Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu started as St. Paul’s Seminary, Onitsha in 1922, at the initiative of Rt. Rev. Joseph Shanahan,...Learn More
This year 2020 is fraught with protests and agitations, at which base is the desire for justice. We think immediately of #blacklivesmatter of America, #endsars of Nigeria, #constitutionreform of Chile, and many others. One thing about these protests is its consistent show that brutal force and/or threats do not silence the voice crying out for justice. The church, always above its age lends credence to the above assertion in Vatican II Council Document thus: “peace is more than the absence of war: it cannot be reduced to the maintenance of a balance of power between opposing forces nor does it arise out of despotic dominion, but it is appropriately called an enterprise of justice”. It goes further to say that “peace cannot be obtained on earth unless the welfare of man is safeguarded and people freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their minds and their talents”.
The church has continued to call for justice stressing that all should be given their due because we are not only ‘Imago Dei’ but also belong to one family of God’s children. The United Nations followed this trend by the declaration of human rights in 1948. Since then, people have interpreted and worked towards the protection of human rights through every means available to them.
In giving voice to the cry for justice, the Vol. 41 No. 1 of the Bigard Theological Studies takes up the task of discussing issues of justice, faith and the media as the new instrument for the promotion of justice. Particular attention is paid to the perspectives of medical assistance to people, pastoral care, and leadership in the society.
Fr Jacob Anioke kicks it off with discussing “Social Justice and Poverty in Nigeria: A Theological Moral Study”. He asserts that in our contemporary society, it seems that human beings are graded according to what they can produce, their social status, economic positions, contributions to the society, their political affiliations and even according to the faith they profess. Thereby determining what they get or give as justice.
Fr Tobe Nnamani, in his article “Nigeria @ a Crossroads: Leveraging on the Catholic Social Teaching to Reconstruct a Just and Better Society”, gives a practical example of how a state deprived of justice like Nigeria keeps degenerating in all aspects of development. Convinced that the kingdom of God begins here on earth and that part of the Church’s mission is to participate in the construction of such kingdom, characterized by peace, he called on the Church to take up more practical steps in fighting injustice in Nigeria. There from, he recommends steps like advocacy, law tracking, poverty alleviation programmes and investments, and much more.
Fr Inaku k. Egere, in his own article “Dialectics on New Media Culture and the African Christian of the Future” talks of the media and faith. He observes that electronic culture publicized the Christian faith without engraining it much in the minds of the people. This is because we have not understood that the medium is the massage. This aptly explains why there are so many denominations and churches in Africa without many converting to the Christian faith. For him, the Christian faith involves the dynamic insertion of the Good news into our daily lives, guided by the light of the Holy Spirit.
With all eyes on the Church to fight poverty and injustice, Fr Onyema Anozie takes us to the life of the pastoral agent. He talks of the evangelical councils and post-ordination crisis in the life of priests. In his article, “Post-ordination Priestly Crisis Today in the Light of Vita Consecrata 16: A Moral Theological Studies”, he talks about how post-ordination crisis can be avoided or handled if it comes by being faithful to the evangelical councils which they promise to at ordination. This is ad rem in this materialistic age, where people are judged according to their material wealth and social status. The concrete reminder for the pastoral agent to take care of himself reechoes the admonition of St. Charles Borromeo in his sermon titled “practice what you preach” where he said: “is your task the care of souls? Then do not forget your own. Do not spend yourself so completely on other people that you have nothing left for yourself”. This is because the instrument needs to be good so as to deliver good works.
Fr Stophynus Anyanwu dares to swim the murky waters in his demand for justice for the sick in his article “Virtue Ethics in Medical Profession: Remembering the Hippocratic Ethics in the Crisis of COVID-19 Pandemic”. To demand for justice from a medical practioner who can offer a hundred and one reasonable excuses for the fate of a patient is a herculean task, which hinges on trust that the doctor is there for the well-being of the patient. However, in the light of Hippocratic Ethics, doctors and health care givers have a primary responsibility of acting in the patients’ best interests without being influenced by personal considerations. He nonetheless observed that the appeal to a supreme being in the Hippocratic Oath is now replaced with ‘all I hold dear’. The danger is that what human beings hold dear is subject to human emotion which is fickle, thereby making the Oath subject to change.
The issue of justice is so vast; it comprises every facet of life. We therefore cannot exhaust it in this little piece. We have just given a voice to the cry for justice. The contents are not for a particular group of people, but for everyone. If we could be just in our different areas, then the world would be a paradise. I wish you a happy reading as you would not regret doing so.
Social justice and poverty in Nigerian society: a theological moral study….. By Jacob Anioke
Nigeria @ a Crossroads: leveraging on the Catholic social teaching to reconstruct a just and better society… By Tobe Nnamani
Dialectics on New Media Culture and African Christian of the future…. By Inaku Egere
Post-Ordination priestly crisis today in the light of Vita Consecrata 16: A Moral Theological study… By Onyema Anozie
Virtue Ethics in Medical Profession: Remembering the Hippocratic Ethics in the crisis of COVID-19 pandemic… By Stophynus Anyanwụ