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Monday, 3 July 2017
Ahiara Diocese: Priest worried over disobedience to Pope
Catholic priest, Rev. Fr Philip Jamang, has described the rejection
of Bishop Peter Okpalaeke by some members of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise,
in Imo, as a “disgrace” to the Catholic Church.
Parish Priest of Church of Assumption, Chongo Pyel, Jos, told the
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was particularly wrong for some
priests to support those against a Bishop appointed by the Pope.
action is strange; it is an insult never heard of in the Catholic
Church,” he said on Monday in Jos.
reports that Ahiara Catholic Diocese has remained without a Bishop,
more than four years after the death of its pioneer Bishop, Rt. Rev.
Victor Chikwe, after the rejection of Okpalaeke, who was appointed
and consecrated in 2012.
indicated that a section of Mbaise priests, supported by a segment of
the laity, had remained opposed to Okpalaeke, citing clannish
May 2017, the Pope gave the Diocese a 30-day ultimatum to accept
Okpalaeke and apologise over their unruly behaviour to him, or face
ultimatum expired last month without compliance.
while reacting to the lingering disagreement, said that the action of
the priests and the laity had demeaned the Catholic Church and the
sacred place of the Pontiff.
Catholic Church is a united entity known for sanity and dignity. If
today some sections of the Church, including priests in Ahiara, are
rejecting a Bishop on the basis of clan, then something is really
of the Bishops are not natives of Dioceses where they serve. Bishop
Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, for instance, is from Jalingo in Taraba.
Bishop Mathew Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese is from Kaduna State.
any Catholic faithful to insist that his or her Bishop must be a
native of the area he is posted, is very odd and strange,” he said.
urged Catholics and other Christians to accept and support people
ordained by God and sent to work with them as his ministers, and
avoid actions that would bring shame to Christianity.
also called on Christians to pray for the unity of the Church and
Nigeria in general