Merry Christmas and Thank You

christmas

From Veritasproject, we say Merry Christmas to all those who read, shared, commented and liked our posts. Also to those who wrote articles, a bigger Merry Christmas and those who noted some corrections helping us to be better, Merry Merry Christmas, you’ve all been supportive.

As we celebrate Christmas, lets not forget to celebrate with those around us.

Truly, today is a day of great rejoicing because the Baby Jesus Christ, our light and the light of the World is born.

May he illuminate your lives with his love and mercy.

Merry Christmas once again

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Nigeria’ s legislature passes anti-gay bill

The Senate on the 18th of this month unanimously passed a Harmonised Conference Committee report banning same sex marriage in Nigeria.

The Senate passed the Same Sex Marriage Bill, 2011 on November 29, and the House of Representatives passed it on July 2. Following the variations in the two versions passed, both chambers set up a conference committee to harmonise the differences, which appeared essentially in five clauses of the bill.

Happily all that remains for the Bill to become law, is the signature of Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan.

The Bill, which has taken almost two years to pass through the Senate and House of Representatives will outlaw gay marriage and make it punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment. Anyone attending a gay wedding can also be charged and jailed for up to a decade. Officials presiding over a wedding can be punished with jail time of up to five years.

The bill would provide prison sentences of up to 10 years for anyone who supports:

  • LGBT-friendly organizations or meetings
  • Gay Pride marches
  • Gay clubs

The passage is a welcome development.

Senate President David Mark, who presided over the plenary, appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to quickly assent to the bill so that it could become a law. “We have been under a series of attack from different quarters. I think we believe in this bill. “The earlier we sign it into law, the better. We (Nigeria) have many shortcomings, we don’t want to add this one (same sex marriage) to them,” Mark said.

The bill passed by the Senate provides: a marriage contract or civil union entered into between persons of same sex by virtue of a certificate issued by a foreign country shall be void in Nigeria. Also, marriage or civil union entered into between persons of same sex shall not be solemnised in any place of worship either in a church or mosque or any other place in Nigeria.

Again, only marriage contracted between a man and a woman either under Islamic law, Customary law or the Marriage Act is recognised as valid in Nigeria.

Gay right activist have urged President Jonathan not to sign the Bill into law for its infractions on the human rights of Nigeria’s LGBTI community.They are saying that  law is not necessary since homosexuality is already illegal, and that the Senate is trying to promote hate and homophobia.

If the law is not necessary why are they pleading with the President not to sign the bill.

I plead with the President to quickly sign this bill into law. Even though Nigeria has a name for financial corruption let us stand out in our fight to prevent moral corruption.

Homosexuality is not a normal human feature, and as such like other tendencies like lying, stealing it can be corrected. That is the message the homosexuals should get we do not hate you guys but we hate homosexuality.

It’s abhorrence to nature can be evidenced in it’s many ills chief among is the prevalence of STD’s mostly HIV/AIDS

A JOYFUL CHRISTMAS .

By Sonnie Ekwowusi

All man’s strivings on earth are inevitably, a search for happiness albeit many search for happiness in the wrong things. The young, the old, rich, poor, destitute, socially-dislocated, footballer, prisoner, freeman, manual worker, intellectual worker and all are all searching for happiness in their respective life endeavours. Not even human adversity can stultify the overflowing joy of the human spirit. Every time I re-read “As I Lay Dying” by Richard John Neuhaus I always marvel at the triumph of the human spirit over suffering. In that book, Neuhaus vividly recaptures that cheerfulness can be compatible with human suffering. In his epic book, The Consolation of Philosophy, Ancius, Boethius writes that human adversity and physical confinement do not diminish human freedom and human happiness. Reading Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom, one cannot fail to appreciate that the 27 gruelling years which he spent in physical confinement in prison did not diminish his inner freedom, human spirit let alone his boisterous cheerfulness. Many years ago I visited the Kirikiri Maximum prison Lagos, in company with some young lawyers. It was a Sunday afternoon when prisoners are allowed to have some recreation within the prison including playing the game of football. As the prisoners were coming out from their respective prison cells or dungeons, we spotted out a very cheerful young prisoner among them wearing a stylistic haircut. Before we could utter a word, the other prisoners pointed at him and said to us; “he is innocent, he is not supposed to be here”. I wonder the fate that has befallen that cheerful young prisoner today.

I have heard it said several times that the poor-street beggars and destitute and others in that category-are the happiest people in the world. Pope Francis corroborates this in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Lamenting how the misplaced reliance on technology have led to the sorrow of many people, Pope Francis says that it is among the poor that we encounter people who are truly and really happy.

So, everyone longs for happiness. But as I said earlier, many look for it in wrong things. For example, the murderer who murders another believes that by committing that horrible act he could attain happiness. On my way back from the Badagry High Court two weeks ago, I met a soldier who narrated his recent encounter with young Boko Haram fighters in Maiduguri, Borno State. “Those young Boko Haram boys are prepared to die. Even when you catch them and torture them they will not reveal anything to you, said the military man. Obviously those Boko Haram boys believe that the only way they can be happy is to maim and kill those whom they have been sent to maim or kill.

Now that Christmas is here many will be seeking happiness in the orgy of self-deification, capricious expenditure and militant consumerism. To them, pleasure is happiness. At Christmas all sorts of vices start rearing their ugly heads: the commercial bus driver drives recklessly; the trader swindles the hapless customers; the worker embezzles his employer’s money; the kidnappers lays siege to the country highways to kid Christmas travellers. The motorists cruise at prohibitive speed. Everywhere, there is disorder as many searching for happiness busy themselves in buying and selling. Instead of seeking joy in the true meaning of Christmas, many seek it in drunken orgy. Asked how he would celebrate the Christmas, a driver wasted no time in answering that he would be inside the green bottle on Christmas Day, meaning that he would drink himself to stupor on Christmas Day.

This is certainly not the message which Jesus preached with his humble birth in Bethlehem. The self-sacrificing service of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at first Christmas is a spur to mankind to be less self-centred and attend to the needs of their fellow men and women. There are many Nigerians suffering from illness, frustration and poverty. Therefore, this Christmas is a good time to reach out to these suffering Nigerians and share the joy of Christmas with them. More importantly, Christmas affords many families the opportunity of reuniting and sharing the warmth and love of a family.

Following the selfless life of Jesus, our political leaders should bring light to the dark land; hope to the hopeless; justice to the oppressed and integrity to the wasteland. The people, on the other hand, should eschew vices of greed, avarice, laziness and corruption. It is no use blaming the leaders for being corrupt when the people condone injustice and corruption. Beyond complaining that Nigeria is not good, the people should get up and do something to bring about an honest political leadership. It is no use sitting down and gossiping without doing anything to assist in remedying the many injustices and wrongs committed in the land. Evil thrives when the so-called good people sit back and do nothing.

Today this column intones the Nunc Dimittis as it signs off for the Christmas vacation, to return, God willing, in January 2014. Thanks for the company in this tortuous journey of trying to clothe the naked public square. Obviously the road this year has been strewn with thorns and thistle, but as St. Josemaria Escriva writes in The Way of the Cross, “Where the hand feels the prick of thorns, the eyes discover a bunch of splendid fragrant roses”. We live in sad world, but with the smiles on our faces we can rid the world of its sadness and melancholy.

Wishing you and your family a joyful Christmas

 

POPE FRANCIS’ LOVE FOR THE POOR By Sonnie Ekwowusi

 

pope franciis

The Pope of the poor.

Pope Francis’ call for tighter solidarity and fraternity with the poor in his newly-published Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is, for me, profoundly instructive. Instructive because never in the history of mankind has poverty wrecked or destroyed so many countries than now. The poor, it is said, are always with us. But the pertinent questions provoked by Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium are: how are we seriously committed to alleviating poverty? Does alleviating poverty only mean giving left-over coins to street beggars? Or, is preferential option for the poor only a slogan preached from church pulpit or from political soap-box just to win cheap popularity?

Contrary to the views expressed by the BBC, CNN and other liberal media, Pope Francis is not calling for the overthrow of the Gospel or the teaching of the Catholic Church in his Evangelii Gaudium: he is merely calling for new ways and initiatives of presenting the same Gospel truth in the light of the profound changes taking place in the world today to make the Gospel more accessible and appealing to the uncountable poor people across the world hungering for the truth. In other words, Pope Francis is not advocating for a watered-down teaching on homosexuality; abortion, ordination of women; apostolic celibacy and all that as the CNN, BBC and other free-thinkers would make us believe. Instead he is advocating for a Church which urgently “brings-forth” the Gospel to the people or a Church which spreads the Gospel to the people in line with St. Paul’s “within season and out of season”. Of course, Pope Francis is not saying anything new which the previous Popes had not said. In fact, Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium draws inspiration from Lumen Gentium; Pope Paul V1’s Evangelii Nuntiandi and his Rerum Novarum;  Pope Leo X111’s Octogesima Adveniens and his Gaudete in Domino; Blessed Pope John Paul 11’s  Redemptor Hominis, Veritatis Splendour, Evangelium Vitae, Social Concern. And of course, Evangelii Gaudium  is inspired by writings of Church Fathers, St. Iranaeus, St. John the Cross and others.

But we must admit that Pope Francis has his own style in presenting the same truth. For example, one day Pope Francis ran into a Swiss Guard stoically standing erect at one place in St. Peter’s Square. Apparently feeling pity for him, Pope Francis asked him, “Have you eaten?”.  Not willing to betray any sign of human weakness and fragility as a Swiss Guard of fame, the young man kept moot. At this juncture, Pope Francis swiftly left and came back later with what looked like snacks and offered it to the Swiss Guard. Still unwilling to betray any sign of weakness, the Swiss Guard refused to talk to the Pope let alone eat the Pope’s snacks. It was then that Pope Francis opened his mouth and said to him. “I am your boss and I am telling you to take and eat”. Anyway, to cut the long story short, the Swiss Guard eventually took the snacks from Pope Francis, sat down and ate. For centuries, no Swiss Guard had been caught on duty talking to a Pope let alone eating on duty. But after encountering Pope Francis on that particular day, that Swiss Guard ate and drank on duty probably for the first time in the history of Papal Swiss Guard.

That is Pope Francis for you.  He is a simple and a humble man. Whereas a Pope Benedict would focus on confronting what he dubbed the “dictatorship of relativism” headlong; a Pope John Paul 11 might travel far and wide to wage a relentless crusade against socialist communism; but here we have a Pope Francis who, without diffusing the struggle against relativism and communism, is making love for the poor the defining leitmotif of his pontificate. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal sick, visit the prisoner, console the broken-hearted. Prior to his election as Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergloglio, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, freely mingled with the poorest of the poor in Buenos Aires; cooked his own food; did his own laundry; boarded mass-transit buses and so forth. Since his election as Pope he has continued in that fashion. He maintains a low-profile lifestyle. He refuses to live in a luxuriously-furnished apartment detached from the people. He carries his own bag, rides in what we call in Nigeria a “second-hand” or a “third-hand” car and so forth. In Evangelii Gaudium, he condemns what he terms the economy of exclusion, an economy that shuts the poor out from access to economic well-being

But the poverty which Pope Francis is out to tackle goes beyond material poverty as could be gleaned from Evangelii Gaudium. The most deadly forms of poverty in a country are lack of access to social justice; loss of a sense of sin; loss of a sense of what is right and what is wrong; lack of honesty and transparency in government; ignorance, drug addiction, sexual perversion and exploitation, trafficking in human beings and human embryos and so forth. Unfortunately oftentimes we only focus on material poverty forgetting that the aforementioned forms of poverty are more pervasive than material deprivation.

The rhetoric on progressivism is meaningless in a world that pays lip service to preferential option for the poor.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Universal declaration of Human Right, a historical and human document which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

This historical document arose after the second world war which was very bloody and showed the gruesome inhumanity of some men and women.

By adopting this document the international community vowed never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict to happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere.

Just as we agree and praise world leaders for achieving great strides in areas like racism, apartheid, voting rights for all, reduction in poverty, expansion of educational opportunities etc.

It must be borne in mind that the same United Nations and many world leaders are propagating a new injustice which is targeted towards the unborn, the sick, elderly, physically and mentally disabled, political dissenters, theists, the poor etc.

This acts of theirs is antithetical  not only to the charter of the United Nations but also to the declaration of Human rights that we celebrate today.

I challenge the United Nations to affirm the dignity and inalienable worth of the human person beginning from conception to natural death.

I challenge the United Nations to continue fighting for the right of people to have the right of Religion which is been infringed upon in many countries even in the United States.

Nelson Mandela: The Exit of a Rare Gem

By, Nwachukwu Joshua

In Nigeria when people die, it is not uncommon to hear or read that the person who died was a legend, an icon or a rare gem. Even though I appreciate the fact that every human person has an inalienable worth and value. I dare say it is a misnomer since not anybody or everybody deserves such worth appellations.

In recent times apart from Martin Luther Jr, Blessed Pope John Paul 11,Mahatma Gandhi, I think that Mandela is worthy to be called a rare gem.

Some aspects of his life not only are they admirable but they are worthy of imitation not only by  politicians but also by the common man.

His steadfast fight for individual freedom, which culminated in his fight against apartheid in South Africa, his struggle in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth.

His voluntary retirement from politics while his contemporaries like Mugabe, Obasanjo, Gaddafi, Paul Biya, saw presidency as their birthright.

His distaste for poverty, inequality and injustice is also remarkable and worthy of admiration.

Although he was  a promoter of abortion and homosexuality. I do not want to crucify him on that. Since he is dead let us portray and promote his good side.

But really we’ve lost a hero of the 21st century.

His death reminds me and should remind us of the power of one. Mandela was not a president when he began his activism.

We all should realize that we can begin a change, and we should no matter our age, tribe, educational level.

May you rest in Peace Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

 

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT JUSTIN BIEBER

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Many of us know Justin Bieber who is mega-pop star, I never knew him, until I watched Karate Kid, where “never say never” was used as the theme song, it was a master piece.

Though very young in the musical industry, his songs have topped the charts in Canada, Norway, New Zealand, United States, Australia and many others. All these we know.

What many of us do not know is that, if left to the selfish choice of his mother he would have been aborted.

Justin Bieber mom, Pattie Mallette, was 17 when she realised she was pregnant for Bieber, because of her young age many people encouraged and pushed her to end her pregnancy.

Mallette, however, insisted abortion was never an option, she refused and now her son is one of the biggest musical successes in the world today.

Today her son Justin Bieber can sing to millions of fans and inspire them as a living example of the sanctity of human life.

She has recently told her courageous story in her new book Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber’s Mom.

Every abortion stops a beating heart. Every abortion ends a life. Every abortion robs the world of someone who could have made a real difference to the lives of others.