TStv Africa

TStv Africa

Following the rumbling and raging controversies concerning the Ahiara Bishopric Crises, people have provided diversified views on the matter. Here is the view of Msgr. Nathaniel Ndiokwere, a Catholic Priest of Orlu Diocese. 

1. I will have good understanding for the ‘rebel-side’s’ inability to attend the Vatican Summit. Rightly they suspected that a decision about the AHIARA debacle had been made, months ago. There was no need to go to Rome to argue with the Pope, Christ’s representative on earth.
2. I will examine the cases and documents submitted by both sides thoroughly well, especially those submitted by my very representatives, informants and mediators, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, nuncios and others. Only the Holy Spirit knows that they might have been biased in their reports, taken sides, and even blatantly lied; thus misinforming His Holiness. One simple example: The people of God were shocked to hear or read from the released newspaper report that the kind, fatherly, peace-loving Pope Francis used such harsh Council of Trent Excommunication language while addressing the so-called intransigent or dissident, renegade African priests! “……..If they didn't submit each, personal letters of apology within one month …..ipso facto….!!! Wow!! Not Pope Francis! One of the Pope’s Representatives (Most Rev NN) had a year or two ago issued that very ultimatum! “The voice of Jacob but the hands of Jacob but the hands of Esau!” (Gen:27.22). Many Catholics in Nigeria and elsewhere NEVER thought such language was in anyway ‘reconciliatory’ in nature or could have come from Pope Francis! No way! Pope Francis does not accommodate fraudulent activities.
3. Pope Francis, Father of the poor; Father of the oppressed and Voice of the voiceless is NOT a harsh Pope, unkind and merciless Shepherd of of Christ’s flock of AHIARA MBAISE Catholics, denied specially Sacraments of Priestly Ordination and Confirmation for past 4 years or more. Are they not poor and oppressed members of Christ flock? If Muslims are persecuting and denying them such spiritual privileges what will Christians all over the world say? “TIT FOR TAT. BURN THEM, LET THEM SUFFER, THEIR PRIESTS ARE STUBBORN, LET THEM DIE IN THEIR SINS!”
4. If I were the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on Earth I must go beyond my informants and representatives to find out what and how Christians and Catholics in Nigeria are suffering under the hegemony of Islamic Jihadists. Muslims from the North are rapidly moving South slaughtering Igbos and Nigerian Christians. AHIARA-MBAISE is Igbo heartland and predominantly catholic. Igbos cannot be quarreling over a bishopric leadership when the catholic faith in our land is under threat from Islamic fundamentalists. There is need to settle this bishopric case as well as that of ABA so soon so that Igbo Catholics will go about their business and suffer less from political and church leadership tussles in Nigeria.
5. If I were the pope I will be very cautious in the way this AHIARA case is settled. If badly handled it may affect the future of the Catholic Church and Christianity in Nigeria and in fact Africa. Friend or foe, we must acknowledge that MBAISE is the most fertile land for vocations in the catholic priesthood and religious life. The sooner this case is settled the better. Nigerians should never rejoice when their brothers and sisters are in pains and suffering!
6. It has to be noted down correctly that the so-called “dissident” MBAISE priests and the lay people behind them are not rejecting Bishop Okpalaeke on the “Son of the Soil” theory. Have MBAISE capable, qualified priests for the bishopric office! Oh Yes! Too many for that matter! But these same people rejected their own candidates, too, nominated for the office of the Bishop of AHIARA!! You can ask. There are other reasons why it is very important to closely look into the “local grievances and roots” of the protests and rejection.
7. Finally, If I were the pope, I will re-assign Bishop Okpalaeke. He can be sent to another diocese or given any other bishopric assignment. But after final representation from MBAISE PRESBYTERIUM and careful reflection by the Holy Father, the Papal decision must be accepted by the PEOPLE OF GOD IN AHIARA-MBAISE. Peace of the Lord be with you!

Msgr. Nathaniel Ndiokwere is a Catholic Priest of Orlu Diocese. 

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