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Despite Pope’s intervention, ‘rebellious’ priests frustrate Okpaleke out of Ahiara diocese

Despite Pope’s intervention, ‘rebellious’ priests frustrate Okpaleke out of Ahiara diocese
February 19
20:22 2018
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Peter Okpaleke, Catholic bishop of Ahiara diocese, in Imo state, has finally resigned, following rejection from the faithful in the diocese.

A statement issued by the Vatican on Monday said Pope Francis has accepted his resignation.

Ahiara diocese had been engulfed in crisis following their refusal to accept Peter Okpaleke, appointed the local bishop in 2012 by the then pontiff, Benedict XVI.

While some of them accepted him, a good number of the clergy and laity members in the diocese rejected him, insisting that an indigene of the place be made the bishop.

On June 8, Francis threatened to fire priests in the diocese if they fail to write him promising “total obedience”.

Francis had also demanded that the “rebellious” priests write a letter of apology to Okpaleke.

Fides, the vatican’s missionary news agency, on Monday published excerpts from Okpaleke’s resignation letter, saying he (Okpaleke) had not been able to take possession of the diocese because of continuing “violent reaction and resistance”.

Fides said about 200 priests had written to the pope promising their obedience.

Many had also told the pontiff that they had “psychological difficulty in collaborating with the bishop after years of conflict”.

The agency, which is controlled by the Vatican, said the “rebellious” priests should “reflect on the grave damage inflicted on the church” through their “unreasonable actions opposing a bishop legitimately appointed by the supreme pontiff”.

In his resignation letter, Okpaleke said remaining bishop would not be beneficial to the Catholic church.

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