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African bishop removed from office; mismanagement cited

CWN - April 01, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI has removed a bishop from his diocese in the Congo, reportedly because of gross mismanagement.

A terse Vatican announcement on March 31 indicated that the Holy Father had “removed Bishop Jean-Claude Makaya Loembe from the pastoral care of the diocese of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo.” But the respected Roman news agency I Media said that the Pope’s action was triggered by severe management problems in the diocese, and that Bishop Loemba had lost the confidence of his clergy.

Bishop Loemba, who is 56 years old, was appointed to head the Pointe-Noire diocese in 1994. He had reportedly resisted Vatican pressure for his resignation.

The announcement that Bishop Loemba was “removed” from office seems technically imprecise, notes canon-law expert Edward Peters. A bishop who refuses to resign can only be ousted through “privation” of office, a canonical penalty that can be imposed only for ecclesiastical crimes. Peters notes that in the language of canon law, “removal” from office is actually an action with more complicated canonical implications.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: ginamarie91432156 - May. 05, 2011 2:04 PM ET USA

    With the little information regarding the political climate of Congo of which I'm aware, I can't help but wonder if "gross mismanagement" points to the gross human rights violations going on in much of Africa. I pray for the people of the African nations.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Apr. 01, 2011 9:51 PM ET USA

    Was he deprived because he was depraved? (I couldn't resist...)

  • Posted by: enpeters6831 - Apr. 01, 2011 7:21 PM ET USA

    More precisely, I said papal “removal” of a bishop had greater ecclesiological (not penal) implications than did “privation”. For a pope to deprive a criminous bishop of office falls squarely within the Petrine duty to preserve Church integrity; to remove a sitting bishop for differences of, well, whatever, would be harder to explain in terms of the reciprocal papal-episcopal duties collegiality and communion. That’s why I think the pope “deprived” this bishop of office, and did not “remove" him.

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