- Sep 20, 2020
Father Kingsley Anyanwu, editor of The Guide, the Ahiara diocesan newspaper, says he “cannot say that everybody, that is including the priests, religious and laity, have heeded the appeal from the provincial bishops to accept Bishop Okpaleke as their bishop and prepare for his installation.” Pope Francis has ordered the priests to accept their bishop, or face suspension from office.
There are conflicting reports on how many priests in the Nigerian diocese of Ahiara will comply with the demand by Pope Francis to submit a letter of obedience by Sunday. Many of the priests who are sending letters still insist the clergy of the diocese suffer discrimination by the Church in the country.
Following a dramatic show of papal authority in Nigeria, with Pope Francis demanding that all the priests of a diocese write him a letter pledging their loyalty and promising to accept the bishop the pope has appointed, the matter seems far from resolved. Some priests seem willing to go along, while others are submitting a half-apology, and others are even calling for the pope’s resignation.
After Pope Francis issued a dramatic demand for submission from priests in the Nigerian diocese of Ahiara, insisting they all write to pledge loyalty and to indicate a willingness to accept a bishop appointed in 2012 who’s never been able to take control, an online campaign is attempting to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the pope’s edict.
Pope Francis has demanded obedience from priests in a Nigerian Diocese where the bishop has been unable to take up residence. Nigerian church leaders met Francis to discuss the situation of Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke, who was appointed bishop of Ahiara by then-Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, but has been rejected by the clergy because he is not from the diocese.