The Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, has asked the Nigerian media and other individuals to stop misinterpreting its stance regarding same sex marriage in the country.
The bishops maintained their earlier position that gays and lesbians do not deserve severe punishment or jail term.
In an article titled, “Still on Same-Sex Union and the Stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria”, by the group’s director of social communication, Chris Anyanwu, the CBCN accused journalists of twisting the position of the bishops.
“There is certainly an obsession by some journalists about ‘severe punishment of gays or lesbians’ and they try to twist the Bishops’ statements to articulate their views.
“Nigerian Catholic bishops are very responsible pastors who do not seek the punishment or jailing of persons who err, but to help them unto salvation,” Mr. Anyanwu, a reverend father, said.
He said the tone of some news stories attributed to the president of the CBCN, Ignatius Kaigama, were far from those intended to achieve the aim of his original message.
“In wrongly reading the letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in January 2015 to President Goodluck Jonathan, some international organizations mischievously reduced the CBCN position to advocating severe punishment of gays or lesbians with long prison terms,” wrote Mr. Anyanwu.
He noted in the article that in writing a letter to the former president, CBCN was far from advocating jail terms for homosexuals.
“What the CBCN supported, blessed and commended in their letter of 21st January, 2015 to former President Goodluck Jonathan was because the Nigerian government upheld the dignity and sanctity of marriage even in the face of all sorts of pressure.
“When therefore the federal government resisted the attempt to impose this culture on Nigerians by legislating against “same-sex union”, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria felt a sense of great relief and issued a statement to affirm government’s decision,” he noted.
The reverend father however expressed worries that a reporter once misrepresented the comments of Mr. Kaigama to mean persons promoting homosexual acts were ‘shameful’ and ‘barbaric’.
“[The] Archbishop Kaigama we know is a careful and pastorally-minded prelate who would not have used such words as: “shameful”, “barbaric”, “madness”, etc. to refer to anyone.
“Our stand was and is ‘no to same sex union’ and ‘no to spreading of the homosexual culture’ which can only complicate our struggle to uphold traditional/ religious/moral values in our country,” he said.
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