Apologise To the Holy See Or Risk Suspension Pope Francis Tells All Priests Of Ahiara Diocese

Apologise To the Holy See Or Risk Suspension Pope Francis Tells All Priests Of Ahiara Diocese
June 10 09:16 2017 Print This Article

The Pontiff, Pope Francis, has directed all priests in the Diocese of Ahiara to write individual letter of apology to him within 30 days, pledging alliance to The Holy See and the new bishop of the Diocese of Ahiara Bishop Peter Okpaleke or risk suspension and losing their offices as priests.

The Pope made this disclose in an audience with a delegation from Nigeria, who were at the Vatican to resolve the lingering crisis in the Ahiara Diocese that has led to the inability of the Catholic Church to formally enthrone the new bishop of the diocese.

Members of the delegation were His Eminence Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja and Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara, Anthony Obinna, Metropolitan Archbishop of Owerri, Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria and  Okpaleke, Bishop of Ahiara.

Other at the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State, the Prefect and Superiors of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples were also present as well as Reverend Fathers C. O. Ebii, J. N. Uwalaka and U. I. Olekamma, Sister B. O. Ezeyi and S.A.R.P Iwu, Traditional Head, on behalf of the religious and lay faithful.

The meeting, characterized by dialogue and listening, ended with a prayer to Mary and the Pope’s blessing.

During the audience the Pope said “I ask that every priest or ecclesiastic incardinated in the Diocese of Ahiara, whether he resides there or works elsewhere, even abroad, write a letter addressed to me in which he asks for forgiveness; all must write individually and personally. We all must share this common sorrow”.

In the letter, the Pope said “one must clearly manifest total obedience to the Pope, and whoever writes must be willing to accept the Bishop whom the Pope sends and has appointed.The letter must be sent within 30 days, from today to July 9th, 2017. Whoever does not do this will be ipso facto suspended a divinis and will lose his current office.This seems very hard, but why must the Pope do this? Because the people of God are scandalized. Jesus reminds us that whoever causes scandal must suffer the consequences. Maybe someone has been manipulated without having full awareness of the wound inflicted upon the ecclesial communion”.

While expressing thanks and cordial greetings to the delegation for the visit in a spirit of pilgrimage, Pope Francis lamented that “for me, this meeting is a consolation because I am deeply saddened by the events of the Church in Ahiara. In fact, the Church is like a widow for having prevented the Bishop from coming to the Diocese. Many times I have thought about the parable of the murderous tenants, of which the Gospel speaks, that want to grasp the inheritance. In this current situation the Diocese of Ahiara is without the bridegroom, has lost her fertility and cannot bear fruit”.

The Holy Father continued “Whoever was opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the Diocese wants to destroy the Church. This is forbidden; perhaps he does not realize it, but the Church is suffering as well as the People of God within her. The Pope cannot be indifferent.  I know very well the events that have been dragging on for years and I am thankful for the attitude of great patience of the Bishop, indeed the holy patience demonstrated by him”.

Pope Francis said “I listened and reflected much, even about the possibility of suppressing the Diocese, but then I thought that the Church is a mother and cannot abandon her many children. I feel great sorrow for those priests who are being manipulated even from abroad and from outside the Diocese. I think that, in this case, we are not dealing with tribalism, but with an attempted taking of the vineyard of the Lord. The Church is a mother and whoever offends her commits a mortal sin, it’s very serious”.

He said “however, I decided not to suppress the Diocese. Instead, I wish to give some indications that are to be communicated to all: first of all it must be said that the Pope is deeply saddened”.

“To you brothers and sisters, I would like to express my sincere thanks for your presence; and also to Cardinal Onaiyekan for his patience and to Bishop Okpaleke, whose patience and humility I admire. Thank you all”.

 

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1 Comment

  1. ak
    June 12, 01:14 #1 ak

    You are the rock on which i will build my church.

    Reply to this comment

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