In Advent Message, Bishops in Liberia Call for Protection of Human Life, Peaceful Election

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL) have, in their collective message ahead of Advent Season beginning November 29, called for the protection of human life and emphasized the need for peace during the December 8 senatorial polls.

In the Thursday, November 26 statement, CABICOL members describe life as “a gift from God which needs to be accepted, appreciated and nurtured.” 

They bemoan what they call a “disregard for this gift of life” witnessed in the West African nation explaining in reference to events of last month (October), “Some of our brothers and sisters lost this gift of life under mysterious and questionable conditions.”

The Bishops also raise their voices against the “alarming rise of ritualistic killings”, which they term “satanic and unacceptable.”

Four officers of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) who were said to be looking into possible misappropriation of funds died in mysterious circumstances on different days between October 8 and 10.

Liberia’s President George Weah has since called on the  US Embassy in the country to help investigate the deaths of the officers

In the November 26 three-page statement, the members of CABICOL also decry the “nefarious movement calling for the termination of this gift of life at one's whim and caprices.”

“The call to willfully legislate abortion which is the termination of unborn children is not in consonance with God's divine plan,” the Catholic Church leaders in Liberia say, adding that if care is not taken, the country may gravitate towards the “extermination” of the elderly members of the society who are deemed to be “too old and not useful to our society.”

As a way forward, CABICOL members call on the people of God in the West African nation to “avoid these dangers and protect life from the moment of conception till its natural terminal end.”

“We invite all of you, our brothers and sisters, to work towards the protection and promotion of life. By this, we are participating in the mission of Jesus, who comes at Christmas that ‘all may have life and have it to the full’ they add, making reference to John 10:10.

In their collective statement, the Bishops also express gratitude to “those who have been promoting and defending the culture of life” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Liberia has recorded 1,578 cases of the novel coronavirus including 83 deaths and 1,340 recoveries. 

“May we all continue to promote this life in all forms and manners,” CABICOL members say. 

The Church leaders go on to advocate for “non-violent, transparent, free and fair elections,” adding, “Our nascent democracy needs to be upheld and protected.”

Looking toward the December 8 poll, they say, “Let the choice of the majority be respected as the old adage says, ‘vox populi, vox Dei’ (the voice of the people is the voice of God).” 

On August 25, CABICOL members raised their “prophetic voices against the rise of political violence, often associated with elections in our country.”

“We did condemn unequivocally such acts and invited all Liberians from different political parties to work together, ensuring that our elections are not synonymous with violence,” they said August 25, making reference to their May 2019 statement.  

In their November 29 ahead of the Advent Season, the members of CABICOL also call on eligible voters in the country to consider it their civic and patriotic duty to take part in the upcoming Senatorial elections. 

“There cannot be voter apathy,” they say, adding, “We all need to take part in the process. By so doing, we are consciously contributing towards our own destiny.”

Further, the Catholic Bishops in Liberia remind elected officers in Liberia that they have “the grave responsibility of contributing towards the gift of life of the people.”

“This they can do by enacting laws that promote an atmosphere in which every person has a dignified life,” CABICOL members say and caution politicians against the distribution of handouts which make “the majority always poor and dependent.”

They make reference to Pope Francis’ latest Encyclical Letter, Fratelli Tutti, saying, “Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work.”

“We, therefore, call on those elected and those to be elected to lead us always thinking about the common good of the people,” say the members of CABICOL. 

On the issue of the Referendum expected to be held simultaneously with the Senatorial election, the Bishops reiterate the call made by the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC) and other civil societies to have the ballot postponed. 

CABICOL members cite “lack of proper civic education, procedural errors and clarity” as some of the reasons that justify their call for a deferment.

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