The Methodist Bishop of Ikeja who was elected the chairman of CAN on 14 December 2020 said that justice as a condition of peace remains insufficient without love.
“There can be the temptation to remain solely at the level of justice, making an absolute demand for rights to be recognized and fulfilled. In the process there may be an infringement of the rights of others. So, justice has to be tempered by love,” he said.
The church leader who gave his address at a one-day workshop held February 7 at the Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim & Seraphim (ESOCs) said that love “functions as a cement for or as mortar between the bricks of individual and collective rights.”
He further made reference to St. Pope John Paul II message to Philippine Muslims in which the Pontiff said that there is need for human beings to see each other as brothers and sisters irrespective of color and creed because of sharing the same human family that traces back to God.
“The first of these takes the form of solidarity. It is based on the recognition that we all belong to one human family. Because of this we can see our fellow human beings as brothers and sisters, despite differences of color or creed. It was this conviction that led Pope John Paul II to stress fraternity in addressing Muslims,” Rev Adegbite said.
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He made reference to Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions, and stressed the paternity of God and the biblical concept of love to be shared even with other religions including the Jews.
The official of CAN underscored the need for freedom in the existence of peace, saying that it allows people to act responsibly.
The Nigerian Methodist Bishop underlined the need to share the peace process with the population involved in conflicts and explained that a solution that is not as a result of collective contribution, but imposed from above and not accepted willingly, cannot last.
He further made reference to the Encyclical Letter, Pacem in Terris, and stressed the need for respecting freedom of others in so many ways.
“Man has a natural right to be respected. He has a right to his good name. He has a right to freedom in investigating the truth, and… within the limits of the moral order and the common good…to freedom of speech and publication, and to freedom to pursue whatever profession he may choose. He has the right, also, to be accurately informed about public events,” Rev Adegbite said in reference to Pacem in Terris.
He said that the work of the Christian interfaith should be to advocate for the church in areas where the church is being persecuted or where its freedom to spread the Gospel is denied and also to be in solidarity with religious minorities whose fundamental rights are being attacked.
“In divided societies and a divided world where religious difference is often used or perceived as a cause of conflict and destruction, we affirm that working for reconciliation between different faith communities is a responsibility laid upon us by God, and that as Christians we must do this in partnership with members of other faith communities, with secular organizations, and with all people of good will,” Rev. Adegbite said.
He added, “Our vocation to share in God's work of reconciliation requires us to strive to build up open, trusting and honest relationships with our neighbors of other religions, even in situations where this is very difficult. We see such interreligious reconciliation as an integral part of the mission of God in which we share.”