…The Bible is against it – NBC
…It is demonic – primate Udofia
…Marriage is exclusive union of man &woman – CBCN
A line from a pop song said, “The world will judge you, but God knows your heart”. That is the current state of the reaction that greeted Pope Francis declaration of Pastoral blessings on same sex marriage.
While the pastoral blessings for same sex marriage by the Pope may have generated reactions that seems to divide the Church; it is clear however that the Church in Nigeria has taken its stand against any form of pastoral blessings of any form for persons in same sex relationships.
“It’s important to reiterate that the Perilous days are truly here! Paul the Apostle was merely imagining such evil days in his mind then, but the reality is now here,” Tope Ilesanmi, PFN chairman, Ikeja province, told BusinessDay.
According to him, every effort should be made by all well-meaning individuals to fight the current wave of evil in the name of LGBTQ, which is an acronym for Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning.
“The position of the Catholic Pope to bless same sex marriage is most appalling. Only a dehumanized fellow may be indifferent. Therefore, I decree that the LGBTQ agenda shall crumble in Nigeria in Jesus Name. And from Nigeria to other parts of the world.
“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other,” Ilesanmi said.
According to him, God condemns LGBTQ yesterday, today and forever. “That’s what led to the burning of Sodom & Gomorrah. Similar judgment awaits those indulging themselves in this ugly lifestyle,” Ilesanmi said.
He said that nature already explains who is a male or female; who fits into the responsibility of carrying pregnancy for child bearing, among others. According to him, African cultures also condemn such practice of encouraging same sex marriage.
“Finally, let’s hear the voice of all stakeholders in this regard. Let’s not wait till the bill is passed before speaking out. A peaceful protest may be necessary. If each constituency can give stern warning to their legislators to steer clear of this heinous bill- better,” Ilesanmi said in calling for other well-meaning Nigerians to speak up on the issue.
Emmanuel Udofia, the immediate past primate of the African Church, said that going by scriptural teachings, same sex should not be considered by anybody.
“As we have it in Romans 1: same sex is condemned by God. And, again if everybody was to practice same sex marriage, how would the scripture be fulfilled? How would the church be multiplied? So, that thing is satanic, it is demonic; no Christian should indulge in that,” Udofia said.
William Kumuyi, the general superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, while responding to the issue of same sex marriage in the Church, said that the word of God remains unchanged no matter the current situation the world finds itself.
“So, we stand obedient to Christ, and submissive to Christ, and we carry on the words of Christ that says it’s a man and a woman that should be joined together in marriage until death do us part. That is where we have always stood, and that is where we still stand,” Kumuyi said.
Ebenezer Durodola, the Public Relations Officer, Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC), told BusinessDay that the NBC vehemently against anything that has to do with same sex marriage. According to him, Baptists stand with the word of God, and would naturally go against anything that is contrary to the world of God.
“So, Baptist denomination is against same sex marriage and Baptist is against any decision by any organisation to bless same sex marriage. We are not in support, because the Bible made it clear – a marriage is between a man and a woman,” Durodola said.
Speaking further, Durodola said that the NBC is in support of the biblical teachings of procreation. “So, when a man and a man or woman and a woman get involved in marriage, then how will the issue of procreation come to be?
“That is the reason why the Bible says a man will leave his parents and cleave with his own wife. The Bible did not say a man will leave his parents and cleave to another man,” Durodola said.
He also disclosed that there is no Baptist pastor that will bless same sex marriage or will allow same sex marriage in any of the Baptist churches either in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.
Catholic bishops insist marriage is exclusive union of man and woman
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), in clarifying the recent Pastoral meaning of blessings for same sex marriage attributed to the Pope, have insisted that marriage remain an exclusive union between a man and woman.
“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 CBCN in a statement released on Thursday 21 December, 2023, clarified the Pope’s position on the Pastoral blessings should not be imparted during or in connection with a civil wedding ceremony or with clothing, words, and signs associated with a wedding.
In other words, the CBCN stated that while ritual or liturgical blessings are imparted according to the established norms of the Church, informal blessings (like same sex marriage) refer to prayers over people who ask for them outside the liturgy or any formal celebration in the Church.
Accordingly, the bishops posited that the declaration by the Pope offers a consideration of the possibility of extending the informal blessing to all God’s children, irrespective of their moral condition, when they ask to be blessed.
“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,” the bishop stated.