The Kaduna Catholic Archdiocese has during the celebrated Extra Ordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy introduces new laws. The emphasis on the production of the documents presented by Father Anthoney Okelue according to Very Rev. Fr. Mark Monughan became necessary in order to give every member of the church a sense of belonging. The burning issue of Child and Vulnerable Adult protection Policy highlighted through Sr. Rita Schuarzenberger’s paper the church also considers very paramount.
In an interview with our correspondent Zainab Tanimu The Archbishop of Kaduna Archdiocese, Most Rev. Dr. Mathew Manoso Ndayoso opens up on the benefits of the newly enacted laws to members. He also spoke on the position of the church on the southern Kaduna crisis.
The documents produced during the celebration of the Extra ordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, how could it help promote the activities of the church?
Three very important documents through the office of the Archdiocese Kaduna were presented. The whole idea was to highlight the central message of the Christian faith, ‘Mercy’. In fact another name of God is Mercy. There is no sin God cannot forgive provided the sinner accepts that he is a sinner and repents. The church is both human and divine and very often we tend to emphasize the human aspect to the detriment of the divine. This goes to show very clearly the kind of laws we make which sometime in the process of making them affect the mercy of God. People find it difficult to distinguish between the essence of the gospel and the human laws. This was the reason why the holy father proclaimed the holy year of message to emphasize the fact that God is ‘Mercy’. There, we decided to produce a document that would guide us taking into cognizance the teachings of the church, that of the bible, our liturgical practices and what our doctrines say about issues.
The church is supposed to be an instrument of mercy and not to constitute itself an obstacle to sinners who want to come back to God.
How is the issue of Christian burial addressed?
The area that is so contentious which so many human laws surrounds is the issue of Christian burial. People that have been baptized are denied Christian burial because they have fallen. Very often out of ignorance. The document now clarifies what the canon law of the church says about Christian burial, what the bible says, and what our liturgical practices are. People would no longer do things out of ignorance nor be denied their rights. You now know who is entitled to a Christian burial and who is not.
You are a catholic. Does this law apply to all the Christians?
The laws apply to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Kaduna though some few things may not apply in different dioceses. At least we have given both biblical and theological reasons. For us the Archdiocese of Kaduna it is now a directive because people do things and claim they do not know. Ignorance is always given as an excuse. The document has clarified who is to be given a catholic burial and who is not. When we talk of Catholic burial or Christian burial it does not necessary need a priest to perform the burial. A lay man can go and bury somebody in the name of the church if situation warrants it. Burial in African culture we know is very important. When someone dies, it is between him and his God so nothing that contradicts the teachings of the church should be done to aggravate the difficulties of those who already have lost their dear ones.
What is the reason behind the second document?
The rate at which children are being abused is alarming. Many are not made known. In the last 15, 20yrs, the revelation that has come up with regards to child abuse, be it in relation to sexual, physical, moral has really been a matter of worries to our institution as a church. No institution is speared including the catholic church. A directive has been given by the universal church on the need to protect especially the children and vulnerable persons when they are within the confines of our churches, schools, hospitals and orphanages. The Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, 2yrs ago had a seminar and experts from different parts of the world were invited. A guideline on child and vulnerable adult protection was produced. If there is any place one should feel safe especially our children and the vulnerable, is the house of God. This guideline has clearly spelt out what needs to be done in case of abuse.
The third document concerns our personal plan produced to guide our activities. The new plan contains our vision and mission statements. A kind of a road map. To achieve our vision and mission statements, we have formed different commissions that would proclaim the gospel messages effectively on almost every aspect of human life. Such commissions include that of social communication, youth, social justice, and that which has to do with dignity of women. We worked together as a team to produce this document. Every parish was represented. The priests, the religious h and the lay faithful were all present. We want to put these documents in their hands to implement and make it work so that our work of proclaiming the gospel message of the Archdioceses of Kaduna can be taken to the next level.
The southern Kaduna crisis, how worried is the church?
The church is very worried. We have expressed our sadness. We visited the people, saw their conditions and when we came back we made a statement and suggestions as to how this issue can be addressed. You see, where there is injustice being perpetrated against people on the basis of where they come from, religious or cultural differences, we can never have peace. So, if we want peace, we must address the issue of poverty on the part of the governs and ignorance and on the part of the leaders especially in the North. Today, the North is the most backward in terms of education and what have you due to unnecessary killings and destruction of property. With all these, the educational and developmental gap between the South and the North will continue to widen if urgent step is not taken to address the issue of injustice.
we are very worried about killings in southern Kaduna. We are saying until there is justice, it will be difficult if not impossible to know peace. Elanzanews.M