The Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Augustine Akubeze has described the family as the bastion of every successful nation. The Archbishop, who is the Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Benin, made this assertion in his homily at the opening Mass for the second National Meeting of Families, held in Lagos, recently.
The four-days programme with the theme, “The Nigerian Family: Agent of Mercy and Harmony,” was organised by the Family and Human life unit of the Department of Church and Society at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN). It was held at St Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos and attended by delegates from eight of the nine Ecclesiastical Provinces in the country.
The CBCN Vice-President disclosed that in recognition of the paramount importance of the family in the life of the Church and nation, the Bishops’ Conference dedicated its first plenary of the year 2015 to discuss the family. In his words, “The thrust of our argument was that, once a society can have good families, the nation will grow and develop,” said the Archbishop.
He continued, “If the family is dysfunctional, society and nation will also be dysfunctional,” adding that, “Any country that wants to build its capacity for development must start with the family. The family is the first place where children are taught values. Values such as honesty, hard work, trust in God, love of neighbour and society, ” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Akubeze noted that Nigerian Bishops were greatly disturbed to learn of the involvement of parents in vices such as examination malpractices in collusion with their children. He described this as a tendency to “what is evil and illegal to obtain what you want”. The Archbishop went to state that if corruption were to end in Nigeria, it would have to start with the family.
Archbishop Akubeze also spoke extensively on the last Synod of Bishops on the family and Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family – Amoris Laetitia.