1. Via Aid to the Church in Need:
Nigeria’s bishops have issued a formal statement calling on the President to “consider stepping aside” and accusing the government of security failures which they blame for the murder of 17 Christians including two priests.
Father Joseph Gor, Father Felix Tyolaha and 15 parishioners were killed during a funeral Mass in Mbalom, Benue State by gunmen, with reports that about 30 Fulani militants waited for the faithful to gather at the church before attacking. They also burned down some 50 homes in the area.
Condemning the “rampaging and murderous terrorists”, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) issued a formal statement, asking: “…how can the federal government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wails of helpless and armless citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in their sacred places of worship?”
Writing in bold typeface, the bishops stressed: “…it is time for [Nigeria’s President Mudammadu Buhari] to choose the part of honor and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse.”
Accusing the President of ignoring repeated calls to step up security, the bishops assert: “He should no longer continue to preside over the killing fields and mass graveyard that our country has become.”
Written in the wake of the funeral Mass killings, which took place last Tuesday (April 24th), the bishops assert that they have lost confidence in the country’s security apparatus.
In their statement, the bishops declare: “Faced with these dark clouds of fear and anxiety, our people are daily being told to defend themselves. But defend themselves with what?”
The statement notes that the “government should encourage and empower citizens to secure themselves and their environments. This is not the time to disarm people with legally procured weapons of self-defense.”
The CBCN statement reports that, back in January, Father Gor, one of the priests killed last Tuesday, had warned about the continuing threat posed by Fulani herdsmen of whom he said: “They still go grazing around. No weapons to defend ourselves.”
Highlighting security concerns across Nigeria’s Middle-Belt, Father Alexander Yeyock, parish priest of. St John’s Catholic Church, Asso village in nearby Kaduna State, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “The concern now is that the entire nation should not depend so much on national security protection.”
“Every individual, groups and community should struggle to defend themselves. This is grossly unfortunate.”
Father Yeyock’s parish was attacked a month ago when two Catholic men were shot dead, an atrocity which took place almost exactly a year after Fulani militants murdered 12 Christians during the Easter Vigil service at his church.
Referring to tension in his parish and across the region, Father Yeyock said: “In Asso, farmers go to farms in fear and in groups… Bereaved families have come to terms with the reality that attacks by Fulani herdsmen, [occur] frequently in Asso, but no place is spared.”
Father Yeyock added: “It’s again unfortunate that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are known by the government of Nigeria, those who sponsor them, too, and yet no action is taken.”
Highlighting that Fulani militants receive military training abroad before going on to target Christians, he said: “With the news of the current attacks, Nigerians have argued with the earlier narrative from the federal government who have very often told the world that it was always a clash between the herdsmen and farmers.”
“It’s now evidently revealing that there is more to it than meets the eye… It is purely a religious jihad in disguise.”
According to reports, the Acting Governor of Benue State, Benson Abounu, said last Tuesday’s attack showed that the security breakdown had “gone beyond [a] farmers-herders crisis.”
2. A beautiful profile of Reggie Littlejohn’s dedication to ending China’s deadly abortion regime:
3. The U.S. Catholic bishops on the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017 (H.R. 1881)
of more than 20,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older revealed some alarming findings:
• Nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent).
• One in four Americans (27 percent) rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them.
• Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43 percent) and that they are isolated from others (43 percent).
• One in five people report they rarely or never feel close to people (20 percent) or feel like there are people they can talk to (18 percent).
• Americans who live with others are less likely to be lonely (average loneliness score of 43.5) compared to those who live alone (46.4). However, this does not apply to single parents/guardians (average loneliness score of 48.2) – even though they live with children, they are more likely to be lonely.
• Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis.
• Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is the loneliest generation and claims to be in worse health than older generations.
• Social media use alone is not a predictor of loneliness; respondents defined as very heavy users of social media have a loneliness score (43.5) that is not markedly different from the score of those who never use social media (41.7).
5. Part of my recent conversation with the author of a book on loneliness here.
6. Bishop Robert Barron about that White House Correspondents Dinner speech:
One of the extraordinary but often overlooked qualities of a system of objective morality is that it is a check on the powerful and a protection of the most vulnerable. If good and evil are objective states of affairs, then they hem in and control the tendency of cultural elites to dominate others. When objective moral values evanesce, armies of the expendable emerge, and what Pope Francis aptly calls a cultura del descarte (a throwaway culture) obtains. One of the indicators that this has happened is lots of people in tuxedos and formal gowns, sipping from wine glasses, and laughing while someone jok es about the murder of children.
Some of the people who do the most good have a willingness to be radically changed. They are sensitive to the problems around them, which a lot of us are, but they are also willing to transform their lives to address them, which a lot of us don’t consider.
10. Have you discovered The Sethany Show?
Announcing an upcoming forum this month on foster care. Details here.
On Love’s Revolutionary Healing Power – the Sisters of Life make a cameo … if you don’t know them, do click
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