Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Oyo Diocese has reiterated the importance of family in the life of the Church and the existence of humanity stressing that there is need for a more proactive action on the part of the Church for the protection of the sanctity of Christian marriage and the family.
The Bishop made this assertion in his presentation while taking part in the 2016 Global Forum on Marriage, with the theme One Man One Woman: Unity in Diversity; held recently in Cape Town, South Africa.
Speaking on the sub-theme: Religious leaders: How Can the Church Support Marriage?, Bishop Badejo declared: “First, we know that the Church has no option but to support marriage between a man and a woman, husband and wife, for it relates to the very foundations of her existence and that of humanity. Marriage is the only sacrament with which Saint Paul illustrated the relationship between Christ and his Church. (Eph. 5: 21-30). That alone can be a good indication of the importance of marriage to the Church.”
Using several documents of the Church and papal exhortations to buttress his point, the local ordinary of Oyo Diocese emphasized the importance of marriage in the life of the Church and the need for the Church to support this conjugal union.
He pointed out that the Church will support marriage by remaining at the service of the married couples as they face the complexities of modern life, constantly reading and responding to the “signs of the times”. He continued: “She must provide clear teachings in the light of scripture to equip married couples as they confront the numerous challenges of contemporary living.”
Bishop Badejo outlined the challenges facing marriage life and the family to include: development of new technologies which sometimes are in conflict with true dignity of human life; conception of freedom disengaged from responsibility and the growth of indifference to the common good as pointed out by Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, former President of the former Pontifical Council for the Family and Pontifical Academy for Life, Grand Chancellor of the St. John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family in his speech to the new Academic Year of that Institute on the 35th anniversary of its foundation.
He stated further that for the Church to address the issues raised in the right perspectives, a new Pontifical Dicastery has since been established by Pope Francis with competency for laity, family and life, to replace the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family; to make the body more vibrant.
According to him: “The Church will support marriage by regenerating the interest of young people in marriage be it in the doctrinal, practical, pastoral and testimonial sense. It is necessary to find means of making the characteristics of commitment, exclusivity and stability in marriage attractive to even the generations of the future.”
He continued: “The Church must insist on the call to holiness among young people long before marriage. By authentic teaching, modeling and mentoring through her agents of evangelization the Church must teach and communicate the goods of marriages. She must call young people to live a chaste life as a necessary investment for a happy, fulfilled and holy married family life.”
Speaking on contemporary issues related to the subject matter, Bishop Badejo extensively addressed areas of concerns like: ongoing reflections, reinvigorating the sense of marriage, easing difficult ecclesiastical processes and freeing marriage of cultural and contemporary encumbrances. He also spoke on the matter as it affects the spiritual, pastoral and social lives of youths in the society.
He advocated among other things that “The Church must continuously find new language and new metaphors with which to do catechesis and decrease the distance of many from the ideals and practice of the Christian truth of marriage and the family. She must define and demonstrate marriage as a desirable good both for married people and for those who aspire to the marital state in the future for the benefit of humanity”