Constitution is anti-life, says cardinal

By Nomusa Cembi

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, has described the South African constitution as "fiercely anti-life through its drive to promote contraception, abortion on demand and same-sex marriages".

He was speaking to Catholic educators at a conference at Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg at the weekend.

The constitution, he said, was being placed above all else, replacing the wisdom drawn from the human family and what had been there for generations.

"Human beings cannot function without a deity," Napier said.

People were not challenging these aspects of the constitution because they did not want to be seen as unpatriotic, undemocratic and racist.

"It's not on," Napier said. "It's against nature. It is against what marriage was intended for - to have children. That kind of activity cannot bring life. There is no way we can give a person the right to do something that is morally wrong."

Napier said while there was a vision for Catholic education, it was equally critical to keep an eye on what was happening in general education.

He said general education was marked by violence, lack of respect, loss of respect for traditional values, lack of delivery of resources and a lack of delivery of quality education.

There was evidence to show that general education had a vision but it was ideologically based and pushed by the ruling party.

General education had excluded God, especially His role in human affairs.

Napier also said there was a campaign to make churches critical of government.

The root cause of the malaise in general education resulted from the denial of God.

Napier said the necessary response to this would be to draw out in children what was in them: the core values of every religion and in any spirituality.

He said discipline should be instilled in children from an early age. He called for the use of wisdom gained from campaigns such as Standing For the Truth Campaign of the the apartheid era.

"The campaign said we would not submit to immoral laws. It took the form of defiance campaigns," he said.

Napier said political correctness was moving people further away from the truth.

"I hear people addressing God as 'He' or 'She'. Political correctness tells us to do so, but is it the truth?" he asked.

Napier said he would like to see emphasis placed on key values such as the respect for the sanctity of life, respect for humans and humanity as shown in ubuntu and in finding our spiritual self.

"These are the key values that education needs to underline. Most young people are searching and looking for meaning in their lives.

"They are trying to find the key values they will need to have to appreciate who they are, where they are and why they are," Napier said.

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