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Pope concerned over growing threat of “conflictual nationalism”, nuclear war

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Pope Francis addressed some 50 members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who are discussing the theme, “Nation, State, Nation-State”, during their plenary assembly, May 1-3.

By Robin Gomes

Pope Francis on Thursday expressed concern over the re-emergence of aggressive feelings against foreigners, especially immigrants, as well as a growing nationalism that neglects the common good, saying such trends compromise international cooperation, mutual respect and the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.  

Speaking to some 50 members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Holy Father also expressed fears over the growing threat of nuclear confrontation that risks cancelling the progress of the recent past and multiplies the risk of war.

The Pope spoke to the Pontifical Academy in the light of its May 1-3 plenary assembly on “Nation, State, Nation-State”, in the backdrop of a growing trend in exclusivist nationalism.

Migration and conflictual nationalism

The Pope pointed out that the Church has always urged the love of one’s own people and country while respecting the various cultures, customs and habits of other peoples.  At the same time it has warned against deviations in this attachment that result in excluding and hating others when it becomes “conflictual nationalism that raises walls, even racism or anti-Semitism.”

He noted that, too often, states are subservient to the interests of a dominant group, mostly for reasons of economic profit, which oppresses the ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities who are in their territory.

On the contrary, the Pope pointed out, “the way in which a nation welcomes migrants reveals its vision of human dignity and its relationship with humanity.”

He urged that a person or a family, forced to leave their own land, be welcomed with humanity.  In this regard he repeated his 4-verb formula of how to receive a migrant, namely: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.  

While stressing that the migrant is not a threat to the culture, customs and values of the host nation, the migrant also has a duty to integrate into the receiving nation, enriching the host while maintaining his identity.

Pope Francis pointed out that migration is a permanent feature of human history, and all nations are the result of the integration of successive waves of people or groups of migrants, who while being images of the diversity of humanity, are united by common values, cultural resources and healthy customs.

“A state that arouses the nationalistic feelings of its own people against other nations or groups of people would fail in its mission,” he warned, adding history proves where such deviations lead to.

Multilateralism

Speaking about the nation-state, the Pope said it cannot be regarded as absolute and an island in relation to its surroundings and on its own; it cannot provide its people with the common good and meet the great contemporary challenges of climate change, new slavery and peace.

The cooperative vision among nations, the Pope said, requires the relaunching of multilateralism, which is opposed to new nationalistic impulses and hegemonic policy.

“Humanity would thus avoid the threat of recourse to armed conflicts whenever a dispute arises between nation-states, as well as evading the danger of economic and ideological colonization of the superpowers, avoiding the overwhelming of the strongest over the weakest, paying attention to the global dimension without losing sight of the local, national and regional dimensions.”

As opposed to a globalization that levels differences and suffocates localization and leads to the re-emergence of nationalism and hegemonic imperialism, the Pope called for a “multifaceted” form of globalization based on mutual recognition between the collective identity of each people, nation and globalization itself, which leads to a general state of peace and harmony.

The multilateral bodies, the Pope said, have been created in the hope of being able to replace the logic of revenge, domination, oppression and conflict with that of dialogue, mediation, compromise, harmony and the awareness of belonging to the same humanity in the common home.

On the other hand, the growing hegemony of powers and interest groups that impose their own visions and ideas, as well as new forms of ideological colonization, often disregarding the identity, customs and habits, dignity and sensitivity of the peoples concerned. The emergence of such tendencies is weakening the multilateral system, with the result of a lack of credibility in international politics and a progressive marginalization of the most vulnerable members of the family of nations.

Nuclear threat

Pope Francis lamented that today the season of multilateral nuclear disarmament seems outdated and no longer stirs the political conscience of nations that possess atomic weapons. On the contrary, he said, a new season of worrying nuclear confrontation seems to be opening, because it cancels the progress of the recent past and multiplies the risk of war.  If the offensive and defensive nuclear arms will now be placed on earth and space, the Pope warned, the so-called new technical frontier will have raised and not lowered the danger of a nuclear holocaust.

The Pope concluded urging the members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to help him spread the awareness of a renewed international solidarity with respect for human dignity, the common good, respect for the planet and the supreme good of peace.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship

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Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship

The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, has urged the clergy, religious and lay faithful to be trustworthy, transparent, selfless and generous stewards in the discharge of their duties in the Church, following the way of Jesus.

Archbishop Filipazzi made the call during the opening ceremony of the maiden General Assembly of the Abuja Archdiocese, which was held on at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Friday September 4.

The General Assembly, with the theme “Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja: Together in Evangelization,” saw Bishops, priests, religious men and women, and the laity gathered together to discuss means of strengthening the faith of God’s people amid the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

Addressing participants, Archbishop Filipazzi said that “an administrator is neither a master nor a slave who cannot decide anything, but one who is given a responsibility by the Master.” In this light, the faithful are called to be “true administrators of divine mystery” entrusted to them by Our Lord, according to their varying roles in the Church.

The Apostolic Nuncio also said “differences must not lead to division,” as everyone, though different, must strive for unity since there is no room for divisions in the body of Christ.

Archbishop Filipazzi, speaking on the upsurge in violence in northern Nigeria in a Vatican News interview on 29 August, had also called for shunning divisions along religious and ethnic lines.

Rather, he appealed for “general respect of the law and general intervention of the government” in the violent attacks which have claimed many lives and caused massive material damage.

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Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St Joseph’s Hall of Faith”

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Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St. Joseph's Hall of Faith”

The Catholic Men Organization, CMO, Maria Assumpta Cathedral Parish Owerri, joined their counterparts in the Archdiocese to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, August 30.

The celebration earlier scheduled for May 10 this year was differed because of Covid-19 pandemic.

The occasion began with a Pontifical Mass presided over by His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri cum Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish.

In his homily, Archbishop Obinna called on Christians to live a life of witnessing to Christ at all times. He said that the zeal to preach the word of God is like a fire that burns inside the heart of a Christian and will not abate until one bears witness to Christ. This, he said, must be done in the course of our daily lives, in our places of work, in our families, among our friends, through living life that is Christ-like.

He congratulated the Christian fathers on the occasion and appealed for support to enable them complete their building project in no distant time. His Grace also appreciated the performance of the CMO choir during the Mass.

The theme for the parish celebration is: “Catholic Men As Spiritual Heads of the Domestic Church: Implications in the Family.”

The parish CMO used the celebration to raise fund for the roofing of their building project named: “St. Joseph’s Hall of Faith.”

In his brief remark at the occasion, the Parish CMO President, Arc. Anthony Emeka Ozoude said, “We have been able to complete the block work,” adding that, “the task before us now is to put a roof on the building.”

He therefore made a passionate appeal for generous donations from members and well wishers, assuring donors that every kobo donated will be prudently applied for the purpose.

Arc. Ozoude recalled that early this year, the parish CMO executive identified a three-prong programme of focus, namely: Membership revalidation, Debt recovery and Fund raising for the roofing.

He advised members not to sit on the fence anymore as there is so much to gain spiritually, morally and even intellectually from participating in the CMO activities both at the parish, stations and prayer groups levels.

“The committed members who attend our programmes regularly have discovered this and have remained resolute in their participation,” he said.

Activities marking this year’s celebration included Retreat, visit to ailing members in their homes, thanksgiving Mass blessing of the mini altars for the 5 prayer groups of CMO etc.

Arc. Ozoude thanked in a special way, Archbishop Obinna, the Cathedral Administrator and priests working in the Cathedral for their support. He also commended the various stations and prayer groups for their cooperation.

The CMO president acknowledged the good work and sacrifice of the Planning Committee, headed by Dr. Uche Ukozor and thanked them for a job well done.

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