AFRICA/NIGERIA - "Continuous attacks on the Church must not cancel the work of many who work generously for evangelization"
Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The continuous attack on the Catholic Church by some academics and media of the Western world cannot obliterate the good works of the Church in all parts of the world since it was founded by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago." This assertion was made by Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, in his homily at the thanksgiving Mass marking the celebration of the 150 years of presence in Nigeria of the Society of African Missions (SMA).
Archbishop Kaigama also noted that the negative manner in which some analysts and commentators talk about the Catholic Church can tempt even ardent Catholics to hate their Catholicism." But this according to the Archbishop of Jos cannot hide the positive reality embodied by the Catholic Church. "Those who portray the Catholic Church in terms of scandals and hardly focus on the Catholic Church`s over 400,000 priests, over 5,000 Bishops over a million Rev. Sisters and Brothers selflessly doing good work in different parts of the world. Hardly is mention made of the over 250,000 schools, 160,000 health institutions managed by the Church."
With regard to the issue of pedophilia, Mgr. Kaigama stated that ". While the Catholic Church welcomes well intentioned criticisms and believe that the few priests who abuse children or do bad things must be disciplined, it should not be forgotten that child abuse goes on in homes, schools and other religious communities and must also be exposed. Some believe that if we do away with celibacy all sexual problems will be solved, but they forget there are also abuses by married clergy. It should be remembered that Catholic priests were once married; celibacy came in because marriage did not help the priests to render selfless service"
The President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria finally thanked the missionaries of the SMA for their work of evangelization carried out in the country and recalled the missionary work undertaken by the Nigerians themselves: "I am happy that our sons too have become SMA priests and members of other religious Congregations and have gone to foreign lands to contribute to evangelization." (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/03/2013)
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