NIGERIA: Bishops Urge Clergy and Faithful of Ahiara Diocese to Obey the Pope

ABUJA AUGUST 25, 2017 (CISA) – The Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri have called on the priests, religious and lay faithful of Ahiara Diocese to comply with Pope Francis’ directive, accept Bishop Peter Okpaleke as their bishop, and prepare for his installation.

“We… earnestly call on all the priests, religious and laity of Ahiara Diocese to unconditionally obey the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, and to comply with all his directives, wholeheartedly accept Bishop Peter E. Okpaleke and prepare for his installation,” the bishops said in a pastoral letter.

The bishops expressed satisfaction with the personal intervention of the Holy Father in the crisis but pointing out that the Ahiara crisis has been a very painful experience for the Church of the Ecclesiastical Province, reported Fides.

“We have known and felt the scandal and pain of disunity which has attended the crisis in Ahiara Diocese. Many have been deeply wounded, and many others have felt bitter. We passionately plead for conversion, forgiveness and reconciliation,” they said.

Speaking on the political situation of the country, the bishops expressed concern and called for concerted soul-searching as to “whether we really want to build and be an equitable, united and peaceful nation.”

“…Having seen a tragic civil war in Nigeria from which we are still to recover and with small-scale wars still raging, here and there in Nigeria, our government and political leaders should embrace the path of compassion, dialogue and repentance so that Nigerians and Nigeria may be repaired, renewed and truly united,” they said.

“We therefore urge all Nigerians to eschew all forms of hate-speech capable of inflaming passions,” added the bishops.

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