Nigerian archbishop makes plea for obedience in divided diocese
August 21, 2017
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos has issued a plea to the priests of the troubled Ahiara diocese to accept the authority of Bishop Peter Okpaleke.
Bishop Okpaleke, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in December 2012, has not been accepted by most of the priests and people of the diocese, who had hoped for a local prelate to be named as bishop. In June, Pope Francis wrote to the the clergy of Ahiara, saying that priests who did not accept the authority of Bishop Okpaleke within 30 days would be suspended from ministry. He ordered priests who had rejected the bishop’s authority to ask for forgiveness.
“We are particularly unhappy that the name of Nigeria is ringing in different parts of the world as people who are disloyal to the authority of the Pope,” said Archbishop Kaigama, the president of the Nigerian bishops’ conference. “But it is our fervent prayer that the people of Ahiara will see reason and come back to the Church that is founded on the obedience to the authority of God.”
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