Ahiara Catholic Priests Asks For More Time To See Pope

Following the allegation against the Priests of Ahiara Mbaise Diocese that they had disobeyed the Pope by rejecting Bishop Peter Okpaleke, and refused to honor the Pope’s latest invitation for dialogue, all the Catholic faithfuls gathered for a Prayer Rally at the Cathedral seeking for Holy Ghost intervention on the matter that has lingered for five years.
Delivering a Sermon during the Holy Mass, Rev Fr. David Iheanacho refuted the allegation that the Pope called and the Priests refused to answer, stressing that they had been the ones seeking audience with the Pope to no avail.
He regretted that the said letter of invitation from Rome got compromised before reaching them, which made them to write the Pope asking for more time to prepare for the visit instead of honoring the five days ultimatum of the said invitation letter.
Rev. Fr. Iheanacho stressed that the Priests of Ahiara Diocese can never disobey the Pope, pointing out that all they are asking is for the Pope to hear that his orders to “give them Bishop from amongst them”, is not followed, hoping that the five years mistake could be corrected with this development.
Meanwhile, in an address, the person in charge of Welfare of Priests, Rev. Fr. Augustine Ekechukwu explained that “the impeded Bishop Okpaleke”, must resign and allow Ahiara Diocese to move forward.
He regretted that Catholic Bishops of Nigeria ganged up against Mbaise Diocese and stopped Cardinal Onaikan who is the Administrator of the Diocese from ordaining Priests and conducting Sacrament of Confirmation as directed from Rome until the people accepted Okpaleke.
Later during a Press Conference, Rev. Fr. David Iheanacho maintained that the Canonical process of selecting a Bishop was not followed in the emergence of Bishop Okpaleke, stressing that the mistake must be corrected for the Church to move forward.
Also the Diocesan Canonist, Rev. Fr. Celestine Anyanwu explained that canonically, Rome cannot reverse itself by allowing Bishop Okpaleke to be Bishop of Ahiara Diocese because he had been impeded and Cardinal Onaikan had been the Administrator of Ahiara Diocese.
According to him, Rome could not have appointed an Administrator if they considered Okpaleke a Bishop of Ahiara Diocese.
Throwing more light on the matter, Rev. Fr. Ezeji explained that the Pope is regarded as infallible only in faith and morals, pointing out that the Pope is not directly involved in the administrative  appointment of a Bishop.
According to him, there are people who do the administrative works of Rome and they are guided by laws and procedures which those who appointed Okpaleke as the Bishop of Ahiara Dioceses refused to follow.
He cited the case whereby the Consistory process of making Cardinals, which is usually done only once a year did not include a Cardinal from Africa, the Pope’s attention was drawn to it and he entered into the second Consistory in the same year to appoint Cardinal Onaikan.
However, the Prayer Rally featured a speech by former Minister of Education Prof. Mrs. Viola Onwuliri who remembered that the day coincided with the fifth anniversary of Dana Air Crash which claimed the life of her husband and other Nigerians.
She also announced that a Movement of the Blessed Virgin Mary would be visiting Ahiara Diocese on July 2 from Umuahia, urging Catholic Faithfuls to join in the reception at Aguneze with their Petitions.
The high point of the occasion was a Rosary Procession  within the premises of the Cathedral.

One thought on “Ahiara Catholic Priests Asks For More Time To See Pope

  • 2017-06-16 at 10:29 am

    Somebody should have told Mr. Iheanacho that since he was seeking audience with the Pope and then it came by way of invitation, he should have raced down to Rome or was he expecting the Pope to come to Mbaise to meet him.
    Since he refused to go with his group of unfaithfuls, others went to Rome including his traditional ruler. He can go the way of the man who started this disobedience – resign from priesthood and get married.

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