Catholic bishops have called on the Federal government to beware of laws or programmes that go against God’s plan and purpose for human lives, marriage and family.
The call came from the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province which include Ibadan Archdiocese, Osogbo, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo and Ilorin Dioceses, during the presentation of two books on marriage, family and human lives.
At the event which held at the JohnPaul II Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, it was revealed that there are a number of bills at the national assembly which endanger human life, family life and marriage in Nigeria.
A bill to legalise abortion, same-sex marriage and increase access to contraceptives is one of the bills the clergy men say are up for debate at the parliament beginning from next week
Speaking to journalists on behalf of the bishops at the sidelines of the event, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of Oyo diocese said the bills keep being defeated and keep coming up.
His words: “These bills come under very innocuous and harmless titles like empowerment of women, gender balance, reducing maternal mortality rate… Unfortunately, some legislators and even governors and people in authority read may be only the introduction and the conclusion of the bills being presented. But the major elements are deep in the middle like number 144 or something. Lives are endangered by some of these bills.
“The position of the church is: any bill that demeans human life, any bill that permits the killing of one human being to make another comfortable is sinful and is criminal and should be rejected. Any bill coming because they offer money and resources but demean the citizens should be rejected.
He said further: “They mix the good with the bad and the ugly. Of course, we all want maternal and infant mortality rates to be reduced. But then we need to separate the grain from the chaff, somthqt when the good things come, we remove the bad things as well. If because we want to remove maternal mortality rate, you introduce contraceptives to harm our young people. You can’t say the end justifies the means.
Bishop Badejo tasked the government to protect the lives and dignity of Nigerians.
“The three main pillars of humanity in Africa are : the protection of human lives, marriage and the protection of the family”, he said. “What we have now are so many wayward teachings.
“If the family system and marriage institution are not protected, eventually society will disintegrate.
“That is why God made it possible for only man and woman to procreate”.
The books presented are: “A Catechism on Human Life: From Conception to Natural Death and “A Catechism on Marriage and The Family: The Teachings of the Catholic Church”.
Speaking on the need for the books, Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Gabriel Abegunrin, regretted that the traditional institution of family and marriage was being challenged by ideological and economic motives.
His words: “There are a lot of false teachings, misconceptions about human lives.
“It has become pertinent for the church to speak as eloquently as possible in a world where misguided emphasis is laid on mundane and material things.
“There is no doubt that the world today needs restoration through education and social mobilisation.
“Marriage institution still has values and worth and if you want to help the nation, you have to help the family take care of the children,” he said.
Abegunrin urged every citizen to have complete respect for the dignity and the sanctity of human life.
“In this age, people have forgotten that life belongs to God and have lost the conscience that God alone has right over human lives and no man should take it.
“We are calling on people of goodwill to shun any practice against human life.
The book reviewer, Rev. Fr. Michael Banjo, said the books seek to correct misconceptions and misguided principles about marriage, conception and family, especially those that are against Christian values and African development.
Some of those who graced the event apqrt from the Catholic community are the Alake of Egba land, Oba Michael Adedotun Aremu; a member of the Olubadan in council, Oba Eddy Oyewole; a representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria, a representative of the muslim community as well as the Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology in Oyo State, Prof. Adeniyi Olowofela. Chairperson of the occassion was Dr. Mrs. Juliana Iyabo Olusanmi.