NIGERIA: Comply with Pope Francis’ Directive, Cardinal Urges Priests

ABUJA JULY 7, 2017 (CISA) – John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese, has called on the priests of the diocese to comply and write an apology letter to Pope Francis by July 9.

“There is no more time for playing any games or prevaricating. The Pope has spoken. His words must be treated with utmost seriousness by anyone who considers himself a Catholic, and more especially, a Catholic Priest,” the Cardinal said July 3 in a message to the priests,CNSN reported.

The Cardinal who is also the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja urged the priests not to be confused by various publications going round questioning the authenticity of Pope’s demands without seeking confirmation from the Vatican.

“I am aware that some mischievous publications are making the rounds querying or even denying the authenticity of the document carrying the papal verdict. If those behind such ideas are serious and honest, they ought to simply seek confirmation from the usual authentic and official news channels of the Holy See, open to everyone. I urge you all not to allow yourselves to be confused, misled and distracted by such publications,” the Cardinal said.

“I have been praying fervently for all of you, with special remembrance at my daily Holy Masses, that the Holy Spirit of Truth may guide everyone to take the right decision on this very important matter,” he added.

Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 to head the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara. However, he has been unable to take control of the diocese because of protests by majority of the priests from the diocese.

On June 10, Pope Francis gave priests belonging to the diocese 30 days to write a letter promising obedience to him or be suspended.

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