Christian leaders in the West African nation of Nigeria have hailed Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) for clarifying that the Catholic Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions, terming the move “godly and timely.”

On Monday, March 15, Vatican’s CDF responded “negative” to the question, “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?”

In the clarification published by the Holy See Press Office, the Prefect of CDF, Jesuit Luis Cardinal Ladaria said that Pope Francis “was informed and gave his assent to the publication” of the response.

“Our joy knew no bound when we learnt that the decision of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), rejecting the same-sex union or marriage was endorsed by Pope Francis. It is one decision too many,” representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said in their Tuesday, March 16 statement.

The Christian leaders, among them, representatives of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, say they agree with the Holy Father that the “godly and timely decision” is “not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite.”

In the statement signed by CAN’s General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, the church leaders in Nigeria “commend Pope Francis for standing by the scripture that is superior to any civilization.”

The Holy See’s response is “the position of the Scripture as stated unambiguously in Genesis 9:20-27, Genesis 19:1-11, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:10,” CAN representatives say.

“Whatever law that contradicts these passages of the Bible is totally unacceptable, reprehensible and must be rejected,” they emphasize in their statement obtained by ACI Africa.

The Christian leaders say that they “totally agree” with the Vatican’s stand that what is to be blessed needs to be “objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord.”

Making reference to CDF’s response, CAN representatives go on to say, “For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stables, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (that is, outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”

“We commend the Nigerian Government for resisting the pressure to reverse its anti-same-sex policy and law,” CAN representatives further say in their March 16 statement.

They urge African countries that have approved homosexual unions to “retreat,” adding in reference to homosexuality, “Even the practice is accursed to the animals, we wonder why normal human beings will be practicing it; we condemn it in strong terms.”

Source: http://aciafrica.org