The Catholic Bishop of Auchi, Most Rev. Gabriel Dunia reiterated the position in Abuja at a press conference on maternal mortality organised by the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN).
Mr. Dunia, who is also the Chairman of the Health Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), said that the position of the church was unambiguously against the use of artificial methods. The cleric said that government and other stakeholders should desist from deviating from the main issues and concentrate more on educating Nigerians on adopting natural family planning methods.
He said that the church and other social agents of change should focus attention and resources on behavioural change among members of the society. According to the cleric, Nigerians love children as precious gifts from God, the same way women should be encouraged to bear children whenever they wish to.
“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and the catholic faithful strongly oppose the diversion of attention and resources away from the main causes of maternal mortality to the purchase and distribution of contraceptives. “Rather, we propose adequate investments in the area of education, primary healthcare and the mainstreaming of natural family planning education and services to enable Nigerians realise their fertility or child spacing intentions,’’ he said Mr. Dunia called on government to redirect the sums budgeted for purchase of contraceptives to the educating more Nigerians on the adoption of natural family planning methods.
He said that the church was not in support of overpopulating the country, but that it was in the forefront of promoting responsible parenthood. Mr. Dunia said that promoting the concept of responsible parenthood in the country had no adverse effect on the population and it would better serve the cause of humanity and that of God.
According to the clergyman, it is the belief of the Catholic Church that population health is best realised through openness and respect for the cherished values of the people. In his remark, the Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Anslem Umoren said that the church was in support of a situation where pregnant women would be nurtured till birth.
He said that the church would not in any guise give its support to proponents of artificial birth control methods such as abortion and use of contraceptives. Mr. Umoren called on governments at all levels to channel more funds to educating the masses and to provide quality health facilities in the rural areas to help check the increase in maternal mortality. He said that the church had never believed in the use of artificial means of birth control in Nigeria. The event was attended by some medical experts and some clergies in the church.