Nigerian bishops resolved to defend marriage

Voice of the Family welcomes the powerful statement in defense of marriage and the family made recently by the Nigerian Bishops. The statement follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision redefining the institution of marriage and the Irish referendum that accepted same sex unions by popular vote.

The statement signed by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, President of the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference, and Bishop William Avenya of Gboko, Conference Secretary, declares:

“The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria would like to once again reiterate the perspective of the Church on more recent developments concerning the sanctity and dignity of human life and the institutions of marriage and the family all across the world. The recent rise in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activism, the popular vote in the Republic of Ireland and the Supreme Court decision in the United States of America will tend to provoke a notable and rapid shift in public opinion about the nature and meaning of marriage and family as it has been known for millennia. This, in many countries, has inevitably led to powerful legislative and judicial manoeuvres to redefine marriage in order to include “same-sex marriage”. We wish to state that this is a sad, unjust and lamentable situation based largely upon a distorted perception of natural law, the will of God and human nature.”

The statement points out the many different ways that powerful western nations influence Nigerians. While expressing gratitude for all positive interactions and support, the bishops express concern with regard to the “persistent and continuous propagation and globalization of the homosexual lifestyle and the effort to redefine marriage which is a distorted view of human sexuality”.

The bishops’ statement is a strong call for Nigerian leaders to exercise discretion:

“Accepting this western trend by officially endorsing homosexual unions or “same-sex marriage” will be devastating and detrimental to our nation, Nigeria as it will lead to the inevitable deconstruction of the family and the society at large with other serious but negative implications.”

In the light of the upcoming Synod on the Family, the bishops’ efforts to uphold the unchangeable truths about human sexuality and the sanctity of the institution of marriage against powerful attacks from the western world are urgently needed:

“On our part we hereby re-emphasize that Marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman for the begetting and care of children. It forms the core of the family which is the bedrock and foundational cell of our civilization and as such it is sanctioned by God, upheld by our culture, celebrated in our society and protected by our government. The family deserves the protection from all civilized institutions as it predates society and is not subject to it. So our role is to promote it, protect it and preserve it at a time like this when many countries have unfortunately chosen a different path.”

The bishops also urge the President, all legislators and judges “to shun all pressures and protect all Nigerians from the growing but dangerous influence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender propaganda” and all professionals in the domains of media, music, entertainment, education, medicine, marketing and business “to become faithful gatekeepers by protecting the public from the infiltration of this propaganda which is often spread through various media and fora.”

Finally, the bishops encourage parents “to teach their children the immutable meaning of marriage so as to strengthen them to stand fearless by the indelible truth in a rapidly changing world. We urge young people to learn and hold firmly unto sound religious and cultural values that celebrate the beauty and blessings of marriage as the lifelong union between one man and one woman.”

The full statement of the Nigerian bishops can be read here.