The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama has reemphasized two fundamental facts at creation which made man to be in communion with God, and how the disobedience of our first parents to the command of God, at the prompting of the devil; made humanity to lose this special privilege; and the aftermath of the loss of this special privilege was “the abuse of the freedom of Paradise, thus initiating a sinful community apart from God”.
The assertion was contained in the homily of Archbishop Kaigama delivered at the opening Mass of the first Plenary of the Catholic Bishops’ conference of Nigeria (CBCN); held early this month at the St. Gabriel Chaplaincy Church, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Durumi, Abuja.
Archbishop Kaigama who drew the inference from the Biblical narrative of the creation of our first parents, Adam and Eve by God, identified the two fundamental facts to be: the making of all human beings in the image and likeness of God and the need for all human beings to live in harmonious community, respecting the order and dignity of creation as designed by God.
According to the Metropolitan of the Abuja Ecclesiastical Province: “This disobedience of Adam and Eve not only destroyed their good relationship with God but also wounded their relationship with each other, which explains why there is today in the world so much unbelievable and atrocious demonstration of inhumanity and a terrible deficiency in charity.” He added: “Even the physical environment sadly has been affected because of man’s disobedience to God.”
The Archbishop however expressed joy in the fact that these disastrous consequences of this disobedience of our first parents, which affected all humanity have been redeemed by the coming, death and resurrection of Christ “whose obedience to the will of God brought us grace, life and righteousness”.
Archbishop Kaigama therefore urged all the faithful to use the season of Lent to reflect soberly and examine “our lives and mend them by saying categorical “Yes” to God. He urged the faithful to avoid all temptations, adding: “We must acquire the moral; strength and spiritual capacity to repel the forces of the evil one and his agents through the Word of God”.
Stressing the important role of the Word of God in the strengthening of our faith and redemption of our lives and the Nigerian nation from her present, religious, political and socio-economic challenges, Archbishop Kaigama remarked: “This is no time to play politics of division or to exaggerate fault lines of religion …. Nor pretend that all is well with Nigeria.”
He emphasized: “The multiplicity of pious religious activities in Nigeria and the ubiquity of religious houses are not enough to make Nigeria a paradise. We must work honestly towards a change of mentality, namely, that everyone should be patriotically concerned about our nation and the common good rather than parochial, ethnic, political or religious interests.”
The chairman of the opening ceremony, Sir (Prof) Epiphany Azinge, former Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Judge of the commonwealth Arbitral Tribunal, London; in his address, among other things, called on the Bishops to chart a part towards facilitating poverty alleviation in the country as well as addressing other social challenges through the development of a blueprint that accommodates religious pluralism in a diverse and multi-religious entity.
Messages were delivered at the opening ceremony of the Conference by the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi; the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Supo Ayokunle
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