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Nigerian Catholic Archbishop Calls for End to Forceful Christianization, Islamization

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama administering the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Patrick’s Karshi Parish of Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja/Facebook

The Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria has urged the people of God belonging to various religions in the West African nation to avoid unhealthy competition that he says could result in forceful Islamization and Christianization in the country.

In his Sunday, May 30 homily at St. Patrick’s Karshi Parish of Abuja Archdiocese, which is situated on the border with Lafia Diocese, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama urged the people to acknowledge their common origin and to appreciate their religious diversity.

“Some of us believe that there is a separate God for the Christians and a different God for Muslims, and a different one for Buddhists, another for Hindus, and so on. Looking however at the perfect harmony, the arrangement of times and seasons, the creation of the over 7 billion human beings on earth with unique but similar features point to the reality that there is one who stirs the affairs of the universe but remains unmoved; one who changes things but remains unchanged,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He warned that the situation where people think a different God made the Muslims and another one made the Christians leads them to be “inevitably” less charitable towards one another.

The situation, the Nigerian Archbishop explained, leads to unhealthy competition, superiority complex and aggression.

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“Rather than acknowledging our common Abrahamic faith origin as the springboard for our spiritual and social actions, we engage in the futile struggle to Christianize or Islamize Nigeria, severely hurt one another in dehumanizing treatments and even prepared to kill, maim and destroy in the name of God, instead of being bound together as individuals for a peaceful and prosperous nation,” Archbishop Kaigama said May 30, the feast of Holy Trinity Sunday.

He urged the people of God in the country to learn how to overcome historical differences and prejudices, condescending ethnic and religious attitudes and divisive behavior, which he said are barriers to national growth.

“We must build a better Nigeria, recognizing that we have one God and Father of us all,” the Nigerian Archbishop said.

He added, “The similarities of the physical features of all human beings and the uniformity of the functions of our body parts, buttress the fact that there is one God who created all, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Traditionalist, rich, poor, white, black, man or woman.”

If different gods made human beings, “some human beings would have features of elephants or hyenas,” Archbishop Kaigama went on to say.

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“God the perfect artist allowed human beings to have accidental differences, which is why some are white, black, short, tall, fat or thin,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja said, and explained, “This does not distract from our common humanity, despite our socio-cultural backgrounds or religious or political affiliations. Our diversity should not contradict our humanity.”

The Archbishop highlighted St. Thomas Aquinas’ five ways to prove the existence of God and the people’s common origin, saying, the first names God as “The Unmoved Mover” who unmoved himself of the celestial bodies, night and day as well as the changing of seasons.

God is also “The Uncaused Cause,” meaning that God is the cause of all, “The Necessary Being” explaining God’s plan that human beings should exist on earth only for a time, and “The Absolute Being,” meaning that God is the yardstick for the measurement of all things including beauty, intelligence and truth.

“We are only a reflection of God who contains the greatest perfection,” Archbishop Kaigama explained in reference to St. Thomas Aquinas’ description of God.

Finally, St. Thomas Aquinas talks about God as “The Grand Designer,” in the way he designs the orderly movement of different planetary bodies as well as times and seasons.

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“If we realize and accept that the entire universe is under the government and sovereignty of one God, we will always seek to cooperate with one another… complementing the efforts of one another,” Archbishop Kaigama said, highlighting what he termed as a necessary cooperation between states and the federal government, traditional rulers and political leaders, among other entities in the West African country.

The result of this cooperation will be progress and “a love that binds us in an unconditional and unbreakable bond,” the Nigerian Archbishop who has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 said.

Meanwhile, focusing on the feast of the Holy Trinity, Archbishop Kaigama explained that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Trinity is “the central mystery of Christian faith and life”.

The Holy Trinity is a mystery because “it is a truth that we cannot fully comprehend or explain because we are limited by nature,” he said, explain that it is a mystery that can best be appreciated only with the “mind of faith.”