By Chinweoke Akoma, Prisca Sam-Duru and Josephine Igbinovia
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins, has commended the efforts of Nigerians who have been at the forefront of battle to ensure that abortion remains illegal in Nigeria.
Martins, in a message at the 2013 Mass of Reparation for sins against human life, described abortion as a grave moral evil and urged parents and teachers to communicate to them the gravity of terminating a human life and the irrepara-ble harm done to the innocent who is put to death through abortion.
He lauded the country’s leaders and civil society who have withstood the mounting pressure to legalize abortion, noting “our country’s laws recognize the right of the unborn to live and be born.”
Also speaking, the Metropolitan Grand Knight, Knights of St. Mulumba, Sir Patrick Ikemefuna, revealed that, of all anti-life issues, abortion is the greatest sin, pointing out that human life is sacred and that the Church has always maintained that life starts at conception .
According to him, in line with this year’s theme: ‘Professing our faith through the defence of human life’, the Catholic Church is totally against abortion from the beginning and has not changed on its stand and other issues that are anti-life.
Similarly, the keynote speak-er, Rev. Fr. James Olubiyi, noted that the Old Testament attested to the value of human life in its earliest form. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you”. He empha-sized that choosing to live chastely is a sign of faith in God’s Word and in the teaching of the Church, adding that only chaste living can permanently reduce the rising number of abortions and foster respect for the human dignity of all men, women, children and the unborn.
In another development, the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, held a thanksgiving Mass in honour of National Association of Catholic Lawyers, for the commencement of their annual legal year.
In his sermon, the cathedral’s administrator, Rev. Monsignor Paschal Nwanzeapu lamented that Nigeria is seriously sick and gradually walking along the path of disintegration, a situation he said, has turned her into a land of failures and evil.
Msgnr Nwanzeapu who enjoined lawyers to use their offices to contribute positively to salvage the nation, regretted that “governance, civil service, education sector, judiciary, economy, family institutions as well as religious organisations have all failed because the values of the people have completely decayed.”
The reverend decried the level of “disrespect for human life, Boko Haram insurgency which has claimed so many lives, increase in the rate of kidnapping, and the worse of them all, massive corruption which has bedeviled the nation;” stressing that it is more saddening that Nigerians are becoming comfortable with the situation.
“There is deep-seated self centredness, greed and tribalism in the society and the Church which is a shame and very unfortunate because it has made it absolutely difficult for the Church to rise up with one voice and fight bad leader-ship,” he said.
His words: “Nigeria has become a dumping ground and our children have been lured into homosexuality due to poverty. I sympathise with Nigerians because very soon if not checked, foreign nations controlling us will graduate from forcing same sex marriage on the people. Nigerians must wake up and fight evil.”
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church of Ascension, Lagos, has rolled out activities for the celebration of its ninth annual harvest in November. Tagged Harvest of Divine Mercy, the pre-harvest activities which took-off with a health talk preceded by a walk that almost brought the Lagos Airport environ to a halt, also include a forthcoming novelty football match between the men and women parishioners of the church and a dinner party.
Publicity chairperson, Harvest Planning Committee, Mrs. Marcella Iyitor, who said the edition was unique because it was being driven by the church’s Catholic Women Organisation, CWO, disclosed that the idea behind the fusion of funfair was to add fun to the Catholic faith which was already losing out on young adults because of growing preference for enlivened worship places.
Endorsing the introduction of sporting activities into the harvest, resident priest, Fr. Mike Etegene, said that it would let people understand they could serve God and still live a healthy and happy life.