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Benin Catholic Diocese gets new Apostolic Administrator

By Simon ebegbulem
FOLLOWING the resignation of the Arch Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Benin, Richard Burke, over alleged sex scandal with a Nigerian woman, Atwood Dolores, the Vatican has appointed Bishop Anthony Gbuji, as the Apostolic Administrator.

Meanwhile, there is unease in the Diocese Wednesday, following the sudden redeployment of Reverend Fathers 48 hours after the resignation of the Bishop.

When Vanguard visited the Diocese Wednesday, most of the offices were closed and it was difficult to get the authorities to comment on the issue. However, Vanguard was reliably informed by a source in the Diocese that a letter came from the Vatican on the 31st of May, which mandated Bishop Gbuji, who retired last year as the Bishop of the Enugu Diocese to act as Apostolic Administrator.

It would be recalled that Atwood Dolores, who Vanguard learnt presently resides in Canada, alleged that Burke abused her when she was a 14 year-old patient in a hospital in Warri and she later had an unholy relationship with him.

Ever since the matter was exposed, the Bishop has been under investigation by the Vatican but he finally threw in the towel in order not to further throw the name of the church into the mud.

However, some Catholic faithful who craved anonymity, defended that action of the Bishop and insisted that the allegation against him could have been fabricated due to what they described as the “on going effort by some persons in the world who are bent on discrediting the Catholic Faith”.

One of them queried that “how come they are just discovering that the Bishop was unfaithful now after several years that they claimed the incident happened. This propaganda has been going on in America and Europe and it is just to force the Vatican to stop celibacy which the church is known for. So all these blackmail will not work because the Vatican is already aware of these devilish acts”.

However, Vanguard gathered that fresh crisis is brewing in the Diocese following the sudden posting of some Rev. Fathers to some certain areas by the Vicar General whose powers was also supposed to be terminated on the 31st of May, 2010, that Bishop Burke resigned.

It was learnt that some of the letters as regards to the posting of some of these Rev. Fathers were back dated so as to cover up those anomalies. Vanguard learnt that according to the Cannon Law, all appointments made by the Bishop, which included that of the Vicar General seizes to function.

Rather than the Vicar General making the postings, it was expected to be handled by the newly appointed Apostolic Administrator. Vanguard learnt that there may be a show down between some of the affected Priests and the Vicar General after they claimed that the postings were meant to victimized some persons.


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