Chirstians can defend themselves against threats- Catholic archbishops



- At a time Christians think there are moves to frustrate their religious practices through violence, men of God are beginning to speak out

- Two archbishops of the Catholic church have joined the growing condemnation of religious intolerance in the country

Two respected archbishops of the Roman Catholic Church have declared that Christians have the right to defend themselves when threatened.

The archbishop of Jos and president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, and the Archbishop of Lagos, Most Reverend Adewale Martins, spoke as alleged violence against Christians in the northern part of Nigeria continues to spread.

The Nigerian Tribune reports that the top clerics made the declarations separately at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Association of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, held at the St Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos state on Friday, January 27.

In Kaduna state, several Christians have been allegedly killed in attacks that have allegedly taken months for the authorities to speak and act against.

On his position, Archbishop Kaigama said: “The phrase, ‘kill them’ or ‘retaliate’ is not in the vocabulary of Jesus Christ. Our religion does not allow us to kill.

“However, that doesn’t mean we should sit down and allow destruction of our lives and properties. You have a right to self-defence when threatened. Divine and human laws allow it.

“It is not easy to be a Christian in some of these Northern states and therefore, we must join forces with the Christian community in prayer. The church is in trouble.

“Many things that hold us together are being destroyed but our faith cannot be destroyed. When we hold onto Jesus, we shall overcome,” he said.

On his part, Archbishop Martins said: “Every human being has the fundamental right to life and to protect his or her life as well. Christian, and everyone at that, has the right to defend themselves when threatened.

“What is expected, however, is that we do not go out to attack anybody. We are not permitted to be aggressors.”