IMO, JULY 28, 2017(CISA)-Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has called on the rebelling priests of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara to respect Pope Francis and accept Bishop Peter Okpalaeke appointment as the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara.
He told the lay faithful of Ahiara Diocese that the decision of the Pope was binding on them and regretted that priests were at the forefront of the agitation.
“The Church would become an object of mockery if the crisis was to end the way priests and laity in the Diocese wants it to end,” Catholic News Service of Nigeria quoted Governor Okorocha as saying.
He was speaking July 25 during a meeting with representatives of priests and the lay faithful of the Diocese at the Mater Dei Cathedral, Ahiara, Imo State.
The Governor, a catholic, said that the meeting had been about how to resolve the crisis in the Diocese amicably and embrace peace.
“We are talking about Ahiara Diocese, IPOB, Boko Haram, Kidnappings, Niger Delta, etc. The one (crisis) that touches me so much is the crisis of Ahiara Diocese because this touches the fabric of our faith,” the state governor remarked.
“We are Christians, and you must understand that Christianity is a very difficult religion because Christianity doesn’t preach comfort for us rather, (our) ability to accept persecution. Today, we have a challenge that whatever has made Ahiara the centre of crisis, we must change it for better,” the Governor said.
He decried the “Declaration of Biafran War, killing of a steward, Ahiara Now’ and the Diocesan agitation spanning six years and attracting global focus.
“We must change the story of Ahiara. I want to state here categorically that since this crisis, I have been listening patiently and watching. But I had wished that my advice was taken ab-initio and ipso-facto,” said Governor Okorocha
Since 2012, the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Ahiara have refused to accept Bishop Peter Okpalaeke appointed as their Ordinary by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.