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Removed by Vatican decision, African bishop resigns

CWN - April 16, 2010

The Holy See announced on April 15 that Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of 52-year-old Bishop Jacob Koda of Same. Bishop Koda, who was appointed bishop of the northeastern Tanzanian diocese in 1999, left the country on a sabbatical in June 2009, and a diocesan priest was appointed apostolic administrator.

While the reasons for Bishop Koda’s removal were not made public, local press reported on the prelate’s unnamed “alleged moral failings.” Denying an accusation that he was a Freemason, Bishop Koda accused another unnamed bishop of engineering his ouster.

“After a thorough investigation conducted by my office, the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples, under the leadership of [Archbishop] Robert Sarah, has advised Bishop Koda to rest outside the country,” Archbishop Joseph Chennoth, the apostolic nuncio, said in June. Archbishop Joseph Lebulu of Arusha, who served as Bishop of Same from 1979 to 1998, added, “We need God’s forgiveness. Nobody is perfect. Today we should ask God to forgive our sins.” In May 2009, an investigation conducted by Archbishop Sarah, the Guinea-born secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, led to the resignation of the Central African Republic’s leading prelate.

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