A Catholic Monsignor of Orlu Catholic Diocese has reminded the entire catholic faithfuls of Ahiara and the entire people that the Pope's word is final, and therefore, enjoins them to obey.
Recall that for the past five years, the people of Ahiara have rejected the bishop appointed for their diocese, on the basis that the new bishop in question is not an indigene of Ahiara.
In his Facebook Post titled "IF I WERE AHIARA-MBAISE PRIETS- IF I WERE THE LAY FAITHFUL OF AHIARA-MBAISE DIOCESE."
Msgr. Nathaniel Ndiokwere wrote:
"For Nigerians, Igbos, and particularly Mbaise people interested in
this bishopric saga which is covered by many news media all over the
world today, I conclude my write up or contribution to the debate, which
I deliberately decided to break up into two parts because of the length
or volume of material, that is if you have been following the first
part which was “If I were Bishop Okpalaeke”; “If I were the Pope”.
I must let my readers know that since the beginning of this ‘parlavar’
I have been in touch with some of the Mbaise people who are my friends
and even classmates. I am not from Mbaise. I am from Orlu and Orlu
diocesan priest. I feel concerned about what is happening in this part
of Igbo Church. We priests are not saints in any way. Not only in
Nigeria or Africa, but all over the world, you find ‘wolves in sheep’s
clothing’. In public matters, some are quiet, silent; others can be
raucous, noisy, flamboyant; while many more can be outspoken and cling
to the words of the scriptures, damn the consequences, “Only the truth
can make the people free.” I know where I belong.
(C) IF I WERE AHIARA-MBAISE PRIESTS
Nothing is yet ‘too late’. We must stop immediately any further media
responses or letters to the Holy See. The leadership of the
presbyterium, namely that of the so-called ‘dissident’ group must be
disbanded or suspended or reorganized. Those leaders whose signatures
had been appearing on official documents must step aside and new
‘transitional committee’ elected. Listen! NNAMDI KANU cannot lead or
represent BIAFRA anymore. He cannot hold any dialogue with the federal
government . You surely know why. Biafra needs a new leadership.
“SON OF THE SOIL CERTIFICATE”
As Mbaise priest, ordained before 1987, I know fully well that our
seniors and some Mbaise lay people, had right from Bishop Mark Unegbu’s
time, agitated for, demanded, requested for a bishop, who must be one of
their sons - “Son of the soil”. They made it clear to Rome in writing.
And after very careful consideration Rome agreed, granted their
request, in order for peace to reign. Vatican or Roman diplomacy was at
work those days . Men, human beings, those days interfered little in the
WORKS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. So at the end of the installation of the
first bishop of AHIARA diocese, Most Rev. Victor CHIKWE, the Nuncio made
the following announcement which stunned everybody. It was hot
afternoon, the mass was celebrated under series of canopies. I was there
and surely hundreds of priests, religious and lay people.
The Nuncio’s Announcement:
“Thank you everybody. I hope you are now happy Mbaise people. We have
granted your request and given you, your own son of the soil. I hope
there will be peace now and everybody is happy with you own son of the
soil Thank you.”
There was no applause, no joyful excitement.
Everywhere was quiet. I am 100% sure I quoted the nuncio well. A pity a
video recording of that installation ceremony many not be available. The
Italian nuncio spoke in English tainted with Italian accent.
So, what the present set of Mbaise priests are doing, 30 years after the
installation of their first indigenous bishop looks like a “follow-up”,
a “tradition”, which may not work any more in present circumstances. I
personally communicated this information to the administrator of AHIARA
diocese, His Eminence John Anaiykan, two years ago, as what I thought
could help to resolve the impasse.
As a priest of the diocese I
will wonder why the majority of Mbaise priests CONSULTORS rejected
their own brothers, nominated as possible bishopric candidates for
AHIARA? Some of the priests wrote malicious petitions disqualifying
their own brothers ! Then Rome had no option than bringing in an
‘external candidate’, ‘non-son-of-the-soil’. By our action we have put
ourselves into trouble and have no grounds whatsoever rejecting any
bishop given to Mbaise. Period. But internally I know the priests behind
the trouble in Mbaise. Not the leaders we see their signatures or hear
their voices . There are some of them who are behind the mayhem in
Mbaise. If I mention their names there will be a stampede! These should
not have been ordained priests. Hopefully, Rome will defrock them later!
If I were a priest of AHIARA I will tell my colleagues that we
have lost the case and must accept the verdict of the Roman Pontiff. The
last appeal we can make or add to our letter is to ask the Pope to
accept a collective letter of forgiveness. Those who may not like to
append their signature are free to go their way, laicize or found their
new Pentecostal churches.
(D) IF I WERE THE LAY FAITHFUL OF AHIARA-MBAISE
The lay faithful of Mbaise are giving the impression that their priests
have misled them, that they never cared about the type of bishop given
to them, his color, language or place of origin. Wow! The world is also
getting the impression that at least 90% of Mbaise faithful are against
the rejection of Bishop Okpalaeke.
My question: Where were your
intelligentsia and faithful Catholics all the while? Why couldn't you
organize counter-protests, denouncing the rebel priests, paying
allegiance to the Pope and Bishop he appointed as shepherd?
many lay Mbaise people came out on the social media campaigning for the
restoration of peace in the diocese? The lay Mbaise sons that showed up
were the most vicious rebels who confronted the Pope and all his
representatives in the saga, messed up everything, in fact poured more
fuel into the fire at each stage! Where are those rebels now at this
precarious situation and stage we find ourselves?
Now the Pope has given the order and conditions for the restoration of
peace in Mbaise Church. The Vatican Correspondent of the EWTN World News
Service commenting on the punishment given to AHIARA-Mbaise priests,
(left and right, living at home and abroad, including those in religious
congregations,) sadly observed that the punishment, in the history of
the Catholic Church, is the most unpleasant, severe, harsh, difficult to
accept, they have witnessed. The correspondent said she could not
imagine what Promised the Holy Father to issue such statements! There we
are! Who is kidding you!
If I were the lay faithful, now is the
time for peaceful marches and prayer procession in support of the Holy
Father and the Bishop. If you fail, and the pope removes from your
priests the power to administer the sacraments, then your eyes will
open. Time for protests are gone. Both priests and the lay faithful of
Mbaise must know that the Pope’ word now is final. Peace of the Lord be