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Bishop's Message/Blog

Between justice and mercy

Justice is one of the cardinal virtues besides prudence, fortitude and temperance. Justice in its ordinary and proper sense is a moral quality or habit, which perfects the will and inclines it to render to each person and to all people whatever they deserve, praise or punishment. However, as we seek justice and ask for rights to be protected, we must also dispense justice with mercy so that whoever deserves the big stick of justice may also feel the mercy of the father even as he may pay for the wrong done. In giving justice, we must always temper it with mercy. Many of those in prison are paying for the crimes they committed but in doing so, we have a duty to reach out to them in order to ameliorate their conditions. It is in this light that we commend very warmly the activities of the Archdiocesan Prison Apostolate for the good work they are doing among us. We commend all those who make contributions to the prison apostolate of the Mother Theresa Sisters and all those who take it as a duty to be with the Archbishop whenever he visits the prison.

We thank and commend the Knights of St. Mulumba who built the chapel at Kirikiri Medium Prison, the legionaries and others who visit the prisons. May God bless you all. However, let us remember that most of those who are in prison yards are people awaiting trial and people picked up for minor offences. We call upon all our people to make an effort to help in securing the freedom of so many that need not be in prison. Some have been in prison for years because they cannot pay such paltry fines as ten or twenty thousand naira. We call upon the Catholic Lawyers Association to take steps to provide pro bono services to prisoners who are in need so that by the time we celebrate the jubilee of prisoners, we would be able to have many who have been freed as a result of our actions come to Mass of thanksgiving which we shall celebrate for them.

• Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.



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