The head of Nigeria’s bishops has warned against being “swallowed up by the tyrannical imposition” of Western governments and institutions and their secular moral values.
Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Jos told a group of Catholic health workers this week that the Church “must not be swallowed up by the tyrannical imposition of some governments or international non-governmental organizations who wish to dictate the moral trend of the world based on their secular values.”
Archbishop Kaigama, who is also president of the Nigerian bishops’ conference, said criticism of the Church’s positions on issues related to the defense of life and sexual morality derived from prejudice caused by lack of knowledge of Catholic teaching.
“The Catholic Church is often judged by people who do not care to know what we really believe,” he told a workshop of Catholic doctors and nurses and other health workers in Jos, Fides news agency reported Feb. 13. “Prejudices inherited from one generation to another have blinded critics of the Catholic Church so much that they cannot be objective about Catholic beliefs and traditions”.
The workshop participants were meeting to discuss the theme: “The practice of health care and the social teachings of the Catholic Church”.
Archbishop Kaigama added that in Africa, “whether it is about population control, use of condoms, homosexuality et cetera, sometimes the views of the West are forced down the throats of Africans through financial inducement. Africans must not be copy cats, believing that whatever comes from the West is ideal”.
“Without cultural or intellectual discernment,” he added, “we run the risk of losing our values and becoming neither Africans nor Westerners”.
“We must be faithful to our religious heritage even at a time when some of the people who introduced Christianity to us have become its ardent critics and some of them nurture a pathological hatred for Church directives or moral judgments,” he concluded.