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Ahiara crisis has put Catholic Church to shame, says Laity Council

By Vincent Ujumadu

Awka- THE Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria declared yesterday that the action of those behind the imbroglio in the Ahiara Diocese had put the church to shame.

Addressing reporters in Awka, the National President of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Mr. Chiboza Nnagboh and the secretary general, Mr. Anthony Idonin, expressed worry that the discordant tunes from Mbaise were still going on even after the personal intervention of the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis.

While calling on the priests and the lay faithful of Ahiara Diocese to religiously comply with the directive of the Holy Father to accept Bishop Peter Okpaleke unconditionally as their Bishop, the laity council, which is a body comprising all Catholics in Nigeria, reminded them that there was a process for electing a Bishop in the Catholic Church, adding that that process was duly followed in the enthronement of Bishop Okpaleke.

The council said: “The Catholic Council of Nigeria is completely scandalized and bewildered by the uncharitable and venomous utterances used against the hierarchy of the church. We are more stupefied by the fact that these utterances were coming from people who are well schooled in the teaching and doctrines of the Catholic Church.

“Is it not sad that priests of the Catholic Church could defy papal authority? We cannot profess to be Catholics, while our words and actions show the antithesis.

“The imbroglio in Ahiara Diocese, which is occasioned by the disobedience of some people in the diocese to obey the directive of the Holy Father to accept Bishop Peter Okpaleke as their Bishop, has put us in a quagmire and shamed us before the world.

“The Mbaise people have brought the moral bar too low by their action and so brought disgrace to everybody.

“The recent appointment, acceptance and peaceful installation of the Bishop of Ogoja, who hails from Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State, should be instructive enough to Ahiara people.

“The discordant and cacophony tunes we still hear from the people of Mbaise today ought not to be, after the personal intervention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

“The teaching of the Catholic Church richly documented in our myriad Catholic literature is enough to sway any aggrieved member to the path of obedience of the Pope, who is the Vicar of Christ. Enough is enough”.

They explained that all members of the laity in Ahiara who were involved in the ongoing crisis had been sanctioned by the council, even as they commended those who stood religiously behind Bishop Okpaleke.


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