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Nigerian Catholics reject Pope’s approval

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By Abraham Adekunle

As Pope Francis approves blessing for same-sex couples, followers react.

In a somewhat shocking move, Pope Francis has formally sanctioned the blessing of same-sex couples, marking a significant departure from traditional Catholic doctrine. The Vatican’s official statement, seen by some as a pivotal step towards inclusivity, comes with the caveat of maintaining the church’s steadfast opposition to gay marriage. This pronouncement, however, has not been universally embraced, especially in regions like Nigeria, where same-sex marriage has been criminalized for the past decade. The Catholic Bishops’ association in Nigeria asserts that the Pope’s declaration does not contradict the church’s teachings on marriage, emphasizing its sanctity as an “exclusive union” between a man and a woman.

Of course, the Pope’s message has sparked a range of reactions among the Catholic faithful in Africa, with many expressing confusion and some outright opposition, highlighting the deeply ingrained cultural and religious beliefs in the region. In Lagos, Nigerian bustling metropolis, reactions to the Pope’s message have been mixed. Esezobor Divine-Favour, a resident, staunchly defended traditional views on marriage, stating, “God did not make a mistake by creating Adam and Eve.” He added, “The main purpose of creation was for procreation, to multiply. If we do same-sex marriage, how would that come to pass?”

Laws in Nigeria not affected by the declaration.

This sentiment echoes the conservative stance prevalent in some quarters of the Catholic Church in Nigeria. The complexities of the issue are further illuminated by the diverse perspectives within the Catholic community. While many view the Pope’s declaration as contrary to their beliefs, a minority within the church adopts a more liberal stance, aligning with the Pope’s push for inclusivity. The announcement has also ignited conversations about the legal implications of the Pope’s endorsement within the Nigerian context.

Human rights barrister Liborous Oshoma clarified that the Pope’s declaration does not alter Nigerian law, which explicitly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. “The law in Nigeria today is that marriage under the act, whether it is conducted or contracted in church or in a registry, is between a man and a woman,” Liborous emphasized. This development follows the Vatican’s 2021 decree explicitly stating that the Catholic Church would not bless gay marriages, citing that God “cannot bless sin.”

Fundamental Vatican beliefs still rest on union between men and women.

Despite the acknowledgment that gay individuals deserve dignity and respect, the Vatican maintains its stance that same-sex relations are “intrinsically disordered.” The heart of Catholic teaching on marriage, according to the Vatican, rests on the belief that it is a lifelong union between a man and a woman, a divine plan intended for the creation of new life. This age-old doctrine, deeply rooted in Catholic tradition, clashes with the evolving societal attitudes towards LGBTQ2+ rights. The Pope’s approval of same-sex blessings is part of a broader effort to navigate the delicate balance between upholding religious doctrine and responding to the evolving social landscape.

It signifies a nuanced approach that aims to promote inclusivity while maintaining the core tenets of Catholic teachings. As the news reverberates through the Catholic community in Nigeria, it raises questions about the intersection of religious beliefs, cultural norms, and evolving global perspectives on LGBTQ2+ rights. The Pope’s endorsement has become a focal point for dialogue and introspection within the Nigerian Catholic Church, prompting a diverse range of reactions that mirror the broader spectrum of opinions on this issue worldwide.

Effects of this decision is still being anticipated in Nigeria.

While the Pope’s decision is a watershed moment in the history of the Catholic Church, its implications in Nigeria underscore the challenges of reconciling deeply ingrained cultural values with the evolving landscape of global discourse on human rights and inclusivity. As the Catholic faithful grapple with this paradigm shift, it remains to be seen how this will shape the future trajectory of the Church in Nigeria and its role in the ongoing discourse on LGBTQ2+ rights within the broader global context.


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AN-Toni
Editor
2 months ago

Nigerian Catholics reject Pope’s approval.As Pope Francis approves blessing for same-sex couples, followers react. – Express your point of view.

SarahDiv
Member
2 months ago

Many in Nigeria would likely point to specific biblical passages that are traditionally interpreted as speaking against same-sex relationships. The tension lies in balancing religious teachings with evolving societal attitudes, and individuals may find it challenging to align the Pope’s approval with their understanding of scriptural principles. This development emphasizes the ongoing discourse within faith communities about interpreting and applying religious teachings in the context of contemporary issues like LGBTQ2+ rights.

Adeoye Adegoke
Member
2 months ago

It’s important to remember that people may have varying views on certain topics, including within religious communities. The recent approval by Pope Francis for the blessing of same-sex couples has sparked a range of reactions among Catholics around the world.
While some Catholics may embrace and support this decision, others may feel conflicted or disagree with it based on their interpretation of religious teachings. It’s essential to foster open dialogue and respect diverse viewpoints, even when there are differences of opinion.
Ultimately, it is up to individuals and their faith communities to navigate these discussions and find a balance between tradition, personal beliefs, and societal changes. It’s important to approach these conversations with empathy, understanding, and a willingness to listen to one another.
It’s worth noting that the Catholic Church, like any religious institution, is a complex and diverse community with different perspectives and interpretations of doctrine. As we navigate these discussions, let’s strive to promote inclusivity, respect, and compassion for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or identity.

Taiwo
Member
2 months ago

The Pope’s blessing is rejected by Catholics in Nigeria. Welcoming the participants in a gay marriage is not in line with the teachings of God, as Pope Francis grants approval for same-sex marriages, prompting anger from his faithful. I support the Nigerian diocese’s decision to reject the pope’s statement because of this.The conversation within religious communities about how to understand and apply religious teachings in light of modern challenges like LGBTQ2+ rights is highlighted by this development.

Kazeem1
Member
2 months ago

The Pope’s approval of same-sex blessings presents a theological difficulty, to be sure, especially for a devout Christian in Nigeria. Finding a balance between tradition, personal views, and societal change is a challenge that many believers, guided by the Scriptures, may find difficult to accept. It is up to people and their faith groups to negotiate these conversations.