The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama, has said the increasing cases of rape in the country have taken a frightening dimension.
This was even as the immediate past Catholic Archbishop of Jos charged Christians and Nigerians in general not to be afraid to speak out and act against ungodly behaviours, injustice, corruption, politics without morality, and bad governance in the country.
Delivering the homily of the Mass of the 12th Sunday in the Ordinary Time at the Saint Charles Lwanga Parish, Apo, Abuja, yesterday, Kaigama said the Scriptural readings at the Mass introduced Christians to two realities they had to live and struggle with which were the existence of sin and the destructive effects of sin in the world.
Kaigama added that sin wounded the heart, mind and soul and it poisoned and destabilized relationship with God and fellow human beings.
Kaigama also said sin crippled the spiritual growth and breeds the social maladies witnessed today such as wars, ethnic, political, religious and domestic violence and immorality in all ramifications, even as he said sin left humans with a broken world and hardened hearts.
“The increasing cases of the heinous crime of rape are frightening. A tender three-month old baby was said to have been raped last month! The Inspector General of Police disclosed recently that the police arrested 799 rape suspects between January and May this year! The rape culture is as repulsive and reprehensible as it is dehumanizing.
“Rape inflicts life-long untold psychological trauma on the victims. Rape is not only a grievously sinful act, but also a very barbaric and criminal act. The case of the student of the University of Benin, Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, who on the 27th of May, 2020, was reportedly raped and murdered by unknown persons, as well as other cases of rape and gang rape, is a symptom of an ungodly and dysfunctional society,” Kaigama said.
Kaigama recalled President Muhammadu Buhari’s Democracy Day speech where he expressed displeasure over the recent rape and violence against women in the country, especially of very young girls.
He further recalled that Pope Francis was very concerned about child abuse worldwide when on May 7, 2019, issued an Apostolic letter, Vos Estis Lux Mundi (You are the Light of the World) in which he acknowledged that “the crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful.”
Kaigama added that the Archdiocese of Abuja also formulated its policy for the safeguarding of minors and vulnerable persons in compliance with the directive of the Supreme Pontiff and inaugurated a committee in this regard.
“While we call for prayers for victims of sexual crimes, we hope that the perpetrators of such heinous crimes will face the full wrath of the law and hopefully, they will be reformed and delivered of the bad spirit that leads them to commit such horrible sexual crimes.
“Due to the righteous act of one Man, Jesus Christ, His suffering and death on the cross, Christians have the capacity and are called to help restore our sick world that has lost the sense of sin. Evil blinds us today such that we call what is bad, good and what is good, bad. We try to put out the light of truth because it exposes corruption, dishonesty, oppression, lust and many evils in the society.
“The remedy to evil is the fear of God not fear of men; to worship and honour God; to always tell the truth and shame the devil and to acknowledge Jesus before others. Those who stand up for Christ in spite of their troubles are the ones who will be rewarded at the end of time when Jesus acknowledges them before His Father.
“Dear fellow worshippers and fellow Nigerians, do not be afraid to speak out and act against ungodly behaviours, injustice, corruption, politics without morality, bad governance, etc. Young Jeremiah gave the prophetic message of doom to his fellow-citizens at a time when Jerusalem was about to fall to the Chaldeans. Although this brought him hostility from the political and religious leaders, including his close friends and he was imprisoned, beaten up and thrown into a muddy cistern, he remained confident that the Lord, his “mighty champion” (cf. Jer 20:11) would vindicate him in the end.
“As Jesus says in the Gospel reading today, even if we face fierce opposition and persecution or the danger of death, we should remain firm in the cause of right. “Do not be afraid” (Matt 10:31),” Kaigama stated.