Catholics have been encouraged to have a greater awareness of the interconnectedness of the created world, as well as the need for fraternity of the human family, so as to promote the value of life. The charge was given in a communiqué presented by a an institute of the Catholi Church, jointly signed by very Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Jude Asanbe, Acting Rector, CIWA and Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Patrick Okuta, Registrar, CIWA, at the end of the 31st annual Theology Conference Week of Catholic Institute of West Africa, CIWA, with the theme, “Theological imperatives in a post COVID-19 era, held at Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The group also called for greater attention to the God given resources of the environment and ecosystem, in order to discover local therapy and other homemade remedies for different ailments and perennial diseases that constitute threat to life. On God being the author of life, the communiqué read: “We thank God for the gift of life and health, which we often take for granted. We thank him for keeping us healthy and alive, despite the great challenges the corona virus has posed to life and health worldwide.
We are grateful to him for the gift of the human family, the environment and natural resources he has entrusted for our use. In response to God’s magnanimity, we encourage greater awareness of the interconnectedness of the created world, of the need for fraternity of the human family. Also, we call for greater attention to the God given resources of our environment and ecosystem, in order to discover local therapy and other homemade remedies for different ailments and perennial diseases that constitute threat to life.” On COVID-19 and its challenges, the communiqué read: “No doubt, COVID-19 has overwhelmed the world with the magnitude of infections and fatalities, which remain unprecedented in modern era. Nations have been ravaged, families decimated, and worst of all, it has brought adverse psychological effects: fear, doubt and anxiety that have continued to disrupt normal human and social relationships.
We note with much concern that the drastic lockdown measures, aimed at checkmating the spread of the virus, have also created many more difficulties on the social, religious, economic and personal-psychological levels. Most painful to many, have been the limitations of some traditional religious activities, and the disruptions experienced in the educational programmes of many institutions. The contradictory perceptions, denials, apathy to the pandemic, heightened by distrust, are indeed worrisome. These dispositions/attitude has impacted negatively on the government and health professionals, at curbing the menace. We therefore call pastors of souls to intensify the effort in guiding the people rightly. We equally call for ongoing research, discussions and public awareness by theologians, Catholic medics and scientists in their different fields of expertise, to assist in salvaging the situation.” On whether to take COVID-19 vaccines or not to take it, the communiqué read: “There have been a lot of controversies and conjectures based largely on sensationalism and deniailms.
The problem in the administration of the vaccine is real. From the moral point of view, the Church is open to the possibility of receiving the vaccine, in spite of the use of fetal cells from aborted fetus for their production. The conditions are that there is no other viable alternative, and human life is threatened. The two conditions are fulfilled in Nigeria since only AstraZeneca vaccine is available to us the position of the church does not however deny the faithful of their individual and inalienable right to come to an informed decision to take or not to.” Among other things, the theme of the weeklong conference addressed the significance and place of theology and allied sciences in responding to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference attracted many dignitaries and experts from various fields of human endeavour, including Catholic Bishops, medical experts, captains of industry, and experts in the academia.