Posted by News Express | 15 November 2021 | 2,379 times
Over 100 Catholic faithful of the Abakaliki Diocese on Sunday besieged the Pastoral Centre Chaplaincy to protest the suspension of the Rev Fr in-charge of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Otinyi Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Rev Fr. John Odey.
The protesters, who carried placards with inscriptions, were drawn from the different parishes of the Diocese.
They stormed the church as early as 8am and blocked the entrance, causing vehicular and human traffic along the major road.
The protest almost disrupted the service at the Bishop Court as many parishioners joined in the exercise.
One of the protesters, Bro Romanus Igwe, said that they were at the Bishop Court to protest the indefinite suspension of the priest. He alleged that there has been a lot of injustices and intimidation in the Abakaliki Diocese of the Catholic Church.
He expressed the regret that a lot of issues that should have followed canonical due process were being politicised and called on the new Bishop, Peter Chukwu to urgently address some of the ills in the Diocese.
The suspension of the Priest, a known critic of leadership in the church and government circles, followed a book he recently launched in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital which generated an uproar within the Catholic community.
The book titled: “The forbidden truth and the clouds of witness: How Rev Fr. Emmanuel Obuna ruled and crippled Abakaliki Diocese”, made scathing attacks on Bishop Nnachi Okoro and his Vocations Director, Rev Dr Emmanuel Ọbụna.
However, another worshipper, Mr. Ben Nworie, condemned the book in its entirety adding that it completely brought disrepute to the Catholic Church.
“If an ordained man of God can author such book against a fellow priest, then morality and forgiveness have been substantially murdered. The book, not minding if there’s any good intention, should not have come from a Catholic Priest. It’s anti-catholic and must be condemned. Men of God should take frontal position to pray for our leaders in all strata
“There are lots of moral burdens on the book and I must say that Rev Fr. John Odeh goofed in his new book. God servants should stop acting as if they are spokesmen of opposition political parties. Men of God should be radical for Jesus Christ and not radical in activism,” he said.
Reacting, Fr Odey disowned the protesters, adding that he has no problem with the Bishop or the church. He described the protesters as his enemies who want to put him and the church at loggerheads.
“I have no problem with my Bishop. I accepted his suspension pronouncement in good faith the day he made it. I stood up and said my Bishop I am not angry whatever you can do to ensure there is peace and you reign well but I wore what was disturbing me in a book and that is what I have told every human being that came to me.
“Anybody that came in protest is an enemy that wants to destroy me. The Catholic Church is divine. When we have problem, we take time to resolve it. A priest cannot go on protest against his bishop. Anybody who is there, I don’t know, I am in the village,” he said.
Director of Communication of the Diocese, Rev Fr. Ifeanyi Ogodo, could not be reached for comments as his phone was switched off.
Courtesy (excluding headline) The Nation
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