Catholic Bishops in Nigeria Maintain Opposition to Fiducia Supplicans’ Recommendations

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) who are meeting for their First 2024 Plenary Assembly have maintained the stance of the Catholic Bishops in Africa on Fiducia Supplicans (FS), the Vatican Declaration permitting members of the Clergy to bless “same-sex couples”.

In his February 18 welcome address at the opening session of the Plenary Assembly at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) Resource Centre, Durumi Abuja, CBCN President, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, noted that the Church in Africa will not implement FS recommendations, which the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released on December 18 and clarified in the five-page press release on January 4, calling upon each Local Ordinary to “make that discernment” on its implementation.

Archbishop Ugorji said that the stance of the Bishops in Nigeria on FS is in line with the position of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) that was explained in a “consolidated summary” issued on January 11.

“In line with our earlier clarification and the declaration of SECAM, we must continue to teach our faithful that there is no possibility of blessing same-sex couples or same-sex unions in the Church in Africa,” the President of CBCN said, alluding to CBCN December statement.

He added, “Homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity, which are intrinsically disordered and, above all, contrary to natural law.”


“In furtherance of our pastoral and prophetic mission, we must also continue to stress that God loves the sinner unconditionally and calls him to repentance so that he might live,” he said.

FS stresses that pastoral blessings of same-sex couples should not be imparted “in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them. Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.”

According to Archbishop Ugorji, documents from the Holy See should normally foster unity and communion among Catholic Bishops on matters of doctrine, morals and liturgy.

FS, on the other hand, is ambiguous and “tends to hurt the unity and catholicity of the Church”, the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri since his installation in June 2022 said, referring to the mixed reactions and deep division FS has elicited since its release on December 18.

He recalled that at its publication, FS had “quickly aroused mixed reactions of acceptance, skeptical reserve and outright rejection from Episcopal Conferences and individual bishops across the world.”

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“With the media hype that ambushed the text, its publication generated shock, outrage and disbelief among the faithful in our country as elsewhere in Africa and other parts of the world,” Archbishop Ugorji recalled during his 16-point address to Nigeria’s Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, women and men Religious and the Laity on February 18.

He continued, “Many devout Catholics in our communities seriously wonder how a Priest could bless same-sex couples who live permanently in a sinful union without causing confusion and scandal.”

“In the midst of this confusion and pushback, we must, as pastors with the pastoral task of safeguarding the deposit of faith in its purity and integrity, uphold the teaching of the Church based on Holy Scripture and Tradition,” the 72-year-old Nigerian Catholic Archbishop, who started his Episcopal Ministry in July 1990 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Umuahia Diocese said.

According to him, the “New Age” has “the protagonists and sponsors of post-modern secularist ideologies” who he said are using the powerful opinion-shaping instrument of the mass media to spread a permissive culture in the name of freedom and human rights.

In such times, the President of CBCN said, “we should be able to properly discern and differentiate between the “voice of God” and the “voice of the world”.


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.