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No blessing for same-sex unions, say Catholic bishops

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The Catholic Bishops of the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Lagos Archdiocese, Ijebu Ode, and Abeokuta Dioceses, have said they would not bless same-sex marriage.

The bishops’ position was contained in a Thursday’s communiqué issued after their January 26 plenary meeting in Lagos.

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This position is believed to contravene Pope Francis, who formally permitted Catholic priests to bless same-sex unions, which had been argued to have violated the Catholic Church doctrine.

In the Catholic Church, a blessing is a prayer or plea, usually delivered by a minister, asking God to look favourably at the person(s) being blessed.

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Speaking through the communique, signed by their chairman and secretary, Archbishop of Lagos and Bishop of Ijebu-Ode, Most Rev Alfred Martins, and Most Rev Francis Adesina, respectively, the bishops declared: “No to blessing of same-sex unions.”

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They said they were in “total agreement with the position of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and that of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar concerning the blessing of homosexual unions or same-sex couples.”

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“We affirm that the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage as the union of a man and a woman in a stable and exclusive relationship, open to bearing children, remains the same. We also affirm the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and urge the faithful to be guided by it,” they said.

 

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The Vatican had earlier in 2021 decreed that the Catholic Church would not bless gay marriages because God “cannot bless sin”.

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However, there was a twist in 2023 when Francis hinted that he would be open to having the Catholic Church bless same-sex unions.

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Meanwhile, a cleric based in Jos, Plateau State, Dr Isa El-Buba, has called on President Bola Tinubu to address the current hunger crisis facing Nigerians before the situation gets out of hand and snowballs into an implosion.

El-Buba, who is the Convener of a Better and Brighter Nigeria, made the call in a statement in Jos on Thursday.

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He lamented the high cost of food and other items in the country had continued to rise on a daily basis without anything being done by the government to arrest the trend.

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“Despite the ‘state of emergency on food security’, efforts to curb rising food prices have not yielded results. A foreign exchange rate is rapidly turning the naira into a currency that is not worth the paper on which it is printed.

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“The government should release grains from its strategic reserve depots and ensure the grains get to hungry Nigerians at affordable prices, as it crashes the astronomic costs of grains in the market. Previous releases have not reached the majority of poor Nigerians,” he said.

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