The Sunsets for Charles Iyizoba

23 01 2022

There are two types of people in our lives: those who bring happiness when they come and those who bring happiness when they go away from us.” May we remain the former! We need to give more and take less. We need to share more and own less. We need to realize the importance of our fellow man as the backbone of stability. We need to look more to realize that we are not different from one another. We need to create a world where we can all peacefully live the life we choose and trust each other, to the greater Glory of God

—Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.251).

Brief Biography of Barrister Charles Iyizoba

Early years

Charles Chukwuka Iyizoba was born at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1945, in Enugu. He was the third of Chief and Mrs. Richard Onuora Molokwu Iyizoba’s nine children. Two weeks later, he was christened at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Coal Camp, Enugu. He went to St. Anna’s Primary School in Ahiaeke from 1958 to 1959, and the College of the Immaculate Conception (C.I.C) in Enugu from 1960 to 1964. His favorite subject was English literature, and he received high marks throughout his elementary school years, endearing him to many of his teachers as well as the school principal.

Enugu Campus/Biafran war

After clearing the West African School Certificate exams with flying colors, he began studying law at the University of Nigeria Enugu campus in 1965. However, his law studies were cut short by the outbreak of the Nigerian–Biafra conflict in 1966. He was willing to put his life on the line to help others. For example, during a disturbance that resulted in the massacre of non-Igbo students on the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Charles offered to shelter certain Yoruba students by hiding them in his room. When a machete-wielding mob surrounded his room, shouting for their blood, Charles refused to bulge and instead barred the door with his body, telling them they had to kill him first before killing them. When he accused the blood-thirsty mob of being no better than the brutal killers of Igbos in the North, they backed down and dispersed, even feeling ashamed of themselves.

New York (1971)

Charles, heartbroken by the destruction of Eastern Nigeria, departed the country on March 8, 1971, to seek a degree in political science at Newark State College in New York. His intellectual prowess was acknowledged, and he quickly made friends with lecturers and students alike, as was his natural ability to make friends. He transferred to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in September 1971 to study political science. His charity and care for his classmate were on display once more. He, Willie, and Eddie assisted numerous freshly arrived African students by housing them in their flat for months while assisting them in finding jobs. Because students from several African countries such as Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and Senegal were living there, their apartment was often referred to as the Organization of African Union (OAU). Charles was an “A” student at Rutgers, making the 1972 edition of “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.” After completing his degree program, he was awarded a scholarship to The University of Columbia in September 1973, where he graduated with a Master’s degree before returning to Nigeria in 1975 to take up a position with the Ministry of External Affairs under the Federal Civil Service Commission in Lagos.

Ministry of External Affairs (1975)

Although it is often assumed that battling corruption in Nigeria is perilous and that eradicating corruption in government service is a pipe dream, Charles was determined to give it a shot. During his tenure at the Ministry of External Affairs, his honesty and integrity were obvious to all, and he would not engage in unethical behavior, such as producing fake receipts to embezzle unspent funds; instead, he would attach the receipts, air ticket stubs, and return the unspent money to the treasury. When in charge of an official visit with his colleagues, he always ensures that others get the best hotel rooms first and he comes in last, so he is frequently left without a place to sleep and has to sleep on sofas and couches. He followed due process in the Ministry’s staff employment selection, basing his decision on the candidate’s merits regardless of ethnicity, and refused to hire based on ethnicity. Charles believed that his soul’s integrity was in jeopardy if he violated his conscience and succumbed to the injustices of nepotism and dominance perpetuated in the Ministry, and he was willing to pay the price of falling out of favor with very powerful interest groups.

Expectedly, his principles of honesty and transparency enraged some less scrupulous individuals who were determined to give Charles a hard time; however, he took it in stride, never holding grudges and striving to forgive and help those individuals to rise to higher standards and remind them that the main reason why they should be ethical was that even if they were not accountable to anyone on the planet, they would still have to give an account to God. He saw people behind institutions and organizations, and as a result, he was not hesitant to go the extra mile to assist a friend, sibling, or colleague who was suffering from injustice. On the other hand, he was not hesitant to challenge those in positions of power in government to live up to a higher standard of their calling and execute their duty for the general good.

“We are atomized and it is now everybody to himself. We have crawled into a cocoon, unconcerned about the well-being of others. We have swallowed the evil fruit of materialism, ready to kill even our children for money. We have placed materialism as our new god. We can no longer tell the truth to power. We are afraid of the truth. We are afraid for our lives. We can no longer stand up for principles

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.207).

Nigerian Embassy in Washington (1977)

Around the middle of August 1977, he was assigned to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington as the secretary of education, where he was tasked with caring for thousands of Nigerian students visiting the United States. He was a firm believer in the notion that a leader must also be a servant. As a result, he spent countless hours assisting numerous Nigerian students who were in some sort of problem, while never asking for anything in return. For example, a Nigerian student was arrested by police when an inebriated female accused him of rape. When the Nigerian Embassy became aware of the situation, Charles intervened and requested that the accuser be produced by the police. When she was brought to the station, she admitted that the claim was made in jest and the police had no choice but to release the afflicted student. Furthermore, Charles was detribalized and would assist students regardless of where they came from in the country. For example, there was a case of a doctorate student from Borno state who was attacked by some people back home who were jealous that he was about to receive a Ph.D. and hence withheld his scholarship monies. Charles resolved to assist the pupil and sent letters telling the governor of Borno state of the problem and paid the student all his scholarship money. The student was pleased and sincerely appreciative that an Igbo man from the south would risk his life for him even as his fellow northerners tormented him. Charles reminded him that if it came down to justice, he would risk his life for everyone, regardless of clan or faith. The student was eternally thankful because he was able to complete his Ph.D.

In another case, the US Department of Immigration detained a Yoruba student from the University of Maryland who was working part-time to fund his tuition. The issue was that he dropped out of school to earn money to finish his education, but he had no work permit, only a student visa, and because he was no longer a student, he was detained for deportation. A number of his classmates protested at the Nigerian Embassy, and Charles raised the issue with the US director of immigration, urging him to bring back the car carrying the youngster to the airport and cancel the deportation and he did. Furthermore, he made it possible for students who completed their Bachelor’s degree in a record-breaking two years instead of four, to use the remaining time for their Master’s degree while still on the same scholarship, saving the country time and money and easing the burden on students who would otherwise have to return to Nigeria and apply for another scholarship, which might be unsuccessful.

Internal Liaison Unit (1980)

Charles was recalled to Nigeria late in January 1980, to the Internal Liaison Unit, Protocol Department, where he worked as a protocol officer in charge of managing state visits by foreign leaders, arranging state dinners for visiting Heads of State, selecting appropriate gifts for the visiting leaders, correspondences with foreign embassies on protocol issues, and issues about diplomat accreditation and their welfare in Nigeria. His responsibilities included raising the Guard of Honor and screening those requesting an audience with our President. He brought professionalism to the job and worked tirelessly to earn the respect of foreign leaders. When he was in charge of organizing the visits to Nigeria of prominent African heads of state such as President Arap Moi of Kenya, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Joo Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo of Brazil, and, most importantly, Pope John Paul II in 1982, he was able to save Nigeria from some embarrassing situations.

Visit of Pope John Paul II (1982)

It was an honor and a pleasure for Charles to be in charge of planning and coordinating the celebrations when Pope St. John Paul II visited Nigeria in 1982. In his memoir, he recalls some of the unforgettable anecdotes:

On the day the Pope was to meet with other Christian religious leaders at the State House, Marina, which had a large garden. One of the first to arrive was the head of the Methodist Church. I shook his hand and jokingly said, “Your Eminence, what are you doing here? This is the Catholic Pope.” He burst into laughter and said, “No, no, he is the head of all Christians.” I too burst into laughter

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.180).

Charles was able to guarantee that anyone who comes into proximity to the Pope dressed and behaved appropriately. For example, when he spotted that one of the NTA’s senior female anchors was inappropriately dressed since she was wearing shorts and a “see-through” blouse, he pulled her aside and questioned her why she was so barely dressed, knowing who was coming. When she gave an unsatisfactory response, Charles summoned the security guards and requested that she be removed from the Presidential area, where she would have no interaction with the Pope. He also protected the Pope from intruding politicians who wanted to colonize the Pope’s time and space, preventing him from effectively meeting with others. He also prevented them from crowding the Pope’s helicopter during hectic schedules, allowing Pope John Paul to have a few precious words with his Bishops and Cardinals during flights. Overall, Charles protected the Pope from the deplorable press and political abuse, and I am sure Pope John Paul II was thankful.

University of Buckingham (1984)

The military regime of Buhari, which replaced the democratic government in 1984, ushered in a slew of retirements, including Charles’. Following that, he planned to return to the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus to finish the legal studies he had abandoned in 1971 but was convinced and funded by his friend, Bertrand Ude, to attend the University of Buckingham instead. As a result, in March 1985, he enrolled in an accelerated legal degree program at the University of Buckingham and graduated in 1987, returning to Lagos to attend the Law School in September 1987. In 1988, he was admitted to the bar. Additionally, he met and married Florence in 1992, and their first child, Onyinye, was born on November 16, 1992.

Nigerian Ports Authority (1994)

Charles was appointed Liaison Officer to the Nigerian Ports Authority by the Minister of Transport, Ebenezer Babatope, in January 1994, and was promoted to General Manager, Marketing within a few weeks. He set out to modernize the NPA marketing department, which he found to be dormant and lacking in the most basic of amenities such as computers. He approved the purchase of computers for many departments, particularly the Department of Computers, Statistics, and Planning, and hence the department was able to issue its first timely end-of-year report since its existence. The increased ease of doing business was one of the most distinguishing elements of his era. Businessmen who previously had to bribe their way through the Ports bureaucracy to get their goods approved began to receive express services and their import paperwork signed without having to pay large bribes. His subordinates adored him because he would pay them visits and get down to their level. He had an open-door policy, meaning that anyone could come to him with a problem, and he helped a lot of people. Furthermore, he would not hesitate to take up an issue hurting little people with the Managing Director of the Port Authority, encouraging him to approve what these junior staff wanted. He was the voice of those who had no voice. People accused him of not knowing how to do “big guy”; he didn’t know how to toss people around. Rather, he treated everyone fairly, regardless of their social standing. He wrote in his book, Life is for Others:

There is always the fallacy among our top men that you have to keep your distance from your subordinates who have to live in fear of the “Oga.” The fallacy here is the saying that, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” I have discovered that it does not work that way. Once a leader brings himself to the level of his co-workers, shows them the way and treats them with concern, shows interest in their well-being, they will give him so much loyalty that he can repose his confidence in them

 Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.234).

As if to round out the picture of who he is, he tells us an anecdote about how he interacted with his driver when working in the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs:

I remember when I was in State House Protocol; a driver was assigned to me to take me to Ilorin on an official trip. The man had no notice that he would travel that day and as we set off, he asked for permission to enter Bariga where he lived so he could tell his wife and take a change of clothes. I agreed. When we got to this slum area, the man apologized and asked me to wait in the car while he rushed in to pack his things. I refused and said that there was no way I could come to his street and not enter his abode and see his wife and the family. I told him that he must try to eat something in his house before we set off on the long journey. We got in and the wife was bathing her newborn baby. I greeted her and my man went in to pack and asked his wife to prepare some garri for him. I held the baby whilst she was on this chore. When she brought the food, my man asked me to join him, that the wife made enough for two of us. I declined, but the wife insisted, so I joined in the meal. Before we drove off, I donated to the new baby as is customary. On the way, my driver told me, “Oga, for somebody like you I go do anything. I thanked him for the sentiment. I had shared a meal in his one-room apartment without doing “big man”

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.235).

Furthermore, while working for the Nigerian Ports Authority, he could have fallen to corruption to become wealthy. On the contrary, he fought against it, knowing that when good people fail, evil grows stronger; thus, he fought corruption, embezzlement, and graft like a gladiator, armed only with prayer, faith in the sacredness of living truthfully, and a desire to save his soul when he must stand before God’s judgment. In his book “Life is for others,” he describes a conversation he had with someone who came to inform him that he could make a lot of money by extorting money for attaching his signature as a General Manager:

I laughed aloud as was my custom. I assured him that I knew that each time I signed on a paper for a shipping company it was worth one million naira. But that was not what I was sent to do on the job. My reading of my job was to give all possible assistance to businesses so that their businesses would expand, would hire more people, and create more jobs, which would lead to the expansion of the economy. I did not believe in the extortion that I knew was going on. My father did not bring me up that way. That was not the reason he gave his children a good education. He would turn in his grave if he knew his son was now a bribe-taker. It would mean that all the education I had was for nothing. The man could not utter a word. He just shook his head and left

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.241).

Charles fought against the hydra-headed creatures of corruption, knowing that unless it died, things would continue to deteriorate and ordinary Nigerians would die in misery. He fought and lost at times. Though not everyone agrees with his methods, no one can deny the honesty and truth contained in his words. There is no doubt that Charles suffered as a result of his upright way, constantly resisting the dictates of an oppressive and unjust system, and that it would have been easier for him to just give in, be concerned only with his own pockets, and gradually lose his soul in the myriad of corruption and become just another thoroughly corrupt civil servant, but he believed that despite the odds, the fight to right this country must begin with someone, and he was that someone. Indeed, anyone seeking to live a moral life must seek strength from God. As a result, Charles was a God-fearing man, a regular practicing Catholic who attends Mass daily, because the eternal salvation of his soul was more important to him than any human success. He writes in his memoir that he even asked God to remove him from NPA if the brazen corruption going on there would cost him his soul:

Early in December 1995, I came into my office, locked the door, and prayed to God in this way, “Almighty Father, you have seen how they throw money around in this place. If you know that I would lose my soul if I continue here, please Lord, take me away and find another place for me.

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.254).

Retirement and Death

As a result, Charles retired from the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1995 and was delighted with the birth of his second daughter, Ekanma, in July 1995. Since his retirement, he has been able to rely on the goodwill of friends and family. He also served on the boards of the AIT television network and Thisday Newspaper in various capacities. Despite his health issues, he has devoted a significant portion of his time to raising his two girls. He moved his family from Lagos to Abuja, where he died on December 18, 2021, after a lengthy and severe illness. Some may argue that Charles failed in his mission because he died before his dreams could be realized. Everyone, however, fails because everyone dies. The important thing is to live in such a way that when death comes, the eternal reward of living forever with God in heaven, which He promised those who strove against great odds to keep his commandment in this life, is not a pipe dream but a reality, and this was how Charles lived and died, and may the good Lord whom he served grant him the reward of eternal salvation according to His promises through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Photo Reel

With his daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma
With his wife, Florence and his daughter, Onyinye
With his daughter, Ekamma
With, his brother in-law, Gabe and friends
With Carmella Ezekwe, Chike Ezekwe and friends
With Ik Onyiuke and Chief Robert Clarke
With Kaechi Ezekwe Ogbuagu
With Frank Alamah (sitting behind)
With Ijeoma and her husband
With Gabe, Liz, Florence and Ekamma and Emeka
With Odera and Ekamma
With Willy, Chiedu and friends
With family ( L-R Florence, Balum, Liz, Agozie)
With Brother Eddie and sister, Liz

Tributes

TRIBUTE TO MY TEACHER, MENTOR, AND HUSBAND

Dear Charlie, to me, you were a teacher, a mentor, and a husband. You were the best father to our two wonderful daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma. I learned a lot from you in these past 29 years we were together. You were the best uncle to your nephews and nieces and the best brother to your siblings and cousins. I am your nwayi calabar as you would often affectionately tease me. You were a very neat and meticulous person, and your life philosophy is best described as “out of this world.” You were sincere, upright, peaceful, principled, and kind and you treated everyone you met, young and old, with dignity. You were very religious (he was praying in his sickbed before he finally lost his voice on Thursday, December 16th), and it still feels like a dream that you are no longer with us. It hasn’t been easy for me or the kids, but we can’t question GOD, the giver, and taker of life. We miss you and know you’re in a better place where there’s no more suffering and pain, watching over “onyinye-again” and “fatso,” as you affectionately referred to them. Continue to rest in the LORD’s bosom until we meet to part no more.

Your wife
FLORENCE

A TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER

I was watching Sean Connery in Goldfinger order a vodka martini “shaken not stirred” when it occurred to me that I would never watch any 007 movies, or any movie for that matter, with my Daddy again. I have so many wonderful memories of my Daddy, but my favorites are of us watching late-night movies together. Nobody knows how many times Daddy watched The Incredibles with a cigarette and a glass of whiskey in his hand.

Daddy loved all the classics: 007, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and even Disney classics like The Jungle Book. Thank you so much, Daddy, for all of the wonderful movie memories… I can’t wait to share them with any future children I may have.

I love you, Daddy. May the force be with you.

Your daughter
ONYINYE

TRIBUTE TO THE BEST DADDY IN THE WORLD

When I think of you, my Daddy, the first thing that comes to mind is your great knowledge of many things and your love of books, which you have transmitted to me. You loved music; especially the Beatles and I remember us singing along to the Beatles as you drove in the car. Indeed, I recall that when I was six, every Friday night was movie night for us, Daddy! And we would watch classics like Jaws and James Bond, and you would try to explain their complicated plots and storylines to my six-year-old mind. Daddy, you made me love and appreciate different genres of music. We would often sit side by side, talking and exchanging views on different genres of music. All I can say is that my sister and I are extremely grateful to have you as our Daddy.  You were not the typical Daddy, boring and full of “do’s” and “don’ts,” rather you were a cool Daddy, so non-judgmental, so loving, so caring. You were much more than a Daddy to me, you were my friend, and I will miss you greatly.

I don’t know where I’d be without you, Daddy.

Your daughter
EKAMMA

ADIEU IS A HARD WORD TO SAY TO YOU, CHARLIE!

We miss you. You were an embodiment of love, patience, kindness, and intelligence all wrapped up in non-apologetic contentment. You would trade everything for peace in your life. You loved all and always looked out for every family member especially your nieces and nephews. Their Christmas joy will never be complete without their Big Uncle Charlie. Justice for all was your key principle. You fished out the needy for your voluntary assistance. Anyone meeting you at your quiet moment would be greeted with a wide smile and gentle invitation to shots of Whiskey and sticks of cigarettes over which you shared your deep thoughts about life and its uncertainties. Charlie, in your journey through life, you touched many lives such that your death has left a void in the family that none can fill. However, we are consoled by your long-standing relationship with Jesus and Mary, his mother. We love you Charlie, but they love you more. Stay happy with them till we meet to part no more Adieus!


Your brother and his wife
JOHNNY AND ELIZA

TRIBUTE TO MY IMMEDIATE JUNIOR BROTHER CHARLIE, THE STAR OF THE FAMILY

When we were growing up, Charlie was the star of the family. He caused no problems for our father. Papa was overjoyed with him because he aced all of his exams and was an obedient son who never did anything to deserve a beating from papa; less than what could be said for some of us who barely passed our exams and frequently did things that earned us deserved beatings from papa. He continued on his path of honor throughout his life, doing everything as and when it was due, and lived a full life by making the most of what God gave him. He had devoted friends who believed in him and were always available to him. I want to use this opportunity to place on record with gratitude the immense love showered on Charles by the family especially the younger Iyizoba generation. I thank you all and I pray that your children would do more for you!
May the soul of my brother Charles and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God Rest in Peace Amen!

Your brother
CHIEF OSSY IYIZOBA
Onyimonyi Onyibalu
Ajie Nimo
Ebubedike Enugwu-Ukwu
Onyima

IT IS DIFFICULT TO PUT INTO WORDS!

Please bear with me as I try to put into words how much I loved and respected my brother Charlie. Those of us who knew Charlie must believe that angels do exist among us on Earth. Charlie was a true angel who was unconcerned about material things. He was one of a kind, generous to a fault, and fiercely protective and caring for all who were fortunate enough to know him.
I recall a close friend of ours getting engaged to a lady from a low-income family. The majority of people were opposed to the union. Charlie drew everyone’s attention with his usual calm demeanor and asked, “What’s wrong with you guys, don’t you realize that this union will lift a lot of people out of poverty that houses will be built, that school fees will be paid?” That was Charlie at his best, always looking out for others. Life is for Others, his memoir, encapsulated his personality and worldview.
In the 1980s, he was the Education Counselor at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC, where he housed and fed a large number of Nigerian students. He did this out of the goodness of his heart, expecting nothing in return. His home was always open to those in need. Charlie was a voracious reader and student. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and a law degree from The University of Buckingham. Despite his accomplishments, he remained humble and true to his beliefs.

It was the last thing I wanted or expected to hear from Charlie’s wife, Florence that he had left us. To say I went insane would be an understatement. My wife Donnie (Donelda, as Charlie always called her) was completely taken aback. Charlie and my wife had a special bond since the first time they met. I knew she’d have a difficult time dealing with this devastating news, just like I did. We lived with Charlie when we moved to Lagos in 1984, and we had a great time with him and his many friends. He was always concerned with our comfort and well-being.I can’t say I’m alone in my grief because I’m not. I am in mourning with all of my siblings, as well as other family members and friends. My sorrow over my brother’s death extends to his two lovely daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma, but I take comfort in knowing that I will always see him in them. They are aware that I will always be available to them.
Rest In Perfect Peace my brother, Charlie until we meet again.

Your Brother
WILLIE

I HAD NEVER KNOWN WHAT IT FELT LIKE TO LOSE A BROTHER!

I’d never known what it was like to lose a brother before. A brother with a personality like Charlie, who took up so much space in my life as we grew up and into adulthood. My brother Charlie, I remember how, when I lived with you in Washington, you would take care of all my needs, including washing and ironing my clothes. When I went out with friends, you would give me your credit card as insurance in case I ran out of money.
Now I know what it’s like to have a gaping hole that nothing can quite fill – memories that I now hold even tighter. I’m waiting to hear your voice above the din of our Iyizoba shouting matches, which, to the untrained ear, may appear to be a fight but are usually just casual conversations. Goodbye, my dear brother. We will miss you terribly. God is the ultimate authority.
Rest peacefully in the Lord whom you served so well!

Your brother
CHIEDU

CHARLIE, THE ENIGMA!

It’s difficult to write about someone you’ve known your entire life; where do I begin, where do I end? Charlie, you had always been the family intellectual, avid reader, and philosopher. Understanding issues and putting things in their proper context was your strong suit, thanks to your analytical mind… You would have done a much better job on this. Charlie, you were a kind and caring person. You interacted with people of all ages and gained great, loyal, and trusted friends who stood by you through thick and thin. The younger generation will never forget how you used the ‘carrot and stick approach to teach them life lessons. You were the historian, always entertaining everyone with stories from the past. You would always find ways to entertain all of the children in the family during the holidays, taking them around town and looking for interesting masquerades, making the holidays memorable.


You were my doting big brother, arranging and sponsoring my first trip to the United States in the 1970s. Since you moved to Abuja, our bond has grown stronger. I realized who you truly were, and I appreciate you even more as a result. I tried to imitate your reading habits, but I sometimes gave up and asked you to read and explain to me later. You were a selfless man who was always concerned with the well-being of others. Even when you didn’t have the means, you were always there to help the oppressed. You never discriminated against or attempted to stratify people, which was sometimes embarrassing and uncomfortable for those who do not know you.

You did not scorn minor chores, and when someone younger offered to do them for you, you always responded that they should let you continue because it was your way of doing penance. You were a direct man who always said things as they were no matter whose ox was gored. You were the epitome of a man without guile. You were ready to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice, with no jealousy or bitterness in your heart for their good fortune. Charlie, you were a man of strong faith and your belief and trust in God’s providence were unshakeable. Our mother Mary had a special place in your heart as you constantly said your rosary.

From the onset, you seemed to understand a certain truth about the human experience and never cared for worldly things. Truly a mystery, you were “in the world” but not “of the world.” When you became too ill and had to be admitted to the hospital, I came to see you, and when I asked how you were feeling, you replied in your usual philosophical manner, “I am watching the sunset… I am watching the sun go down.” I wasn’t sure what you meant, so I told you I couldn’t see any sun in your room. You cracked a smile. I’ll never forget the parting handshake you gave me as I left that night, not realizing it was the last time I’d see you.

I believe that this verse of scripture encapsulates your life and that you won’t be denied the reward that awaits you in Heaven. Charlie, My ‘Charlie Parker’, my beloved brother, continue to rest in the Lord, until the resurrection day when we shall meet to part no more. Na n’udo I will surely miss you. A vacuum has been created in my life that only your loving memory can attempt to fill.

Psalm 24 verse 3-6 states:
“Who shall climb the mountain of the lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
Who desires not worthless things,
Who has not sworn to deceive his neighbor. He shall receive blessings from the Lord and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him,
Seek the face of the God of Jacob.”

Psalm 24 verse 3-6

Your sister
YOUR MADAM LIZ

TRIBUTE TO MY BELOVED CHARLIE

Charlie, my brother, was thoughtful. He was a man who lived for the sake of others. Thank you, Charlie, for being so selfless and thoughtful. You’ve taught me a lot about life. You took the time to teach me how to read when I was a child. You always sent me money when I was in high school to make sure I was okay. You were there to make sure I didn’t have any problems on my various trips back from the United States to Nigeria, especially at the Embassy. As a mother of four beautiful children, I appreciate that you took the time to take your nieces and nephews to see the masquerades so that they could have a vivid understanding and appreciation for their Igbo culture. You valued history and ensured that the next generation did as well.
Throughout your life, my beloved Charlie, you were always concerned with doing what was right. To say I will miss you would be an understatement. It’s surreal that you’re no longer here. Your legacy will live on through your loved ones. May your soul rest in peace. With all my love.

Your baby sister
ANN

MY DEAREST UNCLE CHARLIE PARKER!

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been born to parents who each have eight siblings. I am the first grandchild on both sides, followed by my brother Onuora; it was a long time before anyone else arrived, so we were completely spoiled by many aunties and uncles. My aunts and uncles were as important to me as my parents themselves in my early memories. My mother told me that when I was a baby, she would take me to school at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, and leave me in Uncle Charlie’s room while she went to class. Uncle Charlie described me as a “beautiful baby.”

I recall spending my vacation in Washington at Uncle Charlie’s house. There are so many memories, and Uncle Charlie’s death marks the end of an era for me. He was the most educated and well-read person I knew. He was a wealth of information. He was a true gentleman who used to chastise my husband, Nedu, for not keeping good cognac in his house. Indeed, I can’t hear a Beatles’ song without picturing Uncle Charlie.
I am going to miss you.
Look out for us from the other side, dear Uncle.
Much Love.

Your niece
EBELE

MY DEAREST UNCLE CHARLIE!

I know you are happy where you are.
I can visualize you walking into heaven with your classical wide smile.
Amongst your many great qualities, you were the epitome of COMPASSION and SELFLESSNESS.
Thank you.

Your niece
ADAORA

UNCLE CHARLIE WAS A GIFT!

If I told you everything I’ve learned from Uncle Charlie, I’d have to write a book, so I’d just pick one story.
The story is about my first day of school at Unilag in March 1992. I was living in Dolphine Estate with Uncle Charlie. When I awoke that morning, there was money and a “one naira coin” on my bedside table. I was taken aback by the sum of money and impressed that Uncle Charlie didn’t wait for me to ask. But I couldn’t figure out why he’d left a coin until I arrived at the bus station and realized that a trip from where I was to Unilag cost exactly one naira coin. I also discovered that bus drivers rarely have small change that early in the morning, and that it was best to have “one naira coin” with you. Uncle Charlie going to such lengths for me astounded me. But that was who he was.
All five years I would live with him as a student, I never had to ask for money, he would simply leave me money, and when he did not have it, he would ask his friends for me. Uncle Charlie was a gift to anyone who came into contact with him; he freely gave his time, money, and wisdom to anyone in need, but more importantly, he made other people’s problems his own and worked tirelessly to solve them. He believed that if others succeeded, he would succeed as well! Uncle Charlie was a gift to all of us.

Your nephew
Chinwuba

UNCLE CHARLIE PARKER…..IJE OMA!

Uncle Charlie and I had our little greeting custom. “Uncle Charlie Parker!” I would call out whenever we met. “Ify Again,” he’d say, his eyes gleaming and his smile cracking wide. That was our little ritual that endeared him to me, and I know it still goes on, albeit inwardly! Uncle, I can hear your voice! It’s as if you’re right in front of me!
I can feel your joy because you’ve always had such a strong connection to the afterlife. Your serene, dignified, and noble gait and demeanor are ideal for where you are right now!
Uncle, you lived this life with such acute awareness of its brevity! Everyone who knew you agrees on one thing: “He was a good man!!!” In terms of justice, you treated everyone equally, whether they were friends or foes. You were a man of integrity and moral uprightness, and you always prioritize these virtues above all else. You have truly inspired us, and your life demonstrates that a good reputation is more valuable than gold and silver!
Thank you for all of the wonderful stories and history you shared with us from your vast knowledge! We miss you and wish you a bright and joyous journey in the afterlife!
Uncle Charlie Parker…..ije Oma!

Your niece
IFEYINWA

MY DEAR UNCLE CHARLIE, SO YOU HAVE LEFT US……HMMM!

To be honest, you prepared us for this. For as long as I can remember, you’ve been open about death and its impending arrival. At first, I thought, “This uncle is so morbid,” but as I grew older, I realized that you knew from the start that this life was merely transitory. You recognized that we were all just actors on a stage and that when the time came, we would take our bows.

Uncle Charlie was a straightforward man. He never worried about accumulating worldly possessions and was quick to give out everything he had to help others. Uncle never flaunted his generosity in public; he genuinely cared for others and helped people even when he didn’t have much. Uncle remained humble and saw his achievements as a means to help others, regardless of what position he held in society, whether as a manager in the Nigerian Ports Authority or as a Diplomat in the Foreign Service.
Uncle Charlie built and maintained long-lasting relationships. He had so many prominent friends in strategic positions in society, but he didn’t let it get to his head. He was extremely loyal and kept those friendships even after they were no longer in power. Uncle Charlie’s ability to connect with anyone was one of his most endearing qualities. Uncle could strike up a conversation with anyone, regardless of their age or social status.
Uncle was a fantastic storyteller. He was extremely knowledgeable about a wide range of topics, including Nigerian history, Biafra, current events, the Iyizoba/Onyuike family tree, and so on, and we never hesitated to tap into that knowledge whenever the opportunity arose.
Uncle was always laughing, no matter what life threw at him. “Why worry about what you can’t control?” was his life philosophy. Uncle exemplified the admonition in the Bible (Matthew 6:25) that worrying is futile and that the Lord truly provides for all of our needs.
Here are some of the life lessons I learned from Uncle Charlie:

  • That we should focus on our relationship with God and eternity;
  • That family is above all else. Uncle Charlie’s love and dedication to family was worthy of emulation;
  • That wealth and material acquisitions are meaningless
  • That you cannot put a value on loyal friends and strong relationship
  • That top positions in government mean nothing when those around you are suffering
  • That whether you were the gateman or the CEO of a company, you should be treated with dignity and respect.
  • That one should always have a cheerful disposition regardless of what they are going through.

Uncle, I’ve known you my entire life, and even though your physical body is no longer with us, you will always be with us in spirit. Nimo’s family gatherings will never be the same without you. We wish we had written down more of your wise sayings, but, alas, we’ll have to make do with the memories we’ve made so far. We’re all going in the same direction, so please say hello to mummy, mama, and papa for us. We will always love you.

Your niece
IJEOMA OFODILE (NWAMMAJI)

A TRIBUTE TO UNCLE CHARLIE

Dear Uncle Charlie, I had a dream about you the other night. I dreamt you were still with us, but we all knew you were going to die. You were carrying out your annual Christmas tradition of driving us, your children, nieces, and nephews, around to see relatives. We started saying our final goodbyes to you at the last house. I started crying because we knew it was the last time we’d see you. My tears were shed not only for the loss of a loved one but also because I knew that your death meant the loss of something more. A lot of my childhood Christmas memories revolved around you transporting us from one relative to the next. I met other members of the Iyizoba family, the Onyiukes, the Ezekwes, and Agbims, all because of you. We’d go to Abagana to watch the masquerades and while we were there, we would drop by to visit the Seas.

You were the custodian of our oral history and because of you, I know the origin of the “Iyizoba” surname, a name so rare and unusual. No one could tell a story like you could, with that rich gravelly voice and a cigarette in your hand. You told stories with awe-inspiring eloquence. I used to enjoy hearing your Biafran war stories. I believe I can speak for my cousins, siblings, and myself when I say you kept us firmly rooted in our heritage. It breaks my heart to think that my children will never meet you or hear your stories. Finally, it was time for you to return to Papa, Mama, and Auntie Mmaji. The fact that you died on December 17th strikes me as symbolic. Around this time, we’d all congregate in Enugu, and then travel to Nimo, where you’d start taking us around to see relatives. That time of year will always be associated with you in my mind. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. We will miss you. We love you.

Your niece
NESOCHI

THERE’S NO STORY OF MY LIFE WITHOUT YOUR NAME IN IT, UNCLE CHARLIE!

I thought about a lot of things while I was with you in the final hours, but it never occurred to me that I would never see you again. The events of that night continue to replay in my mind, reminding me that in life, one must cherish every single moment. When we discussed the possibility of you visiting Nimo for Christmas, I didn’t hold out much hope, but you did, albeit not in the way I would have wished, but in the way God permitted.
I’ve never met anyone who didn’t take anything personally, didn’t hold grudges, didn’t demand anything, literally didn’t expect anything from anyone, and utterly and completely relied on God. Uncle, you were and continue to be the most consistent, content, and selfless person I have ever known. Uncle, you were so brave in the last few months, cleverly hiding your pain; how could we have known what you were going through? Even at the very end, you put us all first.
Thank you, Uncle, for the childhood memories and experiences you provided us. Thank you for believing in me and entrusting me with your timeless Ede & Ravenscroft wig and gown, which I proudly wear today.
God Bless you My Uncle Charlie!!!

Your niece
BALUM

THANK YOU FOR TEACHING US HOW TO BE PROUD OF OUR COUNTRY

Spending time with Uncle Charlie taught us to be proud of our country. With his smooth, raspy, velvety, deep baritone voice, he often held us transfixed with stories of his life experiences while deeply analyzing the issue with Nigeria, unafraid to speak his mind, yet we could sense a deep abiding love for his fatherland that infected us. He was aware of its capabilities, especially in light of Nigeria’s vast natural resources. Uncle Charlie, in essence, knew what the nation could be and how we should bring our talents to the land in order to help it reach its full potential.
As a result, we were eagerly planning a trip back to Nigeria soon, to reconnect with our beloved cousins and to hear Uncle Charlie’s stories of Nigeria’s rich history once more, but alas, this was not to be. “When man plans, God laughs,” as the saying goes, and death has taken away our favorite uncle. Nonetheless, Uncle Charlie, thank you for teaching us what it means to be proud of our heritage. Thank you also for reminding us to give back to the community that has given us so much.
May God continue to bless your daughters (our cousins Ekamma and Onyinye) and your wife (our Aunty Florence), and may God’s Light envelope your soul in love, peace, and fulfillment forever. Amen

Ann’s four children
LORRAINE, PATRICK, PAMELA, AND RICHARD

UNCLE CHARLIE, A TRIBUTE

Your time shall come
You will see the end in all its glory
Then you will bleed light
The thread becomes visible
Me to you

You to me to them
The thread connects one end to another
And then another
And then another
Me to you

You to me to them
The infinite weaving of Gods plan
This is not the end.

My dear Uncle Charlie, it appears that your journey on this side of the pond has come to an end, and you have crossed the pond and are now in the evergreen meadows of everlasting rest. Those of us who remain on this side, however, must deal with the void your absence has left.
Many things will be said about the many lives you have influenced, including mine. With each decade that passed, I gained a better understanding of who you were, from the tough disciplinarian of my childhood to the historian/scholar of my early adulthood to the wise sage.
One of my favorite childhood memories of you is when we were walking around egbengwu and you were telling us the history of each family house we passed, stories that no one else had ever told us, and that we may never hear again now that you are gone. I also recall you taking us to watch mmuo every December. These are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. Because of you, I appreciate our Igbo way of life even more, why it was important for us to reconnect with our ancestors, with our history. I’ll miss your face, which has similarities to my mother’s. I’ll miss your voice: smooth and deep, but a little rough around the edges. Uncle, you taught me the importance of hard work and striving for excellence in any endeavor, whether it was as simple as cleaning my room or as serious as working towards a degree; not for external adulation or reward, but for my own personal fulfillment and satisfaction. I’m grateful for this lesson.
You were a wonderful uncle to me, and I am grateful to God that I was able to accompany you on your life’s journey, even if only for a short time, and how short that time has been. Thank you for being who you are. You will live on in our memories, in our blood, in our decisions, in our breath, and in the stories, we pass down to future generations. Rest in Peace! Je n’Udo

Your nephew
ODERA ADIMORAH

TO UNCLE CHARLIE PARKER


Uncle Charlie Parker. I write this tribute to you with great sorrow and sadness. You were a one-in-a-million uncle; you were humble, kind, loving, caring, and all-around good in heart and soul! I remember you coming to my traditional wedding despite your frail health. Uncle, you were a shining example of humility, your love knew no bounds, and I thank God for the opportunity to know you. You were a great pillar of support when my father was down. I only wish we had more time to continue to appreciate you. May God Almighty keep you in perfect peace until the day of the Resurrection, Amen! My heartfelt farewell, Uncle!

Your niece and her husband
ODERA AND CHINEDU ODUNUKWE

HI UNCLE CHARLIE!

As I write this tribute, it feels completely surreal; the idea of you being gone is foreign to me because you have always been a constant in my life, much like the sun, moon, or seasons, your presence is unwavering. But that isn’t the only thing that remains constant about you. Nothing can shake your belief in what is right because your beliefs and principles are like a rock that ground you. To those on the outside, it may have appeared as “stubbornness,” but to those who know you, it is faith.

Your belief in goodness and truth. I have so many memories of you to share, but the Christmas memories you created for my siblings and cousins will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember being so terrified when we went to watch masquerades at Abagana that I began to pray and speak in tongues in an attempt to disperse them. Even as you laughed, you held my hand tightly, assuring me that nothing could happen to me as long as you were there.
I struggled with writing in the past tense when I began this tribute, but now I realize I don’t have to use the past tense because you are still here with us, in our hearts, minds, and the ways you teach us to live. Uncle Charlie, rest in the boundless love of God. Until our paths cross again.

Your Nephew
KAELO

TRIBUTE TO A BELOVED BROTHER-IN-LAW

Members of Charlie’s family who were with him in hospital in Abuja on the night of his departure saw a man who knew his earthly life was coming to an end. Charlie, who was in pain and unable to speak, seemed to improve and began talking and shaking hands with those gathered around his bed. Although it was late at night and the sky was pitch black, he claimed to have seen the sunset! Charlie was completely prepared to die. Charlie Parker is indeed gone!
The truth is that at this point in our lives, at least for those of us over the age of seventy, we are all on a bus bound for our respective final destinations. When it arrives at each person’s bus stop, he gets off and that’s the end of it! Charlie arrived at his bus stop on December 18, 2021. Many people may not have realized Charlie was ill for a long time. That was because he took his illness in stride and never made a fuss about it, nor did he want anyone else to worry about it; instead, he was quietly preparing himself for death. Indeed, he frequently expressed his desire and readiness to return to his creator. He was well-prepared, and I am confident that he is now where he wants to be and at peace. Charlie would not have wanted anybody to mourn; he would have preferred that we celebrate his life.


Charlie was a calm, intelligent quintessential gentleman of the highest caliber; he was also a lot of fun to be around. He was highly cerebral, capable of debating politics and current events in an analytical and incisive manner. As a result, people enjoyed his company and wanted to spend time with him. I’ve always had a special connection with Charlie. From the moment I was introduced to him, he took a special interest in me and refused to consider any event, such as religion, as a hindrance to his brother OSSY marrying me. Whenever I saw Charles or spoke to him on the phone, I scream at the top of my voice: “CHARLIE PARKER!”
His response: “THE RIGHT HONOURABLE”
It was a ritual! It is now over. The voice is forever silenced! Such a warm personality, a caring husband and father, a beloved brother and uncle, a loving brother-in-law! Charlie, you are in a much better place now – in God’s Hands! All your pains and troubles are over. Florence, Onyinye, and Ekamma will be okay. Rest in Peace, my beloved brother-in-law!

Your sister-in-law
CHINWE

TRIBUTE TO MY BROTHER-IN-LAW, CHARLIE

“Watching the Sun Set.” That was Charlie’s description of his impending death when my wife asked him how he was doing as he lay in the hospital bed on December 16, 2021. When my wife told me, those words, coming from a person of Charlie’s caliber and loaded with meaning, filled me with dread, and I made up my mind to see him the next day at the hospital. When I arrived the next day and saw Charlie, a man who was always vibrant and happy, lying prostrate and helpless on his sickbed, it broke my heart. As we were about to leave the hospital, he extended his hand and shook mine, without saying anything, and his eyes gazed on me, apparently in appreciation for everything we had shared; little did I know he was bidding us a final farewell. When I saw his lifeless body in the morning of the 18th, completely wrapped in cloth, I realized it wasn’t all a dream.

Brother Charlie is gone, never to return; gone with beautiful 60’s tunes constantly blaring in his head, tunes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Little Richard, and so on, tunes he loved so much when he was alive, tunes that put smiles on his face whenever we were driving together on the streets of Lagos. He was so taken with these songs that his lovely daughters fell in love with them as well. He knew almost every song by heart, word for word. He was a die-hard Beatles fan. Charlie was a simple man who cared little for the things of this world. He was happiest when he was able to assist others. He was so generous that he would borrow from others just to help the needy, and he couldn’t stand it when he saw a poor man being treated badly. It’s difficult for me to think of Charlie as someone from the past. For those of us in Abuja who spent the last days of his life with him, he will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in the Lord. Amen.

Your brother-in-law
ARC. GABE ADIMORAH

GONE FROM US BUT NEVER WILL BE FORGOTTEN

I am known as Donnie by family and friends. Charlie alone called me Donelda, hence making our relationship unique. Charlie and I met very early in my marriage to his brother Willie, and we formed an instant bond that I cannot explain. For me, it was a bond that was unaffected by time or distance. I regarded him as one of my brothers, not as my brother-in-law. I admired his intelligence, life philosophy, dry wit, giving heart, dedication to family and friends, and unwavering faith in God. Charlie was simply “one of a kind.”
I was devastated by the news of his death and walked around in a fog for several days. When I was inconsolable, I didn’t know how to console my husband and the rest of the family. If I was feeling this way, I can only imagine the profound loss his beautiful daughters, whom he adored with all his heart, were and continue to feel. Onyinye and Ekamma, I want you to know that your father will never be forgotten and that your uncle Willie and I will always be there for you.
I am going to share a poem with you that always brings me solace when I have lost a loved one and I hope it does the same for you, your mom, and the rest of the family.

If Tears Could Build A Stairway
If tears could build a stairway
And memories a lane
We would walk right up to heaven
And bring you back again
No farewell words were spoken
No time to say goodbye
You were gone before we knew it
And only God knows why
Our hearts still ache in sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you

No one will ever know
But now we know you want us
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has much in store
Since you’ll never be forgotten

We pledge to you today
A hallowed place within our hearts
Is where you’ll always stay
Author Unknown

Rest in peace my dear brother Charlie until we meet again.

Your sister-in-law
DONELDA (DONNIE) IYIZOBA

TRIBUTE TO CHARLIE, MY AMAZING COUSIN

I have pondered writing this tribute for a long time, but words fail me, and I am looking for words that can do justice to this man we all fondly refer to as Charlie Parker. He was an institution, very cerebral, extremely kind-hearted, intensely honest, fearless, and had little or no regard for financial appropriation. Charlie was unconcerned about factual embellishment and stated things as they were.
Though he was a thorn in the flesh to those who preferred not to hear the truth, he was a hero to others. Charlie was deeply religious and had a thorough understanding of the scriptures, which he applied in his daily life. He demonstrated a strong faith in God and was never afraid, not even of death. He had the makings of a saint, and in a better world, he could have been a holy Catholic priest, in my opinion.
He was a voracious reader with a deep thirst for knowledge, and he was always up to date on virtually every topic that came up for discussion. Charlie Parker was a very unassuming man who was unconcerned about class distinctions based on finances or education. He saw and interacted with people as humans.
Charlie was one of our best. Though he has left this world, his memories will always bring back fond memories that will warm our hearts. Adieu, Charlie Parker!!
May God grant your soul eternal rest. Amen!

Your cousin
FRANCA OFOR

TRIBUTE TO UNCLE CHARLES

My mother told us many stories about Uncle Charlie before I met him for the first time in the mid-1990. Uncle Charlie, she said, would buy gifts for everyone every Christmas. He was kind to poor and needy relatives, as well as friends and well-wishers. When I finally met him, I realized that everything my mother had told us about him was true.
What struck me the most was his faith in divine providence. I recall Uncle Charlie telling a true story to family and friends several times about how he needed fifty thousand naira to pay for his children’s school fees and didn’t know who to turn to, so he prayed to the Blessed Virgin for assistance.
Guess what, the next day there was a knock on his front door, he opened and lo and behold someone had left a brown envelope inside it was exactly “Fifty thousand naira he needed for the school fees, and he searched for the person but to no avail.” Isn’t that incredible? This incident boosted his faith in God. To be honest, Uncle Charlie’s faith inspired me greatly to grow closer to God. Though some may disagree, Uncle Charlie lived a saintly, humble, and God-fearing life in my opinion.
His life should inspire everyone to grow closer to God. So, Uncle Charlie, on behalf of everyone whose life you have touched in some way, I’d like to thank you for leading by example. I would especially like to thank you for restoring my faith in humanity’s goodness and revealing God’s goodness.
Adieu! Big Uncle, rest in the Lord until we meet again. Amen!

Your cousin
ELIZA “OBELE”

THE EXIT OF A GOOD MAN – CHARLES IYIZOBA

Charlie –Parker! My personal person! Charles purchased the jacket I wore to the party where I met my wonderful husband, Maduka. He liked me a lot, and we became close friends and in-laws. He was a great diplomat with a childlike inner being. He never stressed or fretted, as other Iyizobas do. He cherished his life and his cigars and whiskey. He rose to the pinnacle of his profession. He had a wonderful family and was loved and cared for by the Iyizoba family. A good man has perished. My greatest regret is that I did not communicate with Charlie or visit him to pray for, encourage, and support his recovery. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the whole Iyizoba family. We will do everything we can to assist his family in carrying on his legacy. You lived and cherished your life, Charles. Charles Iyizoba, farewell.

Your sister-in-law
DR. IFEYINWA NWAKWESI

ADIEU! BELOVED BROTHER-IN-LAW, UNCLE CHARLIE

I lost a rare gem. I lost a brother-in-law, who was so special and kind to me.
I lost a man who treated me like a daughter and extended the same to my children (Chikwelueze, Maama(Uju), and Ifunanya). I lost a mentor, a man I looked up to. I lost the world’s best brother-in-law, so truthful, disciplined to the core. I lost a brother-in-law whose good deeds, generosity, intelligence, and charisma will never be forgotten. Indeed, your departure pained me in my heart but I am consoled that you lived a good life and got to the peak of your career in sound health of mind and body. As God has deemed it fit to call you home, we surrender all to Him. He will grant us (Iyizobas) the fortitude to bear this loss while hoping to see you again on the resurrection day where we will meet to part no more.

Your sister-in-law
ENGR. MRS ADAEZE IYIZOBA
NMDPRA, Abuja

TRIBUTE TO BARRISTER CHARLES IYIZOBA, A KIND, AND COMPASSIONATE MAN

With extreme shock, I received the news of the passing unto glory of our dear brother Charles on January 1st. As I looked at the obituary poster I received, I realized how time had flown. Reminiscing, I cast my mind back to when we first met after I married his cousin Brian. He showed us love and was always kind, warm, and compassionate. I found him to be a straight talker, and you were never in doubt about where you stood with him.
We were blessed to have known him and still recall his words of wisdom that helped me understand the intricacies of their extended family setup. Navigating the complex family terrain became easier. What shall we say unto the Lord? All we have to say is thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with a kind, eloquent, compassionate, witty, warm man like Charles Chukwuka. A true inspiration whose memories are priceless. Charlie may have passed on, but you will forever be remembered, loved, and sorely missed. Rest in perfect peace, Charlie. The precious memories we have of you will always be evergreen.

Your sister-in-law
THELMA NWOKEDI

TRIBUTE TO CHARLIE IYIZOBA

Chief R.O.M Iyizoba and Dr. P. V. N Ezekwe’s children are scions of two great Onyiuke sisters: Agnes (Onyiuke) Iyizoba and Rebecca (Onyiuke) Ezekwe. They were close and loved each other, and their love is the source of the love that has endured between the Ezekwes and the Iyizobas to this day. But then Charlie arrived, the third child of Aunty Agnes (born a day before Sister Rebecca’s third child, Carol), with his unique, sterling qualities as a human being, and endearing nature, and the love, closeness, and friendship between the two families burned even brighter.

We are eulogizing Charlie in this tribute, which is heartbreaking because eulogies are mostly dedicated to the dead, and we are deeply saddened by his passing, but Charlie is truly deserving of our praises and expressions of love. Charlie was a nonconformist who may have said to himself upon entering this world, “I will live the way I see fit, and speak from the heart, unafraid to stand alone if necessary, but respectfully and considerately and true to my God, so bear with me.” That was the essence of “Charlie Parker,” as we affectionately referred to him; a man of integrity, unapologetically frank and bold, who maintained an enviable sense of detachment from worldly things until the very end. Charlie Parker was a true gentleman.
His vast knowledge of world events, as well as his analysis of situations and circumstances, usually captivated his audience. But, alongside these admirable qualities, there was a humble soul who had no qualms about deferring to the opinions of others. He was completely certain of who he was. Charlie, no airs, no pretenses. The Iyizobas have lost their lovely son, the Ezekwes have lost a brother and friend, the world has lost a true gentleman, but God has gained a Saint.

Charlie Parker, we will miss you greatly, but we are comforted by the fact that your death brought peace and an end to all the physical pain caused by your illness in recent months. Rest in peace, dear one, and know that our prayers will hasten your journey to meet your Maker. We send our heartfelt condolences to Florence, your wife, and your two lovely daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma. Our hearts go out to the incredible Iyizoba family, who showed Charlie so much love and support throughout his life. Farewell and rest in the eternal peace of Christ.

From
UMU REBECCA NWANYIEGBOGU EZEKWE, ADA ONYIUKE
(The Family of late Dr. and Mrs. P. V. N Ezekwe of Ezeawulu Nibo)

TO MY BELOVED COUSIN, CHARLIE IYIZOBA

Charlie, you were extraordinary! You have a magnetic personality; one easily warms up to you. You were candid, truthful, and open. You were bold, qualities that endeared people to you. When you took ill last year we were so pained and prayed constantly for your recovery. I had hoped to speak with you when you were taken to the hospital on the 17th of December 2021 to reassure you of our love and encourage you, but alas! We love you and always will. We miss you, Charlie. Goodbye Charlie. May your gracious soul rest in the peace of the Lord, Amen.

Your cousin
PROF. IFEOMA ENEANYA (NEE EZEKWE)

TRIBUTE TO A RARE GEM

Charlie! Though you may be gone, you have left an imprint in the hearts of many. I remember way back in those years when my father used to tell us to look up to you as a role model worthy of emulation. You were smart and always well-behaved. Your humility and kindness were unprecedented. You were ever ready to assist people, especially your own. Indeed, you touched the lives of many in one way or another. As a diplomat, you were sound. Among other things, you ensured that every Nigerian student on scholarship in the USA was able to access their student’s loan. I especially remember how you facilitated the process for me to access mine. You were a brother and a friend to me. I will live to always remember you. We will miss you dear brother, most especially your siblings. May God in His infinite mercy grant them the fortitude to bear the loss. May your soul rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord.

Your cousin
FRANK ALAMAH

MY TRIBUTE TO CHARLIE CHARLIE, MY FRIEND & OKENWADIANA.

I received the sad news of the demise of Charlie Iyizoba from Edu Boy, his youngest brother. I was devastated, to say the least, because I was hoping to see Charlie in Nimo during the 2021 Christmas Season. Unfortunately, it was not ordained. What can I say about Charlie that many who knew him well cannot imagine? Charlie was a mellow and highly educated man with indescribable humanity and love for the downtrodden. In him, I found a man who laid his treasures in Heaven. You may be wondering what I am talking about, but please bear with me and read on.

I will share only two aspects to prove my honest analysis of this man I call Charlie Charlie. In the early 1970s when I was living briefly with the Iyizobas in East Orange, NJ; I saw a rare quality in Charlie that I have never seen in anybody, talk less of any Igbo man. Charlie would get his biweekly paycheck and sign the back of the check and leave it on the table for his immediate junior brother, the indomitable Eddy Iyizoba, now Dr. Edward Iyizoba, (MD), to cash and buy food for the family and pay the apartment rent. A normal man would NEVER do that! Rather, he would contribute his share, but everyone else must also contribute their share. The majority of men today, money mongers, would NOT even contribute their fair share without a vicious fight and someone twisting their arm. These extraordinary acts of Charlie endeared him to my heart and when I say that Charlie laid his treasures in heaven; you may begin to get my point. Charlie was not a worldly-oriented soul. He was highly religious, honest, hardworking, and a lovable gentleman.

The second aspect that led me to conclude that Charlie laid his treasures in Heaven was his refusal to accept bribes to execute his job as once the General Manager of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Lagos HQ. In a country where cheating, bribery, and corruption are the way of life and are accepted as the norm, once again Charlie refused to amass wealth and riches by trampling on honesty, decency, and good ethics. He chose dedication to duty and fear of God; for it is written: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul”. He refused to collect N10M (ten million naira) bribe/extortion to sign the shipping documents for importers of various goods into Nigeria. He also refused a “cash- thank- you” from surprised shippers and businessmen who wondered whether this rare gem was a Nigerian. Yes, Charlie was a Nigerian of the Igbo Tribe. A dedicated Federal Employee who never left his office without finishing all the in-files on his desk as the GM of NPA. Yes, he had to fight the status quo and some family backlash for playing the honest man in a country where basically everyone is a thief one way or the other. His life was threatened many times by the rogue employees who found his dedication to duty an obstruction to their daily brigandage in the name of chasing money from all angles.
Charlie truly laid his treasures in Heaven for he died a poor man on earth but one of the richest men in Paradise. I will miss your company Charlie but God Almighty needs you more than we do on this wicked planet heading to perdition. Adieu, my friend, nwadiana, and a rare gem. I am sure the Angels in High Heaven are singing their welcome chorus for your soul.

To Florence, your wife, and your daughters, I say take heart for Charlie has gone home to the Lord. If this country has people in high places and positions in the ministries and parastatals who can emulate the standards Charlie set in public service and beyond, Nigeria would be on her way as a competitor among the comity of nations around the world. Charlie lived a good life without riches, mansions, millions/billions of money stashed away for generations yet unborn at the expense of the living. He is smiling at us in our follies as we go about killing one another in our quest for worldly wealth. Goodbye, my friend Charlie until we meet again. In you, the world has lost an Angel.

From your namesake & friend,
PRINCE OKEY CHARLES ONYIUKE, KOFC
NJ, USA

TRIBUTE TO UNCLE CHARLIE… A MAN WITH A HEART OF GOLD

The news of your death came as a rude shock to me, but I take solace in the fact that you lived a life of fulfillment, a life that was in sync with Jesus Christ’s command to be good to whoever is your neighbor. You are one of those who come to mind when I think of the biblical Good Samaritan. Everyone was not just a neighbor to you, but a brother and sister. You loved and cared for everyone who came into contact with you the same way you would love and care for your biological children.
You chose the best, a life of love, which the Bible clearly states is the greatest and most important virtue of all. There was no ‘Jew or Gentile’ in your good nature and giving spirit. Even if you don’t have anything material to give, you would give your time, guidance, advice, and prayers. The place for men of goodwill is surely in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ and I am certain that that is where you are. Adieu my sweet Uncle Charlie
Adieu Kind heart and soul. Adieu Golden heart. Rest in perfect peace Nwachukwu until the resurrection morning where we will meet to part no more, Amen.

From
MRS. NGOZI OKEREKE
(Nee Micheal Udemezue Onyiuke)

A TRIBUTE TO MY DEAR UNCLE, A MAN OF PEACE AND THE PEOPLE

When I learned of Uncle Charlie’s death on December 18, 2021, I was shocked and devastated. Uncle Charlie was a wonderful man who lived for the betterment and happiness of others. Without hesitation, I would argue that he lived solely for humanity and a life that I will refer to as “heaven on Earth.” I do not doubt that his lovely soul will live in eternal bliss.
He was gentle, kind, peaceful, generous, loving, social, happy, gentle, God-fearing, and cheerful. Uncle Charlie never discriminated against or looked down on anyone; rather, he welcomed everyone as a member of the family and a friend. He was radiantly happy on the inside, with an infectious smile and laughter. Uncle Charlie was truly the best of his breed. Rest in peace, good man, until we meet again. I will miss you dearly. May the Almighty God console and comfort the family and everyone you left behind.

From
MR. ONYIUKE IFEANYI SAMUEL & FAMILY
(Son of Late Prince Michael Udemezue Onyiuke)

TRIBUTE TO BOSS MAN, BARR. CHARLIE IYIZOBA

What a day it was when your brother, Chiedu, called to tell me you’d died. I was numb because I had just talked with Lizzy, your sister, about your condition and how God had preserved you in His infinite Mercy. However, God had a better plan; man proposes, God disposes, and God’s Will is always Supreme. You and I have been friends for about 50 years. I met you through my late brother, Prof. Dr. Ifeanyi Achebe; we all became family friends with the Iyizobas and have remained so to this day. In a strange way, you were close to me. I suspected that your elder brother, Ossy, and my brother, Ifeanyi, were plotting for us to date. I was aware of the plotting, but as a vivacious adolescent on the verge of puberty, I laughed it off.
You and I eventually settled on Agape Love, which was priceless to me because you were always there for me, whether in Washington, New Jersey, or anywhere else. You had a calm demeanor. You’re always minding your own business, reading your newspapers, and oblivious to what’s going on around you. Many people mistook your demeanor for arrogance, aloofness, and the like, not realizing that it was your own way of not hurting anyone and that beneath that outer husk was a deep humility, honesty, boldness, confidence, and courage that I always admired.

You chose your words carefully since you were a man of few words; nonetheless, you never suffer fools gladly. Regretfully, I missed the opportunity to visit you while you were having your health challenges, at least to reminisce about the old times. Oh! Well, the vicissitude of life denied me that. But God knows best. You will be remembered for your good deeds. Posterity will speak well of you. History will judge you well. Although you’re no longer with us, I know that your spirit lives on in your wife, children, and other relations. We will not mourn you. Instead, we will celebrate you. Surely, a place is reserved for you in heaven. You have run the race and now, it’s time to rest. Remember us always up there as we also continue to pray for you down here. May your soul journey well into the bosom of the Lord, Amen! May you have eternal rest, Amen! Fare Thee well! Je nke oma. Na nu udo! Good night, boss man! Agape love.

Your friend
CHIEF (MRS) NGOZI ACHEBE-AKPOJOSEVBE (Adaife 1, ifitedunu)

TRIBUTE TO MY FRIEND AND BROTHER, CHARLES

He was courageous, confident, charismatic, catalytic, and catholic. He was a patriot who lived a life dedicated to others just like the Bible instructs (Matthew 25:30) “For as long as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” Charles and I were both students at the College of Immaculate Conception (CIC) in Enugu. The school assisted us in deepening our Catholic faith. I ran into Charles after the war at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington; it was a wonderful reunion. He assisted me in obtaining materials for my doctoral research. He also treated me to a nice lunch on another occasion.
Years later, we reconnected in Nigeria, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he was still practicing his Catholic faith and attending Mass daily. I had a chance to meet with him at Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos in December 1995. While we were talking after the Mass, he asked if I had been to Aokpe, the site of the alleged apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but I had never heard of the place. I inquired and discovered that the apparition had drawn a large crowd. As a result, I gathered a group of people and we traveled to Aokpe in January 1996, and it changed my life. I became a devoted follower of Mary.

CHARLES despised injustice and would bravely and truthfully condemn the Society’s outrageous ills in any form, but more importantly, he was always willing to lend a helping hand. He assisted me in my Ichie ndi Igbo project. Taking me on a tour to meet with various Igbo leaders so that I could pitch my project to them. We met with the former Biafran soldier, Alex Madiebo, Col. Tony Eze, Admiral Alison Madueke, and Rich Okafor. Charles was also friends with prominent Yoruba leaders like Ayo Okpadeku and Ebenerzer Babatope. He introduced me to Professor Joy Ogwu (DG NIIA, Lagos), a classmate of his at Rutgers and Columbia.

Charles also volunteered to assist with other projects. He was a great motivator and advocated for our project to empower young people to become entrepreneurs capable of creating jobs. He introduced me to people like Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Chief Tom Ikimi, Abdulazeez Ude, and Admiral Alison Madueke. When he relocated to Abuja, he became more helpful in supporting my projects and facilitated my meeting with Professor Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), in 2013. He was also acquainted with the proprietors of DAAR communication Plc and ThisDay newspapers.
The death of my friend and supporter, Charles, has deeply saddened me. He has, indeed, left his imprint in the sands of time. He fought a good fight, and God will reward him because he lived for others, as he stated in his book “Life is for Others.”
Adieu my brother, may Mary lead you to Jesus.

From
LARRY C. FEJOKWU

THE BEST AMBASSADOR THAT NEVER WAS

Charles was a one-of-a-kind, a true brother, a diplomat extraordinaire, an officer and a gentleman. Charles was “Nigeria’s best” Ambassador, that never was. He lived up to the title of his book, “Life is for others.”
From
Emeka B Obasi, Esquire

TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND AND A BROTHER

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born and a time to die

—Eccl. 3:1-2

As human beings each time we lose a dear one we die a little, a little piece of our heart is forever broken. But then the Bible says, “O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory. But thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Sir Charles loved and served God diligently so we are sure that he is heaven smiling down at us right now.
Charlie, it was a pleasure and a privilege to call you a friend; but you were more than a friend; you were a brother from another mother. Sir Charles was a decent man; he was honest, forthright (sometimes to a fault), selfless, genuine, and unique, and he was kind and hospitable. And he had the fortitude to face any challenge. But what we remember most about him is his wicked sense of humor and jokes. He made fun of himself and never took himself too seriously. We will also miss his vast and diverse knowledge of everything. If you needed a historical or cultural perspective on an issue, he was the man to see.
Those who will miss him the most are his lovely wife, Florence, and “Charle’s Angels,” Onyinye and Ekamma, whom he raised into the lovely women we see today; his girls were the love of his life.
Sir Charles lived his life in his own way, doing the things he enjoyed; he was a wonderful companion. Sir Charles was ready to meet death whenever and however it came; in fact, we could argue that he had been fearlessly preparing for it for over thirty years that we had known him. So, on December 18th, 2021, he was well prepared to give an account of his life to his Lord and Maker.
We, the Usman family, pray for his soul’s rest. We pray that God will console his wife Florence and his daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma, and that God will give the entire Iyizoba family, his numerous relatives, friends, and well-wishers the strength to bear this loss.
Rest in peace at the bosom of the almighty God till we meet again.

Love always
Miss Tootsie, Esther, Yorraha Usman

TRIBUTE TO OUR GREAT IN- LAW MR CHARLES IYIZOBA

The family of late sir FGN OKOYE sends this tribute in honor of a great son of Nigeria, Mr. Charles Iyizoba. Charle’s senior brother, Chief Ossy Iyizoba, married our sister, Justice Chinwe Iyizoba and a passionate and inspiring relationship began with the Okoyes and Iyizobas. The Iyizoba family is a role model family and many families need to emulate the unity, love, and harmony that exists in their family. Charles was a great ambassador of the Iyizoba clan as he was a very amiable, warm, and kind individual. He was a brilliant man and was a very successful career diplomat and excelled in his job. He was at one time a top official of the Nigerian Ports Authority. It was widely known that Charles never accepted to be bribed for rendering his professional services. Charles loved life, his cigar, and his brandy.

He had a great family life and was blessed with a lovely wife Florence and two beautiful daughters.
The Iyizoba clan rallied and took care of him with love prayers and financial support. We are pained that Charles passed on, so untimely, but it is not how long we live but how well. Let us all emulate the life of love, peace, inner contentment, harmony, happiness, and humility which were the hallmark of Charles’s life, and let us also learn how families can team up and sustain the great legacies built by their patriarch and matriarch. We are proud of the role Chief Ossy and our sister, justice Chinwe Iyizoba, are playing in the Iyizoba clan. We are proud of our sister Chinwe, for being part of the growth and harmony that exists in the Iyizoba clan. We condole the entire Iyizoba clan through the head of the Iyizoba clan, Chief Johnny Iyizoba, and the entire Onyuike clan, where Chief Mrs. Agnes Iyizoba, the Matriarch of the Iyizoba family came from. We also extend our condolence to all our in-laws, especially Gabe and Elizabeth Adimorah, and we thank Elizabeth for the amazing role she is playing in the Iyizoba family. We also thank God that the younger generations of the Iyizobas are doing well and ready to take over the mantle of leadership.
We say Good night to a great son of Nimo, Anambra state, and Nigeria – CHARLES IYIZOBA,

Chief JC Okoye
Chinyelugo 11
For and behalf of
Late Chief sir FGN Okoye Family.

The EXIT OF A GOOD MAN – CHARLES IYIZOBA

The family of Dr. Maduka Nwakwesi sends this tribute in honor of a good man in every sense of the word – Mr. Charles Iyizoba. We are connected to the Iyizobas as our matriarch, Dr. Ifeyinwa Nwakwesi, is the junior sister to the matriarch of Chief Ossy Iyizoba family, Justice Chinwe Iyizoba. Significantly, Charles came with Dr. Iffy Nwakwesi to the party where our patriarch, Dr. Maduka Nwakwesi, met her for the first time. Charlie-Parker was a great man that was deeply loved as he was a very warm and caring person. He was a very calm, brilliant diplomat, with a very child-like inner being. He never stressed or fussed typical of most Iyizobas. He loved his cigar and brandy and excelled to the top of his career. He is blessed with a lovely family and was loved and cared for by the Iyizoba clan. A good man has fallen.

Our greatest regret is that we lost touch with Charlie as we would have loved to pray, encourage and support his recovery. We like the bonding and love that is seen in the Iyizoba family. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with them as the warm ambiance you feel is very gratifying. Chief Ossy and his wife, Justice Chinwe Iyizoba, are some of the nicest people we know. They provided a solid platform for the expansion and growth of the Iyizoba clan. We are very proud of the inclusive nature of Justice Chinwe in being a role model wife and mother, pushing for peace and harmony in the Iyizoba family. We also recognize the role their great daughter, Elizabeth Adimorah, is playing in their family as she is a role model Ada of the family. We also are very proud of the entire Iyizoba clan as they are all committed to protecting the legacy of peace, harmony, and love put in place by their father and mother Chief & Mrs. Iyizoba
Our condolences to Florence, Charles’ wife, his daughters, and the entire Iyizoba clan.
Charles, you lived a good life. Adieu, Charles Iyizoba
Mr. Obinna Nwakwesi
Omekannia
For Dr. Maduka Nwakwesi Family

MY DEAR BIG COUSIN, BARRISTER CHARLES IYIZOBA

It is with great shock that I took the news of your departure. I was planning to see you this Christmas; I didn’t know it was not to be. While working in Irving and Bonnar Lagos, in the ‘90s, you were the only family member I had in Lagos and we bonded with my weekend hangout at your house in Apapa GRA Lagos.
You are very kind-hearted and loving. You are always willing to help and fun to be with. May your gentle soul continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord!! I will forever miss you!!

Atty. Amaka E. Iyizoba
Atlanta Georgia

Condolences

Please Pray for him!





What if Christians were one?

17 04 2021

There is a saying that fiction has to be believable but real life may not. Hence, I was barely was able to get through watching the movie “What if (2010)” endorsed by Pureflix as good Christian film, because of the myriads of unbelievable elements it contains. The story is about a business man, Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo) who, at the peak of his career gets whacked by an Angel into a “future” life he would miss if fails to be faithful to God’s call to become a preacher. The problem is that this life, the life of penny pushing pastor of a small town parish is nothing to compare with the power job he presently has but in the end he ditches it for preacher’s life and left me wondering if this isn’t a mockery Christianity.

Are the makers of this movie really saying that you can’t be a successful business man as well as a good Christian? Are the two really incompatible?  If that is so, then no should be surprised when Christianity is scorned in intellectual and artistic circles. But even more seriously, it would negate the very words of Jesus, “Go you therefore and make disciples of all (Mathew 28: 19), which would be impossible if only pastors could be good Christians. How about when Jesus talked about trading with the talents God gave us when he told the story of the man who about to engage in travel called his servants and entrusted them with talents with the expectation that they would trade and make profit (Luke 19:13) It would be impossible if all the talent that needs trading was that of a pastor. Furthermore, it would also negate the life of the early Christians many of whom where business people like Priscilla and Aquila(Acts 18:2-3), or Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43)  and  many high ranking members of the Roman society who later converted to Christianity.  

Consequently, I would argue that the producers of this film misunderstand the basic tenets of biblical Christianity and that their misunderstanding has its roots in the crises of Christian division and disunity that became definitive in the 15th century with the protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther who broke with the Catholic Church (the only church exiting in the world since the time of Apostles) and founded the Lutheran church with separate doctrines and teachings. As a consequence, today, there is probablly perhaps up to 50 thousand different Christian sects all with conflicting interpretation of scriptures a great obstacle to understanding what Christians really believe. And this incoherence introduces a profound dysfunction such that Christians end up producing movies that are contradictory to scriptural teachings.

In the movie, for instance, an angel who happens to be a mechanic and who delights in whacking people over the head to get them do what he wants kidnaps Walker and forces him to become a pastor, with wife and kids he does not want all in the name of a God who is love? How in the world would atheists watching this film ever take God or Christian faith seriously. How I long for Christian films like Hollywood’s greats like the “Ten Commandment (1956)” by Cecil Be De Mills with masterful dialogue and great stories. In contrast, “What if”, though styled like “It’s a wonderful life (1946)”, is simply artistic dwarf.

 As the movie progressed, Walker easily ditches his successful life and accepts his new life as a pastor and his pastor’s wife (Kristy Swanson) all smiles she wakes up to find him reading the bible, a transformed man. The problem is that real life does not work that way, it takes much more than that to get someone to change his life. Usually, such transformation is a slow and painful process. Besides it can be argued that there is really no reason for Walker change. His life as a successful business man was fascinating, even altruistic and progressive, and there was no real mission or great commission he had in abandoning it to become a pastor, and besides according to St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, every noble human work can be a path to holiness

In the final scene, Pastor Walker goes to the hospital to save the soul of a dying man, telling him to repent. Usually this is the ultimate price, or golden globe of spiritual life for every pastor, but the moment was marred when the dying man looks up and seeing a man with a bible and thinking him to be a catholic priest says to him, “I did not ask for priest.” Walker replies “I am not a priest— same league different teams”. Walker meant that as a protestant pastor he was playing the same leagues as a catholic priest but in a different team. Pastor and the priest both profess the same Christianity yet have opposing views, different doctrine and different teachings.

When the dying man, a little embarrassed, says to Walker, “How are we going to do this”: what if I repent, how are you going to forgive me if you are not a priest? Only the Catholic church claims the power to forgive sins in the name of Jesus based on the power that Christ handed down to his apostle in John 20:23, ” Who so ever sins you forgive they are forgiven and who sin you retain they are retained”. The Catholic Church teaches that this power is transferred down through apostolic succession to the Pope and bishops in communion with him and the bishops delegate this power to the priests.

Walker says to him “I believe that God knows your heart and he can forgive you.”  I think this is a pitiful assurance to give to dying man in place of powerful sacrament of reconciliation as instituted by Jesus Christ and contained in the deposit of faith uncontaminated and unchanged for 2000 years in the Catholic church . Christian disunity is the reason that Christian teams are consistently losing out to the worldly teams in the all the game of life, politics, movies, science and arts, as Jesus predicted and leaves one wondering:  What if Christians were one?





Prison Warder Transforms Killers To Gentlemen

27 01 2017

 

Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is a prison with a difference. Run by a Christian warder, Nathan Burl Cain, this prison transforms killers to gentlemen. Here, murderers and vicious men are transformed into family men who love their children. The Warder said that when he first came, there was blood everywhere, gang’s crimes and murders. Not knowing where to begin, he decided to introduce them men to God, seeking in religion the needed moral strength to overcome hopelessness. It worked. He used the concept of WORK and PRAYER to convert these criminal to decent human beings. This is a testimony that anyone can change for the better. It is an excellent tool to teach humanity about redemption and to show the skeptics that people can change and given the right environments and nurturing. 6,000 men currently imprisoned at Angola

angola





Dismantling The Da Vinci Code by Sandra Miesel

19 01 2014

Dismantling The Da Vinci Code by Sandra Miesel

“The Grail,” Langdon said, “is symbolic of the lost goddess. When Christianity came along, the old pagan religions did not die easily. Legends of chivalric quests for the Holy Grail were in fact stories of forbidden quests to find the lost sacred feminine. Knights who claimed to be “searching for the chalice” were speaking in code as a way to protect themselves from a Church that had subjugated women, banished the Goddess, burned non-believers, and forbidden the pagan reverence for the sacred feminine.”
—The Da Vinci Code, pages 238-239

The Holy Grail is a favorite metaphor for a desirable but difficult-to-attain goal, from the map of the human genome to Lord Stanley’s Cup. While the original Grail—the cup Jesus allegedly used at the Last Supper—normally inhabits the pages of Arthurian romance, Dan Brown’s recent mega–best-seller, The Da Vinci Code, rips it away to the realm of esoteric history.

But his book is more than just the story of a quest for the Grail—he wholly reinterprets the Grail legend. In doing so, Brown inverts the insight that a woman’s body is symbolically a container and makes a container symbolically a woman’s body. And that container has a name every Christian will recognize, for Brown claims that the Holy Grail was actually Mary Magdalene. She was the vessel that held the blood of Jesus Christ in her womb while bearing his children.

Over the centuries, the Grail-keepers have been guarding the true (and continuing) bloodline of Christ and the relics of the Magdalen, not a material vessel. Therefore Brown claims that “the quest for the Holy Grail is the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene,” a conclusion that would surely have surprised Sir Galahad and the other Grail knights who thought they were searching for the Chalice of the Last Supper.

The Da Vinci Code opens with the grisly murder of the Louvre’s curator inside the museum. The crime enmeshes hero Robert Langdon, a tweedy professor of symbolism from Harvard, and the victim’s granddaughter, burgundy-haired cryptologist Sophie Nevue. Together with crippled millionaire historian Leigh Teabing, they flee Paris for London one step ahead of the police and a mad albino Opus Dei “monk” named Silas who will stop at nothing to prevent them from finding the “Grail.”

But despite the frenetic pacing, at no point is action allowed to interfere with a good lecture. Before the story comes full circle back to the Louvre, readers face a barrage of codes, puzzles, mysteries, and conspiracies.

With his twice-stated principle, “Everybody loves a conspiracy,” Brown is reminiscent of the famous author who crafted her product by studying the features of ten earlier best-sellers. It would be too easy to criticize him for characters thin as plastic wrap, undistinguished prose, and improbable action. But Brown isn’t so much writing badly as writing in a particular way best calculated to attract a female audience. (Women, after all, buy most of the nation’s books.) He has married a thriller plot to a romance-novel technique. Notice how each character is an extreme type . . . effortlessly brilliant, smarmy, sinister, or psychotic as needed, moving against luxurious but curiously flat backdrops. Avoiding gore and bedroom gymnastics, he shows only one brief kiss and a sexual ritual performed by a married couple. The risqué allusions are fleeting although the text lingers over some bloody Opus Dei mortifications. In short, Brown has fabricated a novel perfect for a ladies’ book club.

Brown’s lack of seriousness shows in the games he plays with his character names—Robert Langdon, “bright fame long don” (distinguished and virile); Sophie Nevue, “wisdom New Eve”; the irascible taurine detective Bezu Fache, “zebu anger.” The servant who leads the police to them is Legaludec, “legal duce.” The murdered curator takes his surname, Saunière, from a real Catholic priest whose occult antics sparked interest in the Grail secret. As an inside joke, Brown even writes in his real-life editor (Faukman is Kaufman).

While his extensive use of fictional formulas may be the secret to Brown’s stardom, his anti-Christian message can’t have hurt him in publishing circles: The Da Vinci Code debuted atop the New York Times best-seller list. By manipulating his audience through the conventions of romance-writing, Brown invites readers to identify with his smart, glamorous characters who’ve seen through the impostures of the clerics who hide the “truth” about Jesus and his wife. Blasphemy is delivered in a soft voice with a knowing chuckle: “[E]very faith in the world is based on fabrication.”

But even Brown has his limits. To dodge charges of outright bigotry, he includes a climactic twist in the story that absolves the Church of assassination. And although he presents Christianity as a false root and branch, he’s willing to tolerate it for its charitable works.

(Of course, Catholic Christianity will become even more tolerable once the new liberal pope elected in Brown’s previous Langdon novel, Angels & Demons, abandons outmoded teachings. “Third-century laws cannot be applied to the modern followers of Christ,” says one of the book’s progressive cardinals.)

Where Is He Getting All of This?

Brown actually cites his principal sources within the text of his novel. One is a specimen of academic feminist scholarship: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels. The others are popular esoteric histories: The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince; Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln; The Goddess in the Gospels: Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine and The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, both by Margaret Starbird. (Starbird, a self-identified Catholic, has her books published by Matthew Fox’s outfit, Bear & Co.) Another influence, at least at second remove, is The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker.

The use of such unreliable sources belies Brown’s pretensions to intellectuality. But the act has apparently fooled at least some of his readers—the New York Daily News book reviewer trumpeted, “His research is impeccable.”

But despite Brown’s scholarly airs, a writer who thinks the Merovingians founded Paris and forgets that the popes once lived in Avignon is hardly a model researcher. And for him to state that the Church burned five million women as witches shows a willful—and malicious—ignorance of the historical record. The latest figures for deaths during the European witch craze are between 30,000 to 50,000 victims. Not all were executed by the Church, not all were women, and not all were burned. Brown’s claim that educated women, priestesses, and midwives were singled out by witch-hunters is not only false, it betrays his goddess-friendly sources.

A Multitude of Errors

So error-laden is The Da Vinci Code that the educated reader actually applauds those rare occasions where Brown stumbles (despite himself) into the truth. A few examples of his “impeccable” research: He claims that the motions of the planet Venus trace a pentacle (the so-called Ishtar pentagram) symbolizing the goddess. But it isn’t a perfect figure and has nothing to do with the length of the Olympiad. The ancient Olympic games were celebrated in honor of Zeus Olympias, not Aphrodite, and occurred every four years.

Brown’s contention that the five linked rings of the modern Olympic Games are a secret tribute to the goddess is also wrong—each set of games was supposed to add a ring to the design but the organizers stopped at five. And his efforts to read goddess propaganda into art, literature, and even Disney cartoons are simply ridiculous.

No datum is too dubious for inclusion, and reality falls quickly by the wayside. For instance, the Opus Dei bishop encourages his albino assassin by telling him that Noah was also an albino (a notion drawn from the non-canonical 1 Enoch 106:2). Yet albinism somehow fails to interfere with the man’s eyesight as it physiologically would.

But a far more important example is Brown’s treatment of Gothic architecture as a style full of goddess-worshipping symbols and coded messages to confound the uninitiated. Building on Barbara Walker’s claim that “like a pagan temple, the Gothic cathedral represented the body of the Goddess,” The Templar Revelation asserts: “Sexual symbolism is found in the great Gothic cathedrals which were masterminded by the Knights Templar . . . both of which represent intimate female anatomy: the arch, which draws the worshipper into the body of Mother Church, evokes the vulva.” In The Da Vinci Code, these sentiments are transformed into a character’s description of “a cathedral’s long hollow nave as a secret tribute to a woman’s womb…complete with receding labial ridges and a nice little cinquefoil clitoris above the doorway.”

These remarks cannot be brushed aside as opinions of the villain; Langdon, the book’s hero, refers to his own lectures about goddess-symbolism at Chartres.

These bizarre interpretations betray no acquaintance with the actual development or construction of Gothic architecture, and correcting the countless errors becomes a tiresome exercise: The Templars had nothing to do with the cathedrals of their time, which were commissioned by bishops and their canons throughout Europe. They were unlettered men with no arcane knowledge of “sacred geometry” passed down from the pyramid builders. They did not wield tools themselves on their own projects, nor did they found masons’ guilds to build for others. Not all their churches were round, nor was roundness a defiant insult to the Church. Rather than being a tribute to the divine feminine, their round churches honored the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Actually looking at Gothic churches and their predecessors deflates the idea of female symbolism. Large medieval churches typically had three front doors on the west plus triple entrances to their transepts on the north and south. (What part of a woman’s anatomy does a transept represent? Or the kink in Chartres’s main aisle?) Romanesque churches—including ones that predate the founding of the Templars—have similar bands of decoration arching over their entrances. Both Gothic and Romanesque churches have the long, rectangular nave inherited from Late Antique basilicas, ultimately derived from Roman public buildings. Neither Brown nor his sources consider what symbolism medieval churchmen such as Suger of St.-Denis or William Durandus read in church design. It certainly wasn’t goddess-worship.

False Claims

If the above seems like a pile driver applied to a gnat, the blows are necessary to demonstrate the utter falseness of Brown’s material. His willful distortions of documented history are more than matched by his outlandish claims about controversial subjects. But to a postmodernist, one construct of reality is as good as any other.

Brown’s approach seems to consist of grabbing large chunks of his stated sources and tossing them together in a salad of a story. From Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Brown lifts the concept of the Grail as a metaphor for a sacred lineage by arbitrarily breaking a medieval French term, Sangraal (Holy Grail), into sang (blood) and raal (royal). This holy blood, according to Brown, descended from Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene, to the Merovingian dynasty in Dark Ages France, surviving its fall to persist in several modern French families, including that of Pierre Plantard, a leader of the mysterious Priory of Sion. The Priory—an actual organization officially registered with the French government in 1956—makes extraordinary claims of antiquity as the “real” power behind the Knights Templar. It most likely originated after World War II and was first brought to public notice in 1962. With the exception of filmmaker Jean Cocteau, its illustrious list of Grand Masters—which include Leonardo da Vinci, Issac Newton, and Victor Hugo—is not credible, although it’s presented as true by Brown.

Brown doesn’t accept a political motivation for the Priory’s activities. Instead he picks up The Templar Revelation’s view of the organization as a cult of secret goddess-worshippers who have preserved ancient Gnostic wisdom and records of Christ’s true mission, which would completely overturn Christianity if released. Significantly, Brown omits the rest of the book’s thesis that makes Christ and Mary Magdalene unmarried sex partners performing the erotic mysteries of Isis. Perhaps even a gullible mass-market audience has its limits.

From both Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Templar Revelation, Brown takes a negative view of the Bible and a grossly distorted image of Jesus. He’s neither the Messiah nor a humble carpenter but a wealthy, trained religious teacher bent on regaining the throne of David. His credentials are amplified by his relationship with the rich Magdalen who carries the royal blood of Benjamin: “Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false,” laments one of Brown’s characters.

Yet it’s Brown’s Christology that’s false—and blindingly so. He requires the present New Testament to be a post-Constantinian fabrication that displaced true accounts now represented only by surviving Gnostic texts. He claims that Christ wasn’t considered divine until the Council of Nicea voted him so in 325 at the behest of the emperor. Then Constantine—a lifelong sun worshipper—ordered all older scriptural texts destroyed, which is why no complete set of Gospels predates the fourth century. Christians somehow failed to notice the sudden and drastic change in their doctrine.

But by Brown’s specious reasoning, the Old Testament can’t be authentic either because complete Hebrew Scriptures are no more than a thousand years old. And yet the texts were transmitted so accurately that they do match well with the Dead Sea Scrolls from a thousand years earlier. Analysis of textual families, comparison with fragments and quotations, plus historical correlations securely date the orthodox Gospels to the first century and indicate that they’re earlier than the Gnostic forgeries. (The Epistles of St. Paul are, of course, even earlier than the Gospels.)

Primitive Church documents and the testimony of the ante-Nicean Fathers confirm that Christians have always believed Jesus to be Lord, God, and Savior—even when that faith meant death. The earliest partial canon of Scripture dates from the late second century and already rejected Gnostic writings. For Brown, it isn’t enough to credit Constantine with the divinization of Jesus. The emperor’s old adherence to the cult of the Invincible Sun also meant repackaging sun worship as the new faith. Brown drags out old (and long-discredited) charges by virulent anti-Catholics like Alexander Hislop who accused the Church of perpetuating Babylonian mysteries, as well as 19th-century rationalists who regarded Christ as just another dying savior-god.

Unsurprisingly, Brown misses no opportunity to criticize Christianity and its pitiable adherents. (The church in question is always the Catholic Church, though his villain does sneer once at Anglicans—for their grimness, of all things.) He routinely and anachronistically refers to the Church as “the Vatican,” even when popes weren’t in residence there. He systematically portrays it throughout history as deceitful, power-crazed, crafty, and murderous: “The Church may no longer employ crusades to slaughter, but their influence is no less persuasive. No less insidious.”

Goddess Worship and the Magdalen

Worst of all, in Brown’s eyes, is the fact that the pleasure-hating, sex-hating, woman-hating Church suppressed goddess worship and eliminated the divine feminine. He claims that goddess worship universally dominated pre-Christian paganism with the hieros gamos (sacred marriage) as its central rite. His enthusiasm for fertility rites is enthusiasm for sexuality, not procreation. What else would one expect of a Cathar sympathizer?

Astonishingly, Brown claims that Jews in Solomon’s Temple adored Yahweh and his feminine counterpart, the Shekinah, via the services of sacred prostitutes—possibly a twisted version of the Temple’s corruption after Solomon (1 Kings 14:24 and 2 Kings 23:4-15). Moreover, he says that the tetragrammaton YHWH derives from “Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah.”

But as any first-year Scripture student could tell you, Jehovah is actually a 16th-century rendering of Yahweh using the vowels of Adonai (“Lord”). In fact, goddesses did not dominate the pre-Christian world—not in the religions of Rome, her barbarian subjects, Egypt, or even Semitic lands where the hieros gamos was an ancient practice. Nor did the Hellenized cult of Isis appear to have included sex in its secret rites.

Contrary to yet another of Brown’s claims, Tarot cards do not teach goddess doctrine. They were invented for innocent gaming purposes in the 15th century and didn’t acquire occult associations until the late 18th. Playing-card suites carry no Grail symbolism. The notion of diamonds symbolizing pentacles is a deliberate misrepresentation by British occultist A. E. Waite. And the number five—so crucial to Brown’s puzzles—has some connections with the protective goddess but myriad others besides, including human life, the five senses, and the Five Wounds of Christ.

Brown’s treatment of Mary Magdalene is sheer delusion. In The Da Vinci Code, she’s no penitent whore but Christ’s royal consort and the intended head of His Church, supplanted by Peter and defamed by churchmen. She fled west with her offspring to Provence, where medieval Cathars would keep the original teachings of Jesus alive. The Priory of Sion still guards her relics and records, excavated by the Templars from the subterranean Holy of Holies. It also protects her descendants—including Brown’s heroine.

Although many people still picture the Magdalen as a sinful woman who anointed Jesus and equate her with Mary of Bethany, that conflation is actually the later work of Pope St. Gregory the Great. The East has always kept them separate and said that the Magdalen, “apostle to the apostles,” died in Ephesus. The legend of her voyage to Provence is no earlier than the ninth century, and her relics weren’t reported there until the 13th. Catholic critics, including the Bollandists, have been debunking the legend and distinguishing the three ladies since the 17th century.

Brown uses two Gnostic documents, the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary, to prove that the Magdalen was Christ’s “companion,” meaning sexual partner. The apostles were jealous that Jesus used to “kiss her on the mouth” and favored her over them. He cites exactly the same passages quoted in Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Templar Revelation and even picks up the latter’s reference to The Last Temptation of Christ. What these books neglect to mention is the infamous final verse of the Gospel of Thomas. When Peter sneers that “women are not worthy of Life,” Jesus responds, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male . . . . For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

That’s certainly an odd way to “honor” one’s spouse or exalt the status of women.

The Knights Templar

Brown likewise misrepresents the history of the Knights Templar. The oldest of the military-religious orders, the Knights were founded in 1118 to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. Their rule, attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, was approved in 1128 and generous donors granted them numerous properties in Europe for support. Rendered redundant after the last Crusader stronghold fell in 1291, the Templars’ pride and wealth—they were also bankers—earned them keen hostility.

Brown maliciously ascribes the suppression of the Templars to “Machiavellian” Pope Clement V, whom they were blackmailing with the Grail secret. His “ingeniously planned sting operation” had his soldiers suddenly arrest all Templars. Charged with Satanism, sodomy, and blasphemy, they were tortured into confessing and burned as heretics, their ashes “tossed unceremoniously into the Tiber.”

But in reality, the initiative for crushing the Templars came from King Philip the Fair of France, whose royal officials did the arresting in 1307. About 120 Templars were burned by local Inquisitorial courts in France for not confessing or retracting a confession, as happened with Grand Master Jacques de Molay. Few Templars suffered death elsewhere although their order was abolished in 1312. Clement, a weak, sickly Frenchman manipulated by his king, burned no one in Rome inasmuch as he was the first pope to reign from Avignon (so much for the ashes in the Tiber).

Moreover, the mysterious stone idol that the Templars were accused of worshiping is associated with fertility in only one of more than a hundred confessions. Sodomy was the scandalous—and possibly true—charge against the order, not ritual fornication. The Templars have been darlings of occultism since their myth as masters of secret wisdom and fabulous treasure began to coalesce in the late 18th century. Freemasons and even Nazis have hailed them as brothers. Now it’s the turn of neo-Gnostics.

Twisting da Vinci

Brown’s revisionist interpretations of da Vinci are as distorted as the rest of his information. He claims to have first run across these views “while I was studying art history in Seville,” but they correspond point for point to material in The Templar Revelation. A writer who sees a pointed finger as a throat-cutting gesture, who says the Madonna of the Rocks was painted for nuns instead of a lay confraternity of men, who claims that da Vinci received “hundreds of lucrative Vatican commissions” (actually, it was just one…and it was never executed) is simply unreliable.

Brown’s analysis of da Vinci’s work is just as ridiculous. He presents the Mona Lisa as an androgynous self-portrait when it’s widely known to portray a real woman, Madonna Lisa, wife of Francesco di Bartolomeo del Giocondo. The name is certainly not—as Brown claims—a mocking anagram of two Egyptian fertility deities Amon and L’Isa (Italian for Isis). How did he miss the theory, propounded by the authors of The Templar Revelation, that the Shroud of Turin is a photographed self-portrait of da Vinci?

Much of Brown’s argument centers around da Vinci’s Last Supper, a painting the author considers a coded message that reveals the truth about Jesus and the Grail. Brown points to the lack of a central chalice on the table as proof that the Grail isn’t a material vessel. But da Vinci’s painting specifically dramatizes the moment when Jesus warns, “One of you will betray me” (John 13:21). There is no Institution Narrative in St. John’s Gospel. The Eucharist is not shown there. And the person sitting next to Jesus is not Mary Magdalene (as Brown claims) but St. John, portrayed as the usual effeminate da Vinci youth, comparable to his St. John the Baptist. Jesus is in the exact center of the painting, with two pyramidal groups of three apostles on each side. Although da Vinci was a spiritually troubled homosexual, Brown’s contention that he coded his paintings with anti-Christian messages simply can’t be sustained.

Brown’s Mess

In the end, Dan Brown has penned a poorly written, atrociously researched mess. So, why bother with such a close reading of a worthless novel? The answer is simple: The Da Vinci Code takes esoterica mainstream. It may well do for Gnosticism what The Mists of Avalon did for paganism—gain it popular acceptance. After all, how many lay readers will see the blazing inaccuracies put forward as buried truths?

What’s more, in making phony claims of scholarship, Brown’s book infects readers with a virulent hostility toward Catholicism. Dozens of occult history books, conveniently cross-linked by Amazon.com, are following in its wake. And booksellers’ shelves now bulge with falsehoods few would be buying without The Da Vinci Code connection. While Brown’s assault on the Catholic Church may be a backhanded compliment, it’s one we would have happily done without.

________________________________________





Obama Fights Little Nuns: War on Religion by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

4 01 2014

nun1jpg-065cf5f65d3ed5ae_largeWASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Justice registered its opposition to a temporary injunction for the Little Sisters of the Poor, after Justice Sonia Sotomayor directed the administration to respond by Jan. 3, 10am Eastern.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order of nuns who care for the elderly and the poor, had petitioned the high court for an 11th-hour reprieve, and, on Dec. 31, Justice Sotomayor granted a temporary stay, while requesting the administration to respond to the petition within three days.
“The solicitor general, on behalf of respondents, respectfully files this memorandum in opposition to the emergency application for an injunction pending appellate review or, in the alternative, a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment and injunction pending resolution,” stated the Justice Department in papers filed with the high court at the Jan. 3 deadline.
The administration’s stance underscored its commitment to upholding one of the most contentious elements of the Affordable Care Act, even when the plaintiff challenging the law was a religious order dedicated to sesrving the needy.
The brief, filed by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., echoed many of the administration’s past objections to an exemption for religious nonprofits and restated the importance of providing contraception and other services free of charge to female employees. It further argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to the Little Sisters’ specific concerns, and it noted that not one court of appeals had ruled on the merits of cases filed by religious nonprofits.
The White House has provided an “accommodation” for religious nonprofits that object to the mandate on moral grounds but are not exempt from compliance with the federal law. Under the accommodation, the government requires objecting religious employers to sign a self-certification form that allows the mandate’s provisions to be implemented by a third-party administrator. The Little Sisters contend that signing the form makes them complicit in the provision of services that violate their deeply held moral and religious beliefs.

‘Permission Slip’ for Abortion Drugs and Contraceptives
“The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives or pay millions in fines. The sisters believe that doing that violates their faith and that they shouldn’t be forced to divert funds from the elderly poor they serve to the IRS,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead counsel for the Little Sisters, in a statement released after the Justice Department filed its brief opposing a temporary injunction.
The Obama administration has defended its “accommodation” as a reasonable solution for religious nonprofits that oppose the mandate on moral grounds, arguing that nothing more is required than for the Little Sisters and other plaintiffs to sign a self-certification form.
But Rienzi said that the government’s insistence that plaintiffs sign the form suggested that the action was important.
“The government now asks the Supreme Court to believe that the very thing it is forcing the nuns to do — signing the permission slips — is a meaningless act. But why on earth would the government be fighting the Little Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court if it did not think its own form had any effect?” Rienzi said.
“If the administration believed its contraceptive mandate was valid, it would join the Little Sisters’ request for Supreme Court review because the government has lost almost all of the cases in the lower courts. Instead, its brief today is devoted to trying to keep the court out of the issue, which would leave hundreds of religious organizations subject to massive fines for following their religion.”
For-profit and nonprofit employers have filed a total of 91 legal challenges against the HHS mandate. The U.S. bishops have pressed for a broad exemption that would shield all employers who object to the mandate on moral grounds.
The Becket Fund is representing a number of for-profit and nonprofit plaintiffs that have filed legal challenges to the mandate, including the Eternal Word Television Network. The Register is a service of EWTN.
The Becket Fund also represents Hobby Lobby, a large craft-store chain, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral argument for this case in March, with a decision expected by late June.

Government’s Arguments
In the brief filed with the high court today, the Justice Department was intent on explaining why the legal issues in the Hobby Lobby case were different from the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters, with the apparent goal of discouraging the justices from taking up this case or granting a temporary injunction for all religious nonprofits that will face massive financial penalties if they do not comply with the mandate.
“Applicants are not … situated like the for-profit corporations that brought suit in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. … The employer-applicants here are eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations that exempt them from any requirement ‘to contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage,’” stated the brief.
The Justice Department’s brief further noted that the religious order was covered under a “church plan,” which meant that it was “exempt from regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).”
While ERISA is responsible for enforcement of the mandate, church plans are specifically excluded from its enforcement authority.
Since the church plans would not be subject to enforcement, the government argued, the religious freedom of organizations holding such plans was not under threat.
The administration offered the same argument in papers filed in a Brooklyn court, where the Archdiocese of New York and four New York-area Catholic nonprofits sought relief from the mandate.
In that case, Judge Brian Cogan provided two Catholic schools and two healthcare services with a permanent injunction. He said the legal challenge had merit, despite the fact that the church plans were actually shielded from ERISA’s enforcement authority.
According to Cogan, “Plaintiffs allege that their religion forbids them from completing this self-certification, because, to them, authorizing others to provide services that plaintiffs themselves cannot is tantamount to an endorsement or facilitation of such services. Therefore, regardless of the effect on plaintiffs’ TPAs [third-party administrator], the regulations still require plaintiffs to take actions they believe are contrary to their religion.”

Other Concerns
In its brief filed with the high court today, however, the Justice Department acknowledged the plaintiffs’ fears that the self-certification form could be used in the future to authorize enforcement of the mandate. Such enforcement could be put in effect, stated the Justice Department, “if Congress were to amend the Affordable Care Act … to grant the government ‘some authority outside of ERISA to enforce’ the contraceptive-coverage provision or if the departments ‘promulgate new regulations that apply to church for the courts.’”
While dismissing the plaintiffs’ concerns as irrelevant in the short term, the government’s brief noted, “if relevant new regulations were issued, applicants could renew their request for injunctive relief in light of the changed circumstances.”
During a Jan. 3 conference call with the press, Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel with the Becket Fund, also noted another reason for the Little Sisters’ concern about signing the self-certification form. The Little Sisters had also contracted with another third-party administrator, Express Script, Inc. (ESI), a prescription drug provider, which is not a “church plan.”
During a Jan. 3 interview with the Register, Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, told the Register: “ESI provides pharmaceutical drugs, such as Plan B and ella, and they have made no such guarantees [that they will not provide it to patients covered under their plans] and have no religious objection to providing it.”
The self-certification form “authorizes whomever receives it that they have permission to provide the drugs, and it is the means of reimbursement for ESI. Until Express Script receives that form, they will not get paid for the cost of the drugs,” added Bloomberg, who noted that the government accomodation provides incentives for third-party administrators to offer such provisions when religious employers refuse to do it directly.
He noted that, in papers filed with a lower court, the government had dismissed the Little Sisters’ fears about signing the form as an “invisible dragon.” In fact, said Bloomberg, the LIttle Sisters had every reason to avoid signing a document that would trigger such provisions. And he noted that when criminal conspiracy charges are filed, those who “give material aid and assist someone to do wrong” are also held accountable.

Next Step Is Unclear
It is not yet clear what steps the high court will take now. Rassbach said during the press call that the Little Sisters’ lawyers would file a reply with the court, but he could not provide a timeline for when Sotomayor, or the entire court, might respond.
Douglas Laycock, an expert on religious-freedom issues at the University of Virginia Law School, told the Register, “A stay for three days after hearing from only one side tells you that she takes the issue seriously, but it doesn’t tell you what the whole court will do after they hear from both sides.”
Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.

Courtesy of NCR





“Turn Me Over. I’m Done On This Side!” Says A Man Condemned To The Flames

10 08 2013

Lawrence was a deacon in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. On Aug. 10, 354, a persecution broke out and the Prefect of Rome, a greedy pagan, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. So he ordered Lawrence to bring the Church’s treasure to him. Lawrence said he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church. When he showed them to the Prefect, he said: “This is the Church’s treasure!”

In great anger, the Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. They tied him on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little, but Lawrence was burning with so much love of God that he almost did not feel the flames. In fact, God gave him so much strength and joy that he even joked. “Turn me over,” he said to the judge. “I’m done on this side!” And just before he died, he said, “It’s cooked enough now.” Then he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus and that Faith might spread all over the world. After that, he died and went to heaven to receive his reward of Everlasting life.





Reasons not to Divorce when Love is gone? By C.S Lewis

4 08 2013

reason not to divorceThe Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words “one flesh” means, like when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined.

The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.

The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

As a consequence, Christianity teaches that marriage is for life. There is, of course, a difference here between different Churches: some do not admit divorce at all; some allow it reluctantly in very special cases. It is a great pity that Christians should disagree about such a question; but for an ordinary layman the thing to notice is that Churches all agree with one another about marriage a great deal more than any of them agrees with the outside world. I mean, they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation.

Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases. They are all agreed that it is more like having both your legs cut off than it is like dissolving a business partnership or even deserting a regiment What they all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another, or when either of them falls in love with someone else.

Before we consider this modern view in its relation to chastity, we must not forget to consider it in relation to another virtue, namely justice. Justice, as I said before, includes the keeping of promises.

Now everyone who has been married in a church has made a public, solemn promise to stick to his (or her) partner till death. The duty of keeping that promise has no special connection with sexual morality: it is in the same position as any other promise. If, as modern people are always telling us, the sexual impulse is just like all our other impulses, then it ought to be treated like all our other impulses; and as their indulgence is controlled by our promises, so should its be. If, as I think, it is not like all our other impulses, but is morbidly inflamed, then we should be especially careful not to let it lead us into dishonesty.

To this someone may reply that he regarded the promise made in church as a mere formality and never intended to keep it. Whom, then, was he trying to deceive when he made it? God? That was really very unwise. Himself? That was not very much wiser. The bride, or bridegroom, or the “in-laws”? That was treacherous. Most often, I think, the couple (or one of them) hoped to deceive the public. They wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price: that is, they were imposters, they cheated.

If they are still contented cheats, I have nothing to say to them: who would urge the high and hard duty of chastity on people who have not yet wished to be merely honest? If they have now come to their senses and want to be honest, their promise, already made, constrains them. And this, you will see, comes under the heading of justice, not that of chastity. If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.

It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another: unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.
The idea that “being in love” is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy.

The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits one to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry. But what, it may be asked, is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love? There are several sound, social reasons; to provide a home for their children, to protect the woman (who has probably sacrificed or damaged her own career by getting married) from being dropped whenever the man is tired of her.
C.S Lewis





Heavenly or a Hellish Creature?

28 07 2013

heaven or hellPeople often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, “If you keep a lot of rules I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.”
I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself.
To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
That explains what always used to puzzle me about Christian writers; they seem to be so very strict at one moment and so very free and easy at another. They talk about mere sins of thought as if they were immensely important: and then they talk about the most frightful murders and treacheries as if you had only got to repent and all would be forgiven. But I have come to see that they are right.
What they are always thinking of is the mark which the action leaves on that tiny central self which no one sees in this life but which each of us will have to endure—or enjoy—for ever. One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. Each has done something to himself which, unless he repents, will make it harder for him to keep out of the rage next time he is tempted, and will make the rage worse when he does fall into it. Each of them, if he seriously turns to God, can have that twist in the central man straightened out again: each is, in the long run, doomed if he will not. The bigness or smallness of the thing, seen from the outside, is not what really matters.
One last point. Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.
C.S Lewis





Murdered Girl’s Body Remains In-corrupt 1500 yrs After: Story Of Cecilia

25 07 2013

In the city of Rome, in the year 200, a beautiful girl whose name was Cecilia was given in marriage to a young man called Valerian by her parents. On the night of their marriage, she said to her husband, “I will tell you a secret. Will you swear not to reveal it to anyone?”
“I swear I will not reveal it to anyone. On my honor!” her husband replied.
“I have an angel who watches over me and will not allow anyone to touch me,” she said.
“Where is this Angel?” he asked, “I would like to see him.”
“You can only see him if you become a Christian,” she replied.
“Then I wish to become Christian.”
She then sent him receive the Christian faith from a priest and when he returned home, on entering her room, he saw her praying in her chamber, and an angel by her side holding two crowns of roses.
The Angel placed the crown on the head of Cecilia and her husband saying: “Keep these crowns with a clean body, for I have brought them to you from Paradise, and they shall never fade, nor wither, nor lose their savor, nor be seen but by those of pure heart. Cecilia preached had converted many to the Christian faith. But one day, she was arrested, and condemned to death because Christianity was illegal in Rome at that time. An executioner sent to cut off her head struck her neck three times, but was not able to sever the head from her neck. He left her bleeding, lying on the floor unable to move. Crowds came to her, and collected her blood with napkins and sponges, whilst she preached to them or prayed. After three days she died and was buried.
Seven centuries later, when her tomb was opened in Rome, the body of the Cecilia, was found perfect and incorrupt draped in expensive gold brocade and with the cloths soaked in her blood at her feet.cecilia 2

Above is the sculptor of Cecilia  by renaissance sculptor Stefano Maderno who swore that he has recorded the body as he saw it when the tomb was opened in 1599. The statue depicts the three axe strokes described in the 5th-century account of her martyrdom. It also is meant to underscore the incorruptibility of her cadaver (an attribute of some saints), which miraculously still had congealed blood after centuries





I Had Rathar Die Than Offend God: Story of St. Agnes

1 07 2013
St. Agnes

One day, a little girl whose name was Agnes was coming home from school and a boy met her and asked her for sex. He promised, if she consented, to give her valuable jewels. But Agnes at once rejected the temptation, and told him to go away, for she would never consent to offend her God for anything that the world could give her.

The young man was angry. He later discovered that Agnes was a Christian.This was the year 200 when Christians were considered Criminals in Rome. The young man was determined to make Agnes yield to his wishes, or to accuse her to the pagan judge as belonging to that faith, and so she would be put to death.

When he told her what he intended to do, Agnes boldly answered, ” Never will I consent to offend my God by sin, and joyfully will I suffer the loss of all things rather than lose my soul.”

The young man accused her to the judge, and very soon Agnes was summoned before him. He tried first by kind words, and then by threats, to make her yield to him and renounce her faith, but to no effect. The firmness of the child filled him not only with wonder, but also with great wrath, and he handed her over to be executed.

Then Agnes prayed to God, that now since she had confessed His holy Name, and had kept her soul pure in the midst of evil, and since He had shown forth His great power in her, He would be pleased to take her to Himself in Heaven.

When she had finished her prayer the executioner prepared to pierce her neck with a sword, but the man was so overcome with emotion at the sight of one so beautiful and so young, that at first he could not do this ; but receiving a stern command from his superior, he gave her the fatal blow, and her happy soul went at once to her God in Heaven, whom she had so tenderly loved.

Our soul is that pearl which is beyond all price. Like Agnes we should be willing to suffer all rather than stain it by sin, and the only thought of our lives should be to preserve undefiled that priceless treasure. It is sin alone that can kill the soul.





Is God Your Toilet Bowl because you say so?

29 06 2013

Is God Your Toilet Bowl because you say so?

Is your toilet bowl your God because you say so?

Few philosophers in history have been so unreadable and dry as Immanuel Kant. Yet few have had a more devastating impact on human thought.

Kant’s devoted servant, Lampe, is said to have faithfully read each thing his master published, but when Kant published his most important work, “The Critique of Pure Reason,” Lampe began but did not finish it because, he said, if he were to finish it, it would have to be in a mental hospital. Many students since then have echoed his sentiments.

Yet this abstract professor, writing in abstract style about abstract questions, is, I believe, the primary source of the idea that today imperils faith (and thus souls) more than any other; the idea that truth is subjective.

The simple citizens of his native Konigsberg, Germany, where he lived and wrote in the latter half of the 18th century, understood this better than professional scholars, for they nicknamed Kant “The Destroyer” and named their dogs after him.

He was a good-tempered, sweet and pious man, so punctual that his neighbors set their clocks by his daily walk. The basic intention of his philosophy was noble: to restore human dignity amidst a skeptical world worshiping science.

This intent becomes clear through a single anecdote. Kant was attending a lecture by a materialistic astronomer on the topic of man’s place in the universe. The astronomer concluded his lecture with: “So you see that astronomically speaking, man is utterly insignificant.” Kant replied: “Professor, you forgot the most important thing, man is the astronomer.”

Kant, more than any other thinker, gave impetus to the typically modern turn from the objective to the subjective. This may sound fine until we realize that it meant for him the redefinition of truth itself as subjective. And the consequences of this idea have been catastrophic.

If we ever engage in conversation about our faith with unbelievers, we know from experience that the most common obstacle to faith today is not any honest intellectual difficulty, like the problem of evil or the dogma of the trinity, but the assumption that religion cannot possibly concern facts and objective truth at all; that any attempt to convince another person that your faith is true—objectively true, true for everyone—is unthinkable arrogance.

The business of religion, according to this mindset, is practice and not theory; values, not facts; something subjective and private, not objective and public. Dogma is an “extra,” and a bad extra at that, for dogma fosters dogmatism. Religion, in short, equals ethics. And since Christian ethics is very similar to the ethics of most other major religions, it doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian or not; all that matters is whether you are a “good person.” (The people who believe this also usually believe that just about everyone except Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson is a “good person.”)

Kant is largely responsible for this way of thinking. He helped bury the medieval synthesis of faith and reason. He described his philosophy as “clearing away the pretensions of reason to make room for faith”—as if faith and reason were enemies and not allies. In Kant, Luther’s divorce between faith and reason becomes finalized.

Kant thought religion could never be a matter of reason, evidence or argument, or even a matter of knowledge, but a matter of feeling, motive and attitude. This assumption has deeply influenced the minds of most religious educators (e.g., catechism writers and theology departments) today, who have turned their attention away from the plain “bare bones” of faith, the objective facts narrated in Scripture and summarized in the Apostles’ creed. They have divorced the faith from reason and married it to pop psychology, because they have bought into Kant’s philosophy.

“Two things fill me with wonder,” Kant confessed: “the starry sky above and the moral law within.” What a man wonders about fills his heart and directs his thought. Note that Kant wonders about only two things: not God, not Christ, not Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection and Judgment, but “the starry sky above and the moral law within.” “The starry sky above” is the physical universe as known by modern science. Kant relegates everything else to subjectivity. The moral law is not “without” but “within,” not objective but subjective, not a Natural Law of objective rights and wrongs that comes from God but a man-made law by which we decide to bind ourselves. (But if we bind ourselves, are we really bound?) Morality is a matter of subjective intention only. It has no content except the Golden Rule (Kant’s “categorical imperative”).

If the moral law came from God rather than from man, Kant argues, then man would not be free in the sense of being autonomous. This is true, Kant then proceeds to argue that man must be autonomous, therefore the moral law does not come from God but from man. The Church argues from the same premise that the moral law does in fact come from God, therefore man is not autonomous. He is free to choose to obey or disobey the moral law, but he is not free to create the law itself.

Though Kant thought of himself as a Christian, he explicitly denied that we could know that there really exists (1) God, (2) free will, and (3) immorality. He said we must live as if these three ideas were true because if we believe them we will take morality seriously, and if we don’t we will not. It is this justification of belief by purely practical reasons that is a terrible mistake. Kant believes in God not because it is true but because it is helpful. Why not believe in Santa Claus then? If I were God, I would favor an honest atheist over a dishonest theist, and Kant is to my mind a dishonest theist, because there is only one honest reason for believing anything: because it is true.

Those who try to sell the Christian faith in the Kantian sense, as a “value system” rather than as the truth, have been failing for generations. With so many competing “value systems” on the market, why should anyone prefer the Christian variation to simpler ones with less theological baggage, and easier ones with less inconvenient moral demands?

Kant gave up the battle, in effect, by retreating from the battlefield of fact. He believed the great myth of the 18th-century “Enlightenment” (ironic name!): that Newtonian science was here to stay and that Christianity, to survive, had to find a new place in the new mental landscape sketched by the new science. The only place left was subjectivity.

That meant ignoring or interpreting as myth the supernatural and miraculous claims of traditional Christianity. Kant’s strategy was essentially the same as that of Rudolf Bultmann, the father of “demythologizing” and the man who may be responsible for more Catholic college students losing their faith than anyone else. Many theology professors follow his theories of criticism which reduce biblical claims of eyewitness description of miracles to mere myth, “values” and “pious interpretations.”

Bultmann said this about the supposed conflict between faith and science: “The scientific world picture is here to stay and will assert its right against any theology, however imposing, that conflicts with it.” Ironically, that very “scientific world picture” of Newtonian physics Kant and Bultmann accepted as absolute and unchangeable has today been almost universally rejected by scientists themselves!

Kant’s basic question was: How can we know truth? Early in his life he accepted the answer of Rationalism, that we know truth by the intellect, not the senses, and that the intellect possesses its own “innate ideas.” Then he read the Empiricist David Hume, who, Kant said, “woke me from my dogmatic slumber.” Like other Empiricists, Hume believed that we could know truth only through the senses and that we had no “innate ideas.” But Hume’s premises led him to the conclusion of Skepticism, the denial that we can ever know the truth at all with any certainty. Kant saw both the “dogmatism” of Rationalism and the skepticism of Empiricism as unacceptable, and sought a third way.

There was such a third theory available, ever since Aristotle. It was the common sense philosophy of Realism. According to Realism, we can know truth through both the intellect and the senses if only they worked properly and in tandem, like two blades of a scissors. Instead of returning to traditional Realism, Kant invented a wholly new theory of knowledge, usually called Idealism. He called it his “Copernican revolution in philosophy.” The simplest term for it is Subjectivism. It amounts to redefining truth itself as subjective, not objective.

All previous philosophers had assumed that truth was objective. That’s simply what we common-sensically mean by “truth”: knowing what really is, conforming the mind to objective reality. Some philosophers (the Rationalists) thought we could attain this goal through reason alone. The early Empiricists (like Locke) thought we could attain it through sensation. The later skeptical Empiricist Hume thought we could not attain it at all with any certainty. Kant denied the assumption common to all three competing philosophies, namely that we should attain it, that truth means conformity to objective reality. Kant’s “Copernican revolution” redefines truth itself as reality conforming to ideas. “Hitherto it has been assumed that all our knowledge must conform to objects…more progress may be made if we assume the contrary hypothesis that the objects of thought must conform to our knowledge.”

Kant claimed that all our knowledge is subjective. Well, is that knowledge subjective? If it is, then the knowledge of that fact is also subjective, et cetera, and we are reduced to an infinite hall of mirrors. Kant’s philosophy is a perfect philosophy for hell. Perhaps the damned collectively believe they aren’t really in hell, it’s all just in their mind. And perhaps it is; perhaps that’s what hell is.

Peter Kreeft





Why doesn’t everybody believe that there is a purpose in Life?

23 06 2013

why deosnot every one believe that life has a pBecause some people think there is no real purpose or destiny to human life! They believe that only the things we make, like cars and watches, have design and purpose in them. We know what the purposes of these objects are because we designed them. (For instance, we know that the purpose of a car is transportation, and the purpose of a watch is to tell time.) But the things in nature, like trees and stars, were not designed by any human beings, so we do not know their purposes as we know the purposes of the things we design. So some people believe that there are no real purposes in the things in nature, but only in humanly designed artificial objects.
But one of the things in nature is human beings. They are not artificial objects! They are not artifacts like cars or watches. We did not design human nature; we only carry it on, by reproduction.
So the people who deny that human life has any real purpose argue this way:
If only artifacts have purposes, while things in nature do not; And if we are things in nature rather than artifacts; Then we have no real purpose.
So the answer to the question “What is the purpose of my existence?” is that there is no real purpose; we can imagine or make up any subjective purposes we want, but there is no objectively real purpose to human life. Life is purposeless, pointless, meaningless, in vain. “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Eccl 1:2).
This is the worst philosophy in the world. For it denies us the things we need most: meaning and purpose; a reason to live, learn, grow, and endure.
Meaninglessness is unendurable. Even pain isn’t as bad as meaninglessness. We can accept pains if they are meaningful: for instance, the pains of childbirth, or the pains of sacrificing for someone you love, or even the pains of martyrdom for a good cause. But we cannot accept meaninglessness. Even pleasures are not worthwhile if they are meaningless. (That’s why a billionaire can choose to commit suicide.) And even pains are worthwhile if they are meaningful. (That’s why a woman wants to give birth to a baby.)
The idea that objective things have no purpose is really atheism. For if God is real and if He created and designed everything, then everything has a purpose.
We can see some of the purpose of the things in nature. For instance, we can see that one of the purposes of stars is to enable us to think. For (a) if we did not breathe and bring oxygen to our brains, we could not think; and (b) if there were no green plants, we could not breathe, since their photosynthesis replaces carbon dioxide with oxygen; and (c) if there were no sun, there could be no green plants, for green plants need sunlight and heat, and (d) if there were no stars, there would be no sun, for the sun is a star. Therefore, if there were no stars, we could not think.
But many of the things in nature have designs and purposes that are not clear to us. They do not seem to be useful for us. (For instance, we wonder why God made so many mosquitoes.) So it takes a little faith, a little trust, to believe that everything has a purpose and that “all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Rom, 8:28), though we do not see this. This is especially true of things that make us suffer. We do not always see how suffering has a good purpose.
But if the Creator is all-wise, all-good, and all-powerful, then the quotation above from Romans 8:28 is true. If He is all-good, He wants what is best. If He is all-powerful, He is able to bring about what is best, in the end. And if He is all-wise, He knows what is best.
And since we are not all-wise, we do not know what is best in the long run. That is why we have to trust Him with all those mosquitoes and even with much worse things, like cancers. He knows how to bring greater goods out of great evils. That is what He did two thousand years ago on the Cross of Calvary when He brought about the greatest good for us, the greatest gift we have ever been given–salvation from sin and the ability to enter Heaven–through the greatest evil that ever happened, the torture and murder of Jesus Christ, the only perfect man who ever lived, the man who was God Himself.
Christians believe this. Many people don’t. Can Christian give them any reason to believe their religion’s answer to the question “Why do I exist”?
The best reason we can give them is ourselves: our love and our joy. You can’t argue with the happiness of a saint.
The greatest love, and the greatest joy, is mutual: it comes from both loving and being loved. The next-greatest joy comes from loving, even without being loved back. Even this second-best joy of loving without being loved back is greater and deeper than the third joy, the joy of being loved without loving. That is why saints are so happy: they are never in the third level of joy but always in the second or the first. (In fact, since they know God always loves them, you could say they are always in the first.) That’s why the prayer attributed to Saint Francis says:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, may I always seek not so much to be condemned as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

By Peter Kreeft





Why do I exist?

22 06 2013

why do i exist2

It is not a strange question at all, but a very natural question. Everyone asks it, consciously or unconsciously, though not necessarily in those words.
It is a religious question. It is a question to which all religions claim to have an answer. It is not abstract but as concrete and particular as you are. It’s about your life. Why is my existence in question?
Because you didn’t have to exist. If one little thing had happened differently to any of your ancestors, you would not exist. For instance, if your great-grandfather hadn’t been surprised by the sound of a squirrel dropping a nut on a dry leaf in the park where he was sitting on a bench a hundred years ago, he wouldn’t have turned his head around to see what the noise was, and he wouldn’t have noticed the pretty girl on the bench over there, walked over and struck up a conversation with her, got to know her, and eventually married her–and you are part of the rest of that story.
So is it just luck that you exist? Just chance? Did you just happen, or are you designed? Are you an accident, or are you wanted? Are you just lost on a stage without any lines to speak, just making it all up as you go along, or are you part of a play, a plot, a plan, with an Author’s mind behind it?
You can’t get the answer to that question just from your feelings, because your feelings change from year to year, day to day, even minute to minute. Everyone at times feels lost and meaningless, and everyone at other times feels part of a meaningful story.
It makes all the difference in the world how you ask that question. It amounts to asking whether your life has real meaning or not.
We deeply want our lives to have a real meaning. But where does this real meaning come from? Why is there a real answer to the question “Why do I exist?”
Because God is real, that’s why. Because you were willed into existence by an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful God. That’s why your life has meaning and purpose. How can we know the true answer to this question, the meaning of our life? What must we know, to know who we are?
The secret of your identity is in the mind of your Creator and Designer. Therefore, to find the meaning of your life, you must know God. To find out who Macbeth is, you must ask Shakespeare. To find out who Gollum is, you must ask Tolkien. To find out who you are, you must ask God.
How do we know God? Through Christ. “No one has ever seen God; the only Son . . . has made him known” (Jn 1:18).
To know yourself adequately, you must know God. And to know God adequately, you must know Christ. Therefore, to know yourself adequately, you must know Christ. Christ reveals not just who God is but also who we are.
When we ask why exist, what do we seek?
We seek our origin, our nature, and our destiny. There are actually three parts to this question: “Where did I come from?” and “What am I?” and “Where am I going?”
There are two radically different possible answers to this three-part question: the no-God answer and the God-answer. We exist either because of mere chance and accident or because of divine design; we exist either because of blind matter below us or because of conscious divine spirit above us.
The three questions (of origin, nature, and destiny) are connected. If our origin is only material, if we came only from mindless matter blindly bumping into more mindless matter and not from the Mind of God designing and creating matter, then our nature is also only matter: we are only apes with bigger brains but no souls. If our parents were big apes, we are only big apes. And then our destiny, our end, is only the destiny of all matter and animal life: death and decay. Period. End of the story. That is the logical consequence of believing that there is no God. Death wins in the end.
But if one’s origin is from above, from God–if we are designed and created by an intelligent Spirit–then our nature can be also spiritual, made in the image of the God who is spirit. God may have used evolution to make our bodies out of previously existing animal species, but souls cannot evolve. God must create each soul afresh.
If that is true–if we exist because of God, if we are real because God is real–then the practical consequences are tremendously important. For then each one of us has intrinsic dignity. That means that we are not mere objects to be used by other objects. We are God’s kids!
And then our destiny (the third connected question) is also spiritual: to live forever with God in Heaven. God is our first beginning and our last end, our ultimate origin and our ultimate destiny.

Prof. Peter Kreeft.








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