The Church and Society Department is the arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) which co-ordinates the work of the Catholic Church in Nigeria as it relates to human society in general. Specifically, it promotes social development, human dignity, democracy, justice, equity, reconciliation and peace.
Within the Department there are four units, namely:
- The Family and Human Life
- The Justice, Development and Peace/Caritas (JDP/Caritas Nigeria)
The JDP/Caritas Nigeria co-ordinates and facilitates on the National level. Through all its structures, it ensures the involvement of the Nigerian Church in the promotion of a peaceful, democratic and integrally developed society where human rights and dignity are upheld and respected. The unit carries out its activities based on the social teachings of the Church, which are deeply rooted in the Gospel (Lk 6:18-19). It is the largest humanitarian outfit that is established at the grass root level in all the Catholic parishes in Nigeria and the Local Government Areas of the country. It also coordinates the Church's efforts in agricultural and rural development. The unit organizes seminars and training workshops with a view to building the capacity of all church functionaries at various levels in Socio-Economic analysis, Environmental Issues, Good Governance, Political Awareness, Civic Education, Preparedness, Emergency and Response techniques, Peace Building and Penal Reforms with the aim of building a strong and virile civil society.
JDP/Caritas Nigeria pilots the Church's efforts in relief services especially in emergency situations. It sources for funds and organizes the distribution of relief materials as the need may arise. In recent times JDP/Caritas Nigeria has substantially assisted in providing support to both Church and humanitarian workers at both local and international levels. The unit networks and partners with other related agencies of like minds as well as with funders.
The Health unit co-ordinates and facilitates the activities of the various parishes, dioceses and religious Congregations in hospitals, mobile clinics, AIDS prevention and Care, etc. The unit also has the task of drawing up the Health Policy for the Catholic Church in the country and the National Health Insurance Scheme for Catholics in Nigeria.
The Family and Human Life unit co-ordinates and facilitates the work of all the individuals and groups within the Catholic Church in the protection, defense and promotion of human life from conception to natural death and in the promotion of family values. In this task, the unit is in regular touch with local and international agencies equally committed to the values of life.
The Education unit co-ordinates and facilitates the work of the various dioceses and Congregations in formal and informal education, including the management and administration of mission-owned schools and vocational centres and also undertakes advocacy roles on behalf of the Church with the Federal and State Governments, and such agencies as the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Nigerian Universities' Commission (NUC).