Faith and Justice: The Nigerian people are hospitable and hard-working, but they face huge problems: corruption, sectarian violence, and an almost total dependency on oil revenues.
Faith and Justice: Half-Christian, half-Muslim, Nigeria is a country where faiths must live together in peace or they will die in great numbers.
Under the shadow of Boko Haram violence, Nigerians head to the polls Saturday to elect a president and a deputy in a vote observers say is critical for the country's stability and economic progress. Many Christians in Nigeria's north are backing a Muslim candidate to lead their country away from the brink of violence and chaos.
Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north and the leader of the All Progressives Congress party, is challenging the leadership of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south who heads the ruling People's Democratic Party.
The Nigerian bishops oppose gay marriage but do not support the criminalization of homosexuals, said Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama in Rome while attending the Synod of Bishops on the family.
The media misunderstood the position of the Nigerian church, he said. "The Catholic church respects all human beings. And we believe that we are all created in the image and likeness of God," he said. But for cultural and religious reasons, "we Africans believe that marriage is between a man and a woman."
"That does not mean that we hate people of that orientation," he added.
Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja supported Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's proposal to offer amnesty for any Boko Haram militants who stop fighting and embrace peace.
In a June 3 letter, Onaiyekan said any amnesty arrangement must be undertaken with the goal of reconciliation among the government, militants and victims of violence.
The letter was the fifth the cardinal sent from Rome to Nigeria to address violence in his country. The cardinal said he is in Rome tending to church-related business.
The Catholic church in Nigeria condemned the morning rush-hour bombing of a bus station near the capital of Abuja that killed at least 71 people and injured dozens more Monday.
"The killing of innocent Nigerians once again makes us ask how many more innocent people must die before a solution is found to the brutality and insecurity of lives and property in our country," said Fr. Christian Anyanwu, national director of social communications for the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the social development arm of the Nigerian bishops' conference.
Grace on the Margins: The Vatican has remained silent as Uganda and Nigeria passed anti-homosexuality legislation. Where is Pope Francis?
The issue is especially pressing in Africa, where Nigeria recently adopted harsh prison terms for people in same-sex relationships.