Responsible Procreation: The Catholic Church and the Practices in the Marriage Institution in Igboland, Nigeria

Author: Azuakor Paul Okwuchukwu
Department: Religion and Human Relations
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Procreation, in this work is contradistinguished from mere reproduction in animals and plants, as the generation of offspring by human beings created in the image and likeness of God. Humankind’s special position in the order of creation demands that procreation must be done responsibly. Traditionally (also in Igboland), responsible procreation is presumed to be within marriage. But, modernity, with a new found relativism, liberalism and aversion for the religious has attacked the marriage institution and sought to make marriage to include gay and lesbian
cohabitations. It has also desacralised sex and championed the use of contraceptives and abortion in the sphere of birth control. Confronted with infertility, it has enthroned artificial reproductive technology, which often time desecrates the dignity of the woman, desecrates, manipulates and destroys life in its early stages. Moreover, Igboland allows procreation in certain circumstances that are not really marriages; and is partially following modernism. Using interviews, opinion polls and the library research methods of gathering information, and through the tool of rational analysis and deduction this study showed the stance of modernism on procreation to be
irresponsible. This study, using the teachings of the Catholic Church showed that that sex and responsible procreation must be only within a heterosexual monogamous marriage, that all artificial contraceptive devices are wrong, but that birth control should be through Natural Family Planning and that all biomedical techniques must be therapeutic and never anti life. But, among others, it found out that the Igbo society is not immune to contraception and assisted reproduction. Some recommendations are: the law and civil society should adhere to the position of the Catholic Church on matters of responsible procreation as it is a moral issue concerning man who is a moral being that must return to God, that there should be increased pro-life catechesis, more disciplined way of living, and respect for God’s commandments.

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