The Chairman, Global prolife Alliance, GPA, Prince Dr. Prof. Phillip Njemanze has revealed that the VAPP law No 12 2020 intends to destroy the Catholic values and Igbo norms and tradition.
The Imo State House of Assembly had enacted the law, making Imo the 27th State in the Federation where the law is operational. The bill was sponsored by Hon Uju Onwudiwe, member representing Njaba State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly
Dr. Njemanze who had in 2012, kicked against proposed abortion law, stated that the Anti life movements in Nigeria are suspicious of the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and targeted to decapitate the Church by destruction of the Holy Priesthood.
He told Journalists in Owerri that the priesthood of the Catholic church is made exclusive for men because of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, whereby the priest stands in the “person” of Jesus Christ to celebrate the Holy Mass and hence, speaks in the first person, saying that the priest hears confessions and absolves from sins in the first person and celebrates all the sacraments in the person of Jesus Christ
In ordaining His successors, he noted, Jesus Christ chose 12 men as the apostles, though there were many women who worked around him, yet He handed the church over to the male apostles to ordain their successors in the same manner.
According to Dr. Njemanze, who is also the Managing Director, Chidicon Medical Centre, Owerri, the law is a direct attack on Christian religious traditions particularly aimed at ruining the Catholic traditions, saying that with the position of this law, it is a punishable offence to refuse any woman ordination as a priest or bishop if she desires it.
The Professor of Medicine noted that in this light, if the Seminary refuses to ordain such a woman, the Pope as the Head of the Church will have to apologize and the Provost will go to jail for three years or be fined N500,000 or both; yet the seminary would still admit the Lady or be closed down.
He explained that Catholic Priesthood is called Apostolic Succession through the Bishops of the Church but the Anti Life people, wary of the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion, targeted to decapitate the church by destruction of the Holy priesthood.
He noted that this is the reason they termed the Section 22 (1) that deals with ordination of female priests “succession right” under “economic abuse” to include Apostolic Succession that will enable them to destroy the Catholic Priesthood and hence the Church.
Their point is that women are entitled to the same Apostolic Succession as men and there is no exemption given to religions. But “On the other hand, the Church celebrates women as the role models of motherhood of Mary and Virginity of Mary in Reverend Sisters.
According to him, the Church sees the role of men and women as complimentary but not the same.
“The Anti life group wants to use the VAPP law and other laws to legislate sameness in opposition to Gender Complimentarity that the Church holds as the doctrine
“They want to use legislative activism to destroy the foundation of the Catholic Church doctrinal teaching on “Men and Women He created them”
Also, the Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (ACMPN) Imo State chapter also led by Dr. Njemanze had condemned the law, saying it promotes moral decadence, tries to imprison preachers and parents under the section that deals with “Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse”
ACMPN insisted that the definition of “abuse” as “verbal” was made broad to include normal scolding of children, preaching against “sins” of adultery, abortion and fornication among others, as is customary in Nigerian religious society, saying that preaching by Priests, Pastors, Evangelists, Bishops, Traditional heads that condemn actions contrary to our religion and culture, are also banned by this law
“This means curtailing the freedom of religion, and restricts the church and traditional institutions from correcting the evils of the society such as the sins of abortion, contraception, fornication and adultery among others” said a statement by ACMPN.
It continued “ There are no limitations or exemptions made by the VAPP law No 12 of 2020, on what could be considered “abuse”. Therefore, all cultural manners of correction of children and young people would be considered as “abuse” liable to fine and/ or imprisonment
“Perpetrators, if condemned by preachers on the pulpit, would take offence even when not specifically directed at them but at the entire congregation. The VAPP law allows anyone to claim “psychological” distress in response to “verbal abuse” that they consider violates “the integrity of a female or male human being”
“Daughters would go against mothers and sons against fathers in courts, with parents facing jail sentences as prescribed by VAPP law which could create a breakdown of ethics and morals, customs, traditional practices and religious norms that hold the fabric of Imo society
“Children growing up in Imo State society that is complaint to VAPP law would have no cultural, religious, ethical and moral restrictions and no traditional upbringing for which the Igbo are known as a people. The impending chaos would lead ultimately to the disintegration of our entire socio political system
“Total disintegration of Igbo society is the goal of the racist foreign sponsors of the VAPP law under a deceptive title: “Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law”, which deals on “Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse” must be revised to means a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards any person, including repeated insults, ridicule or name calling, repeated threats to cause emotional pain
“Or the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessiveness, which is of such nature as to constitute a serious invasion of such person’s privacy, liberty, integrity or security but does not include normal admonishment of children or persons to correct wrongdoings in private or public, in accordance with Igbo customs, religious norms to accepted social practices.