Religious rebellion! Imo Catholic community rejects Bishop…Petitions Pope
The Catholic priests and laity of Ahiara Diocese (Mbaise) in Imo state have said that they cannot accept Bishop Vincent Okpaleke as the prelate of the Diocese until the injustices meted to them were reversed.
They also vehemently maintained that they were not against the authority of the Pope but insisted that they should be given some time to heed to the sudden summon of both the clergy and laity of the Diocese to Rome by the Pope.
The priests also insisted that the Pope was misinformed about the goings-on in the Diocese by the representatives of the Catholic Church in the Vatican city, just as they added that the present circumstance was an auspicious time to right the wrongs.
“We are set to correct that rot and process that brought in Okpaleke as the Bishop of the Diocese. It is very demystified in the Catholic Church that the people of God are given a leader (Bishop) acceptable to them.”
They said that the Diocesan priests had overtime made frantic efforts to make their case known to Pope but regretted that those efforts were nipped in the bud by the Nigerian representatives of the church in Rome.
“This is because they don’t want us to uncover their anomalies before His Holiness. The many letters written to the Vatican city through them were treated with ignominy.”
Okpaleke, a priest from Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province was consecrated a Bishop for Ahiara Diocese on December 7, 2012, at Seat of Wisdom Seminary Ulakwo in Owerri North Local Government Area of the state, after the death of first Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Victor Chikwe. He has since been operating outside the diocese.
Briefing journalists after an ecclesiastical mass/rally at Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral (seat of the Diocese) over the weekend, the President of the Mbaise Indigenous Catholic priests, Reverend Father Augustine B. Ekechukwu contended that the diocese parades the highest number of priests in Nigeria with high academic degrees in different disciplines and wondered why no priest from the Presbyterium was not elected to take over the mantle of leadership of the diocese.
He further said that the Diocese needed a bishop from the presbyterium who understood the operational and administrative mode of the Diocese.Punch