The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has assured that their churches in the country would not bless same-sex unions.
The bishops said that the blessing of same-sex union is against God’s law, the teachings of the church, and the law of the country.
They made this known in a statement released and signed by the President of the conference, Lucius Ugirji and the Secretary, Donayus Ogun on Wednesday.
The statement reads: “The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria assures the entire People of God that the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage remains the same. There is, therefore, no possibility in the teaching of the Church of blessing same-sex unions and activities.
“That would go against God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation, and the cultural sensibilities of our people.”
The bishops clarified the Pope Francis’s remarks by saying: “The declaration seeks to clarify the different forms of blessing that can be given to persons and objects in the Catholic Church, including the possibility of blessing persons in irregular unions. Such unions include but are not limited to divorced and remarried couples whose previous marriages had not been annulled, those living in same-sex unions, those in polygamous unions, in concubinage, etc.”
“The declaration acknowledges and carefully distinguishes between ritual, liturgical, and informal blessings. While ritual or liturgical blessings are imparted according to the established norms of the Church, informal blessings refer to prayers over people who ask for them outside the liturgy or any formal declaration offers a consideration of the possibility of extending the informal blessing to all Cod’s children, irrespective their moral condition, when they ask to be blessed.
“Nevertheless, the Declaration insists that the blessing of persons in irregular unions- and never the union of itself- can only take a non-liturgical form to avoid confusion. It should not be imparted during or in connection with connection with a civil wedding ceremony or with clothing, words, and signs associated with a wedding.
“The Declaration reiterates the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching on marriage as an “exclusive, stable and indissoluble union of a man and woman, naturally open to the generation of children” and emphatically states that the Church does not have the power to impart a blessing on irregular unions.
“The Declaration also reinforces the truth about God’s mercy. For one to willingly ask for a blessing demonstrates one’s trust in God and the desire to live according to God’s commandments. Asking for God’s blessing is not dependent on how good one is. Imperfection is the reason for seeking God’s grace. Therefore, those in irregular unions are invited never to lose hope but rather to ask for God’s grace and mercy while remaining open to conversion.”