by John Smeaton (originally posted on his blog)
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama (pictured to the right in the photo) President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and Archbishop of Jos, has made a landmark intervention in the Synod here in Rome in which he emphasised the sacredness of marriage and of life – and powerfully opposed the agenda of the population control lobby.He said:
“Now you come to tell us about reproductive rights, and you give us condoms and artificial contraceptives. Those are not the things we want. We want food, we want education, we want good roads, regular light, and so on. Good health care.”
His Excellency’s strong intervention echoes what he said in June this year at a pro-life conference organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria in Abuja when I had the honour of addressing a private meeting of the Catholic bishops. At their pro-life conference, Archbishop Kaigama said that Nigerians refuse to be terrorised by the abortion lobby.
Archbishop Kaigama’s full intervention at the Synod was as follows:
We are confronted with some issues, and sometimes [they are] quite perplexing. We recently had a big conference on pro-life issues, and in that conference, we came out very clearly to ascertain the fact that life is sacred, marriage is scared, and the family has dignity.
We get international organizations, countries, and groups which like to entice us to deviate from our cultural practices, traditions, and even our religious beliefs. And this is because of their belief that their views should be our views. Their opinions and their concept of life should be ours.
We say, “No we have come of age.” Most countries in Africa are independent for 50, 60, 100 years. We should be allowed to think for ourselves. We should be able to define: What is marriage? What makes the family? When does life begin? We should have answers to those [questions].
We are wooed by economic things. We are told, “If you limit your population, we’re going to give you so much.” And we tell them, “Who tells you that our population is overgrown?” In the first place, children die — infant mortality — we die in inter-tribal wars, and diseases of all kinds. And yet, you come with money to say, “Decrease your population; we will give you economic help.”
Now you come to tell us about reproductive rights, and you give us condoms and artificial contraceptives. Those are not the things we want. We want food, we want education, we want good roads, regular light, and so on. Good health care.
We have been offered the wrong things, and we are expected to accept simply because they think we are poor. And we are saying poverty is not about money. One can be poor in spirituality, poor in ideas, poor in education, and in many other ways.
So we are not poor in that sense. We may be poor materially but we are not poor in every sense. So we say no to what we think is wrong. And time has gone when we would just follow without question. Now, we question. We evaluate. We decide. We ask questions. This is what we do in Africa now.
Our Voice of the Family team had the great honour of meeting His Excellency Archbishop Kaigama and Bishop Osei Bonsu, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ghana and Bishop of Konongo-Mampong, last weekend in Rome just before the Synod began.
Fortunately, many Synod Fathers – albeit not widely reported by the media – are standing up for the Catholic position on marriage and are courageously seeking to protect our families in their interventions at the Extraordinary Synod. For full reports and commentaries go to Voice of the Family and subscribe for our future posts.
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Voice of the Family is an international lay coalition of major pro-life and pro-family organizations that has formed to offer expertise and resources to leaders of the church, the media, NGOs, and governments before, during, and after the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family. The Synod will be held from October 5 to 19 in Rome. Read more about Voice of the Family
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