(Vatican Radio) The 2012 Pax Christi International Peace Award was
presented on Wednesday to Nigerian Archbishop John Onaiyekan for his
tireless efforts in promoting understanding and dialogue in Africa
between people of different faiths. Onaiyekan, who has been archbishop
of Abuja since 1994, was named last week as one of six Catholic leaders
who will be created cardinal in a forthcoming consistory here in the
Vatican on November 24th.
The Co-Presidents of Pax Christi
International Marie Dennis, from the U.S and Bishop Kevin Dowling of
Rustenburg, South Africa, commended Archbishop Onaiyekan for the
important role he has played in building bridges between Christians and
Muslims in Nigeria and beyond.The award ceremony took place at the Pax
Christi International headquarters in Brussels just days after the
latest suicide bomb attack in northern Nigeria killed at least 8 people
and injured hundreds more. The attack on a Catholic Church during Mass
on Sunday was similar to others claimed by the radical Islamic group
Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen talked to Archbishop
Onaiyekan about the difficulties of promoting dialogue while churches
continue to be the target of such attacks…..
attacked but also markets attacked, Christians killed but also Muslims
killed and there is a devaluation of human life which is far more
serious than the fact that we are attacked as Christians…..
most terrible for us is to hear them say they are doing this in the
name of God – for us that is impossible to understand, and most Nigerian
Muslims too say, no, this is not Islam….
We have common needs of
poverty and disease – mosquitos do not distinguish between Christians
and Muslims, HIV-AIDS affects both together – and we find that when
religious leaders put aside this attitude of ‘us against them,’ there’s
plenty of room for working together”
Source: The Vatican Today
”The truth might be hard to say, painful to bear or even drastic for the truth sayer but still needed to be said”. ALISON.