The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria says the Catholic Church’s position on sexual ethics and the defense of life cannot be compromised to placate Western governments, and said critics of Catholic moral teaching are prejudiced and ignorant.
“The Catholic Church has been criticized over her stance on such issues as abortion, condoms, homosexuality, cloning, stem cell research, etc.,” Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos told a recent meeting of Catholic doctors, nurses and health workers, according to a report by the Catholic News Service of Nigeria.
“The Catholic Church is often judged by people who do not care to know what we really believe. Prejudices inherited from one generation to another have blinded critics of the Catholic Church so much that they cannot be objective about Catholic beliefs and traditions,” the archbishop said in his opening remarks at a seminar titled “The practice of health care and the social teachings of the Catholic Church.”
He urged health care providers to resist the influence of Western governments and international organizations who want to force their debased moral and cultural values on the continent of Africa and especially Nigeria.
“We must not be swallowed up by the tyrannical imposition of some governments or international non-governmental organizations who wish to dictate the moral trend of the world based on their secular values,” the archbishop said.
“In Africa, whether it is about population control, use of condoms, homosexuality, etc sometimes, the views of the West are forced down the throats of Africans through financial inducement. Africans must not be copy cats, believing that whatever comes from the West is ideal,” he warned.
The archbishop stressed that Nigerians and all Africans must look at the impact of Western coercion with “cultural or intellectual discernment … or else we run the risk of losing our values and becoming neither Africans nor Westerners.”
“We must be faithful to our religious heritage even at a time when some of the people who introduced Christianity to us have become its ardent critics and some of them nurture a pathological hatred for Church directives or moral judgments,” he pointed out.
While reminding Catholic doctors, nurses and other health workers that their work is not only a career but a vocation, Archbishop Kaigama urged them to delve deeply into the social teachings of the Church to enable them to render their services “according to sound moral and ethical principles.”
He also used the occasion to praise Catholic doctors who have stood in defense of life in conformity with the teaching of the Church. “They do not trade their faith for anything, no matter the economic inducements or physical threats,” the archbishop said.