News

February 23, 2024

Blessing same-sex couples, against Sacrament of Marriage – Nigeria Bishops insist

Catholic Bishops of Nigeria

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), has reiterated the Church’s teaching on marriage and its rejection of the notion of blessing same-sex couples in Nigeria.

In a communiqué issued at the end of their First Plenary Meeting, the CBCN reaffirmed the Sacrament of Marriage as a union between one man and one woman, citing the Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first plenary meeting is with the theme, ‘Synodality and the state of the nation”.

The Bishops rejected the interpretations of the “Fiducia Supplicans” declaration that suggested priests could bless same-sex couples.

They also rejected other irregular unions, such as those of polygamists, divorcees, and remarried individuals, in a way that legitimises such unions.

The Bishops emphasised their loyalty to the teaching of Christ and the Pope, stating that priests in Nigeria are not to bless same-sex couples.

“The CBCN’s stance reflects the Church’s longstanding position on marriage and sexual ethics, emphasising the sanctity of traditional marriage and the rejection of practices contrary to natural law.

“The issue of blessing same-sex couples has generated a lot of controversies. Many Episcopal Conferences have taken their position on this matter.

“We re-affirm the age long teaching of the Church on the Sacrament of Marriage as a union between one man and one-woman,” the communique read

It continued: “We reject the reading of the Declaration that suggests that Priests could bless same-sex couples or other couples in irregular situations.

“We, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria affirm our loyalty to the teaching of Christ and the Holy Father the Pope.

“We reiterate that Priests are not to bless same-sex couples in Nigeria.

“Homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity which are intrinsically disordered and, above all, contrary to natural law”.

Expressing solidarity with Nigerians amid escalating insecurity and economic challenges, the Bishops urged the government to prioritise the protection of lives and properties of its citizens.

They called for unity, social responsibility, even as they affirmed that synodality, a core aspect of the Church’s nature, emphasises collective decision-making and active participation.

They also recommended the creation of State Police and the enhancement of agriculture to improve the economy.

The Bishops also emphasised the importance of repentance and called for a sincere change of heart to address corruption and promote good governance.

They encouraged all Nigerians to work together for the common good and expressed hope for a brighter future, especially during the Lenten season.

“The season of Lent allows us to start afresh with God as individuals, as Church and as a nation.

“This holy season draws our attention to reparation, reconciliation and sanctification. In prayer, we deepen our relationship with God.

“In almsgiving, we demonstrate our concern for the needy and the less privileged,” they said.