. We wish to strongly support the prohibition of same-sex union as an expression both of our cultural values as Nigerians and our religious belief as Christians. Far from being a denial of the fundamental right of some Nigerians who would engage in it, such a prohibition protects our society from the usurpation of its right to moral health and cultural decency. We declare that no country has the right to impose on another such conditions as are likely to upset its common cultural and societal values just to satisfy the exotic desires and tendencies of a few.
The Return of Schools
We have never ceased to ask successive governments in Nigeria to redress the injustice perpetrated by the nationwide take-over of schools from the missionaries and private owners in the 70s, especially where no compensation was paid for such an action. Even today we insist that this misstep has never served the interest of the Nigerian nation and is largely responsible for the decay witnessed in moral life and the education sector today. It is in the light of this that we commend the righteous courage of some state governments which have taken some steps to return schools to their original owners. In this regard especially, the government of Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State deserves multiple accolades for returning all primary and secondary schools to their rightful owners, giving a public apology for the past take-over action and also providing substantial funds to rehabilitate and maintain the schools. He, among others, has thus positively re-written history, has begun to heal past wounds, revamp the education sector and reclaim the future for the youth in the country. We therefore, again call on other governments at all levels to courageously follow this example in political maturity and return schools for the good of Nigeria.
Removal of Fuel Subsidy
No one can deny how complex the controversy on fuel subsidy has turned out to be. This is because Nigerians have made so much sacrifice in the past with little or no reward to show for their pains. We wish to state clearly that such an important issue as this be decided only by a reasonable consensus after thorough consultation. It is the only way indeed to build up new hope in the life of the people being governed.
Joy To The World
In conclusion, as we approach Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, Saviour and Redeemer of the world, we wish all Nigerians abundant joy and peace. Given God’s promise and love, it shall be well with us yet. We cry out to all with the precursor of Jesus, John the Baptist: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths....” (Mk 1:3). May the coming of Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace through the intercession of Mary our Mother, bring abundant justice and peace to our troubled land, Nigeria. Amen.
Most Rev. Felix Alaba Job
President, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN),
and Archbishop of Ibadan.
Most Rev. Adewale Martins
Secretary, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN),
Catholic Bishop of Abeokuta.