CANONIZATION OF POPE JOHN PAUL 11

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By Sonnie Ekwowusi

I guess the 300,000 or more mourners (In fact Pope John 11’s funeral is said to have attracted the largest gathering of statesmen in human history) that thronged St. Peter’s Square on April 8, 2005 to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul 11 might have been edified by two things. One: the cheap casket in which the remains of the Pope rested. During his life on earth, John Paul 11 detested anything showy or extravagant. Therefore it was no surprise that prior to his death; he instructed that his burial should be similar to that of Pope Paul VI, completely without any expensive casket and funeral extravagance.

 Second: the sight of a chanting crowd carrying the banners with bold inscription, “Santo subito!” (May he be made a saint immediately!) clamouring for the Pope’s immediate canonization. But because the Catholic Church doesn’t base her decision to canonize a candidate on majority votes or popular agitation, she had to await the verdict of the rigorous studies and investigations of a group of Church experts entrusted with the mandate to study and investigate the life of John Paul 11 and those miracles attributed to his intercession. Usually, two miracles attributed to a candidate’s intercession are required to proclaim the candidate a saint. When eventually the said verdict was made public, it showed that a French nun who prayed to God through the intercession of John Paul 11 was miraculously healed of her Parkinson’s disease. It was mainly on the strength of this miracle that John Paul II was beatified in 2011. The second miracle, which occurred after his beatification involved a Costa Rican woman who was cured of a cerebral aneurysm, in fact on the very day of John Paul II’s beatification.

 This second miracle paved the way for John Paul 11’s canonization. Therefore  this Sunday, April 27, at St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul 11, the man from a distant country and the great man of the Second Vatican Council, will be canonized. With effect from the aforesaid date, he would be addressed as St. Pope John Paul 11 or preferably, St. Pope John Paul 11 the great. To be canonized alongside with him, is Pope John XX11, another great man of the Second Vatican Council, in fact, the convener of that Council.

I think one thing which needs to be repeated in acknowledging that Pope John Paul 11 was one of the towering figures that shaped the 20th Century is his dogged commitment to justice, unity and peace. Throughout his pontificate which began on October 16, 1978 with the moral exhortation: “Be not afraid”,  he was never tired of repeating that truth, justice, love, freedom and peace stood at the heart of true religion. On the occasion of his meeting with King Hassan 11 in Morocco on August 19th, 1985, in which well over 80,000 youths were in attendance, the Pope presented different ways of collaboration between Christians and Muslims. He also spoke about the commitment to justice; respect for the rights of man, promotion of peace, tolerance, and of freedom of conscience and freedom of expression of the others. The Pope visited Nigeria twice, first in February 1982 and second in 1998 when Sani Abacha was in power and when Nigeria was experiencing a great economic and political turmoil. Ostensibly to stress the importance of unity in Nigeria at that time, the Pope used the word “reconciliation” about 28 times during his sermon in Oba near Onitsha. According to the Pope, without reconciliation and forgiveness, “the world will look more and more like a battlefield where only selfish interests count and the law of force prevails”.

The Pope’s meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev on 22nd December, 1989 is still being hailed by many as the catalyst that not only led to the sowing of the seeds of perestroika and grasnot but the dramatic crumbling of communism. The fall of the Berlin Wall produced positive effects in Germany, Hungry, in the old Chezslovakia and Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania and other countries.

One common strand running through the writings of Pope John Paul 11 is his deep understanding of contemporary human condition, modern fears and restlessness and his ability to impregnate them with deep supernatural hope.  Certainly Papal biographer George Weigel is right in stressing that Pope John Paul 11 was an ironic figure of the 20th century because his teaching, “which has emerged from a profound philosophical and theological reflection… has demonstrated the resilience, indeed the indispensability, of religious conviction in addressing the crisis of contemporary humanism”. In other words, without religious values and transcendental truths, the pursuit of justice, peace and genuine development will greatly be robbed of their true meanings. As T.S Elliot once wrote, “if you remove from ‘human’ all that the belief in  the supernatural has given to man, you can view him finally as no more than an extremely clever, adaptable, and mischievous little animal”  

As Pope John Paul 11 returns to the Vatican on Sunday April 27 this time as a saint, let us resolve to embrace his enduring legacies in tackling today’s anthropological cataclysm and deconstruction of consciences aimed at reducing the human person to the level of an animal.

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THE GAY DICTATORSHIP

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By Sonnie Ekwowusi

It is no longer news that the co-founder and former  CEO of Mozilla Corporation Brendan Eich has recently been forced or coerced to resign from Mozilla Corporation following his anti-gay stance, specifically, for doling out $1,000 in 2008 in support of California anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8. 

This, for me, is another clear case of intolerance being unleashed in the name of curbing intolerance. There are two highly-abused words in the gay dictionary: discrimination and tolerance. Whereas gay people complain of being discriminated against they are the ones discriminating against those who do not endorse their gay lifestyle. By succumbing to the pressure that Eich should resign because of his anti-gay views, Mozilla is officially declaring that it is a pro-gay corporation that doesn’t tolerate a contrary view. It has also displayed its open bias and intolerance against Eich for his anti-gay stance.

Procuring the resignation of Eich through violence and intimidation is a fragrant violation of his constitutional right to personal liberty. Liberty is the essential idea that is America. It is America’s greatest achievement, in fact America’s bounteous gift to mankind. You will recall that at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln noted that before America embraced the principle of equality it had already been conceived in liberty. That is why every American dreams liberty today. Surely, if Eich drags Mozilla to court today over his forced resignation he would certainly pull his way through.

Obviously gay dictatorship is being imposed on an unwilling world. This is very disturbing. The gay population, compared to the rest of world population, is negligible but it is a “conquering” population. Last year in London I ran into a UK lawyer who specializes in defending accused persons prosecuted for exercising their right to their conscience and conviction. It was this lawyer who defended the lady fired by the British Airways a few years ago for wearing a crucifix to work. The same lawyer defended the Pastor who was arrested and charged to court, I think in the same London, for openly preaching against gay. The pertinent questions are: Why are gay people becoming more powerful today? Why are they infiltrating the most powerful organizations in the world today, from the United Nations to powerful multi-nationals to embassies, down to even ordinary football clubs? Why are they stakeholders in the British and American governments? Why is the CNN, BBC, New York Times, The London Economist and other liberal media increasing becoming the gay mouthpieces? In response, a friend jokingly said that Lucifer has come down and has challenged Archangel Michael to a second battle, and that if Lucifer wins this second battle all of us will become his slaves. Don’t laugh. It sounds like a pedestrian conspiracy theory but there is a resemblance of truth in the comment. Truth to tell, there are plots to deconstruct the human anthropology in favour of “orientation essentialism”. Very soon the World Bank and the IMF would start forcing developing countries to become gay complaint failure for which they would be denied financial aid. What am I saying? This is already happening. We now live in a new gay international order. Being gay is now synonymous with civility.  Leaders of countries whose countries are not yet gay complaint are looked down or treated with contempt at international Conferences as backward leaders unwilling to comply with their “international obligation”. See what they are doing to Uganda for refusing to join their gay madness. There is also the conspiracy to make the world a genderless world. No difference between a man and a woman. Some are now agitating that the tags, “male” and “female”   on the doors of male and female toilets in public places should be removed. In New York City last March, a man was caught in a female toilet. When quizzed, he said that even though he was originally created a man, he had changed his gender and become a woman. It is not unlikely that very soon Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and others will be quizzed for not reserving jerseys for gay players. I doubt if any person who openly expresses an anti-gay view can become a Nobel Laureate today.

So, we are in trouble in this age of gay dictatorship. What do we do? To insist that sanity should prevail. To insist that tolerance doesn’t mean compromising gay aberration. To agree with Michael W. Hannon that the natural architecture for human sexuality; the longstanding teleological tradition is not replaced with the “absurd taxonomy of sexual orientations”. To admit that gay is a big threat to human survival and that the baptism of homosexual activity in whatever form paves the way for the destruction of the old marital-procreative principles without offering a viable alternative.

 If we do not wish that the human family should perish, then we need to remind the world, as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni are already doing, that it can only find an anchor in the safe harbor of sexual ethics of man-woman marital relationship that spurns the animalistic exaltation of the gay aberration.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Pope Benedict Emeritus

Today, Pope Benedict (emeritus) celebrates his 87th birthday. 87 years of service to God and to His Church

Today is a great day because we remember his deep humility, when he resigned last year for his inability to govern the church any longer.

We also remember his sense of duty in carrying out his duty as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in preserving the purity of the faith for those to come not minding personal differences or public opinion

We also remember his obedience and total self giving to God  by leaving the lecture hall and going to the Cathedral by being the Archbishop of Munich and Freising.

We also remember your great effort in writing down a lot which are like footprints , so that we beginners may have and follow them to God directly and easily.

Thank you God for giving us Pope Benedict

I am happy to have you as my name sake.

You have truly lived out your name Benedict which means the blessed man

As Pope Francis said you are an institution to be consulted.

I pray that God may  grant you more years, and He may strengthen and guide you as you progress in years.

Happy Birthday Pope Benedict, I love you

RULE OF LAW AS BULWARK OF DEMOCRACY

imagesBy Sonnie Ekwowusi

No matter what anybody may say, the most recent  Federal High Court Judgments, notably, the judgment declaring as unconstitutional the Federal Road Safety Commission’s newly-imposed number plates on motorists in Nigeria; the judgment ordering the House of Representatives members who defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All People’s Progressive Congress (APC) to vacate their seats; the judgment declaring as illegal the toll collection on the Lekki-Ikoyi Suspension Bridge; the judgment ordering the Federal government and its agents to pay a whopping sum of N50 million to the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as exemplary damages for illegal detention and seizure of his international passport  have, to a certain extent, helped in restoring the waning confidence of the people in the Nigerian judiciary, the merits or demerits of the judgments notwithstanding. The judgments have also shown that the rule of law is the bulwark of our democracy.

 Agreed, appeals have been lodged against most of the judgments. Even if the appeals succeed in the future and the judgments reversed, the point has been made that those who manage the affairs of their fellow men should always abide by due process. Put differently, the rule of law is a pre-requisite for the sustenance of the Nigerian democracy and for good government to thrive in Nigeria.

So, let the judicial activism go on. Excited by the judgments declaring the newly-imposed number plates and thetoll collection on the Lekki-Ikoyi Suspension Bridge unconstitutional, most members of the public now reckon with the judiciary as that  vital thread that knits human society together. It has dawned on them that with some measure of courage and, of course, persistence, they could successful tackle the scandalizing oddities and illegalities making Nigeria look like one lawless country. We live in a country in which one man can wake up one morning and unilaterally impose any law on the people without first ascertaining whether the law attunes with the social reality in Nigeria. Somehow we have grown accustomed to tolerating all sorts of illegalities including illegal killing of human beings. For example, the 2014 Amnesty international Report on Nigeria alleges many illegal killings in the North-East of Nigeria and other human rights abuses. But even in the absence of Amnesty International Report, the magnitude of gross human rights abuses across the country could be disturbing. Just take a look at any Police Station around, and you would probably find a suspect being subjected to one torture or the other. Imagine Mr. Ebere Wabara, The Sun Newspaper Associate Editor and Special Assistant, Media to Dr. Uzor Orji Kalu, abducted in front of his wife and children two weeks ago. The journalist was reportedly arrested in his Surulere residence and whisked off to Umuahia by the Abia State Police Command on ground of alleged seditious publication. If this report is true, then something seriously needed to be done to stem the tide of human rights violation in Nigeria. It will be naive to think that the actions of government are always guided by law to promote the Common Good. In his appraisal of the English form of government in Common Sense, Thomas Paine writes that government is a necessary evil. French political economist and philosopher Federic Bastiat, stresses in his classic bestseller, The Law, that most government activities are legalized plunders. According to him, the greatest threat to personal liberty is when a government turns against those whom it is meant to protect.  Of the ancient philosophers, Plato was particularly hostile to democracy because he felt that democracy could be abused to the detriment of the governed whose interests it is supposed to protect.  It was to guard against the abuses in democracy that Plato wanted the experts, the enlightened or the guardians, as he called them in the Republic, to be in charge of politics.

Point being made is that we should not readily assume that government is conscious of its proper roles in society and is out to promote the rights and welfare of citizens. That’s why the people must be vigilant. The people should be ready to go the extra mile in righting a perceived legal wrong. Nothing is to be gained by being passive. Interestingly, the aforementioned judgments are all judgment of the Federal High Court which hitherto had been slow in advancing judicial activism in Nigeria. So, impelled by their sense of justice, the Nigerian judges should be unafraid of delivering judgments detestable to the government. They should be unafraid of doing what has not been done before, for in the words of Master of Rolls Lord A. T Denning in Parker V Parker, “if we never did a thing which has not been done before we shall never get anywhere”. If the Nigerian judiciary fails to make our political leaders accountable through law, we would continue to have misfits and nincompoops in office as leaders.

 

Being an untried system of government, constitutional democracy in Nigeria is challenged from within by greed, corruption and pursuit of personal interest. Therefore, the rule of law is the ultimate safeguard of our constitutional democracy.