Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, president of the Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, spoke with LifeSiteNews in Rome about the message he plans to bring to the Synod on the Family.
Archbishop Kaigama said he thanked God that Pope Francis had called this synod specifically on the family so that Nigerian views on the dignity of human life, the sacredness and sanctity of marriage, and the “vital importance of the family in evangelization and in fact in the affairs of the world,” could be expressed.
“Take away the family, take away the proper understanding of marriage, and society will collapse,” he said.
“So we are here to articulate our views, as Africans and supported by Sacred Scripture, that marriage is sacred, that the family is the vital place where children should grow to know God, to love God. Where there should be a bond of love and unity among the parents, the children, and neighbors. This is our position.”
Commenting on pressure from western nations to change their values regarding homosexuality, Archbishop Kaigama said, “Our African values are God-given, and, where they do not contradict the Gospel values, we uphold them – that is the essence of inculturation.”
“We are going to uphold those things that are dear to us. For instance that life is sacred. Nobody should take life, whether in the womb or out of the womb.
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“And that marriage is between a man and a woman. Even outside of scriptural support, out culture tells us that, nature tells us that. Then, the Bible says clearly that man and woman should marry, and by the grace of God bear children, bring them up, educate them in the fear of the Lord and in the service of society.
“These are our cultures, and we're not going to compromise over them. … We are going to humbly and respectfully share how we feel about life, …about children, …about marriage, and about family.”
Archbishop Kaigama also expressed his deep concern about the terror being spread in his country by the Islamist fundamentalists Boko Haram, describing them as originally looking to improve society, but then turning to destruction of life and property, kidnapping, and forced conversion to Islam.
“They are no longer fighting for social change, they are destroying what God has brought to us as a gift – life and dignity of life. Life is sacred, life belongs to God, and only God has the right to take life,” Archbishop Kaigama concluded.