By Mike Abba
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah and the leadership of the Order of Catholic Knights of St. Mulumba of Nigeria, have expressed concern over the rapid decline in family values and the extended effect on the stability of marriages and the society at large.
They also want urgent action against trends of social violence that thrive in the guise of “modernisation”, which they said result in human rights abuses and create disharmony among Christian homes.
These concerns were expressed at the 38th Supreme Council Convention of the Knights of St Mulumba, held at St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja, Lagos over the weekend.
The event, with the theme, “Family values, human rights and the challenges of modernisation in Nigeria” was attended by delegates from 240 sub-councils in the nine Metropolitan Councils of the Order across Nigeria.
Bishop Kukah who delivered the key note address titled, “The Catholic family and the crisis of modernity: Some thoughts on the future of Catholicism in Nigeria”, said the Catholic Church was threatened by the rapid influence of modernisation embraced by its members, warning that the trend portends threat to the stability of the Church, Christian homes and the society at large.
Bishop Kukah, who anchored his speech on Ecclesiastes Chapter 1:1-6, noted that the crisis in today society stemmed from the failure by most people in understanding that life and all about it is vanity.
“If we accept this proposition, namely that life itself can be summarised as vanity, then the issue is to identify the coping mechanisms designed by any given generation to live out its challenges. It would mean that a society’s ability to survive the waves of change would be determined by what mechanisms or moral anchor it has designed to cope with the times”, he said.
He drew attention to the concept of Catholic Marriage which he said derived its relevance from the distinctions known in the Catholic Church as the “properties of marriage”, including Unity and Indissolubility.
He said, “Marriage as a universal institution, has always been part of human existence, and has always been subjected to the strains of human civilisation. In many societies, the rules and regulations on marriage are relaxed and subjected to time tested cultural norms and experiences.
“Whether in Polygamy or Polyandry, marriage happened between male and female for the purpose of procreation. Since most societies have tended to be patriarchal, male superiority was too often taken for granted and divorce was at the instance of the man with conditions for it varying from the severe to the most frivolous.”
Addressing key challenges before today Catholic marriage, the Clergyman drew attention to the dangerous inroad of modernisation through the acceptance accorded to Biblically unacceptable practices such as divorce, same-sex marriage and immoral acts like pre-marriage sex and extra-marital acts.
Earlier, the Acting Supreme Knight of the Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba Nigeria, Sir Diamond Ovueraye, had told Journalists at the pre-Convention media briefing that the group had played supportive roles in restoring the decline in family values through evangelism, educational support and lectures.
Dignitaries that graced the occasion include the Ecclesiastical Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Adewale Martins and Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese, Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo. Lagos governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, was represented by a senior official of the state government, Mrs Grace Ituesele.