163 Nigerian Catholic Parishes May Be Shut Down By the Pope

The Roman Catholic Church in Imo state has been in a minor crisis with some parishes having to operate without a bishop for about four years.

The crises started as a result of the rejection by the Reverend Fathers of Mbaise extraction and the Laity of the appointment of Bishop Okpalaeke who was appointed about four years ago to replace Bishop Victor Chikiwe.

A report made by the Nation Newspaper revealed that the oppositions in the appointment demanded for a bishop who is a native of Mbaise as opposed to someone from other parts of the country. This disagreement, according to the report has resulted in the Ahiara Cathedral and the Bishop’s court remaining under lock and key. No one has also been able to administer Holy Communion as a result of the disagreement.

There have been series of mediation with an intervention from Pope Francis himself which led to an imposition on some priests to write a letter of apology.

However despite the intervention, the issue is yet to be resolved. More recently, there is news going around that about 163 branches in Ahiara will be shut down by the Pope. According to the Nation, a key source in the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in confirming the latest development said:

“What is happening in Ahiala is a great affront unheard of in the history of Catholicism in Nigeria and Africa.

“Never has the appointment of a Bishop been this hotly contested. It is a shame and very embarrassing to the CSN and the Pope. “If you consider how much patience the Pope has displayed, you will agree that it won’t be out of place for him to act now. “Any moment from now, he may announce the parishes are no longer under the Vatican. In that instance, they can get somewhere else to go. "

“The Pope is the final authority of the church and nothing will make him back to primordial ethnic sentiments “

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