Reactions trail priests’ protest over bishop-elect

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By CHIDI NKWOPARA

OWERRI—Angry reactions have started trailing last weekend’s peaceful protest by some priests of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, Mbaise, over the appointment of a bishop-elect, Monsignor Ebere Peter Okpalaeke, who was moved from Awka Catholic Diocese.

Some priests from Mbaise, who spoke at different fora, on strict grounds of anonymity, complained that their brother priests were “dragging the issue to a grotesque level.”

An elderly priest said he was particularly pained that the issue was already bringing bad press to the church, adding that this was not what anybody should wish for now.

“My dear brother, I am particularly pained that this is attracting very bad press to the Catholic Church and to us as Catholic priests. This is not the best we can wish the Church now,” the elderly priest said.

A much younger priest said: “Granted that Mbaise produces the largest number of priests and religious in Nigeria, I do not think the best we can add to this testimonial is engaging in unholy politics.”

Vanguard recalls that the priests stated in their six-page press statement that they rejected the appointment of Monsignor Okpalaeke.

“In unequivocal terms, we restate our resolve to resist any attempt to forcefully impose him on us as the bishop of our beloved diocese,” the priests stated.

Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, is set to intervene in the matter.

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