The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has released an official statement reaffirming its commitment to fight for traditional marriage in the wake of the US Supreme Court ruling that imposed same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Noting what they call a “recent rise in Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender activism,” the bishops criticize “the Supreme Court decision in the United States of America,” which together with similar legal action elsewhere, such as Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum, “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.”
The bishops reiterate their staunch opposition to “powerful legislative and judicial maneuvers to redefine marriage in order to include ‘same-sex marriage,’” which they describe as “a sad, unjust and lamentable situation based largely upon a distorted perception of natural law, the will of God and human nature.”
The African bishops have been taking an ever more active and visible leadership role in Catholic public relations, especially after last fall’s extraordinary synod on marriage in the Vatican, where they refused to be bullied by progressive elements within the meeting, notably the Germans.
German Cardinal Walter Kasper notoriously dissed the African bishops, who represented a conservative block in the synod, complaining that they shouldn’t be telling the other bishops what to do. When South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier later saw Kasper referred to as “the Pope’s theologian,” he reacted with a flurry of tweets, saying that the title was incorrect and inappropriate, especially since “Cardinal Kasper isn’t very respectful towards the African Church & its Leaders.”
The African bishops have already met together with a group of European bishops to consolidate their united front in the upcoming Vatican synod in October, which will finish the work begun last fall.
In Wednesday’s statement, the bishops reaffirm the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage as “the sacred union of one man and one woman” that forms the core of the family, “which is the bedrock and foundational cell of our civilization.” They also promise to “shun all pressures and protect all Nigerians from the growing but dangerous influence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender propaganda.”
In the face of “the persistent and continuous propagation and globalization of the homosexual lifestyle and the effort to redefine marriage,” which comes “especially from the Western world,” the bishops “call on our leaders to be circumspect.”
“Accepting this Western trend by officially endorsing homosexual unions or ‘same-sex marriage’ will be devastating and detrimental to our nation of Nigeria, as it will lead to the inevitable deconstruction of the family and the society at large, with other serious but negative implications,” they warn.
They also appeal to professionals in the area of media, music, entertainment, teaching, medicine, marketing, and business “to become faithful gatekeepers” by protecting the public from the infiltration of LGBT propaganda.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome