The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has said that the stand of the church against same sex marriage is unwavering.
He, however, said that what the church had said was that while it would not excommunicate the gay community, the church would assist them with prayers and counselling to overcome their abnormal behaviour.
Kaigama, who spoke in Jos while briefing newsmen on Sunday on the outcome of the 3rd Extra Ordinary Synod of the Family of the Catholic Church held in Rome recently, said that the outcome of the synod had been given varied interpretation, especially its position on same-sex marriage.
According to him, the Church does not condone and has not endorsed same-sex marriage, but considered marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of raising a family to reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ on the importance of the family as a domestic church.
He said, “The concern of the Synod is the biblical teaching on marriage and family and this is theme of the Synod. The Book of Genesis shows that the man and the woman are created in the image and likeness of God. In receiving and accepting each other, the man and the woman recognise that they are made for each other. Through procreation, they collaborated with God in accepting and transmitting life. By the grace of God, a man and a woman are united in marriage and are to be faithful to, and love each other forever.”
Kaigama, who is also the archbishop of Jos, said the Synod emphasised marriage as sacred and indissoluble and as such could not condone anything outside this divine order of God.
He, however, added that what had been misconstrued as the church’s endorsement of homosexuality was the emphasis on the fact that those with such tendencies were human beings created by the same God and instead of treating them as second hand citizens, they needed to be helped spiritually to overcome such tendencies.
He said that the synod, which was attended by more than 250 participants comprising of cardinals and bishops (Synod Fathers) from five continents with the presence of Pope Francis, was a period of prayerful reflection and dialogue that considered many positive aspects of marriage and the desire to foster family values, preparation for marriage, openness to life in marriage, enduring the challenges of marriage with strong faith, love and determination.
Kaigama said, “The Synod did not endorse gay marriage, but emphasised the indissolubility of marriage as a union between a man and a woman according to the scripture and the church teachings, using the Holy Family of Nazareth as a model for all families.”
He added that many families gave wonderful testimonies during the Synod of how their unions had endured the test of time.
He advised the people not to misconstrue the intentions and positions of the Catholic Church on such sensitive issue as it would not condone anything outside the teachings of Jesus Christ.