Category: News

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Nigerian Bishop Okpaleke

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation Of Nigerian Bishop Okpaleke

Bishop Okpaleke

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Nigerian bishop whose 2012 appointment sparked years of protest from the diocese’s priests, backing down from a confrontation eight months after threatening to suspend the priests should they continue to agitate.

In a short note Feb. 19, the Vatican said the pontiff had accepted the resignation of Bishop Peter Okpaleke, head of the southern Nigerian diocese of Ahiara, and put neighboring Umuahia Bishop Lucius Ugorji in charge as apostolic administrator.

Okpaleke was appointed to his post by Pope Benedict XVI but was never able to take possession of the diocese because of the widespread nature of the protests. Francis wrote to the priests of the diocese last June, giving them 30 days to accept their bishop or be suspended from ministry.

The priests had complained that Okpaleke was not from Mbaise, the region surrounding their diocese. They said it is unfair that there is no Catholic bishop in Nigeria originally from their region, long known as one of the country’s most Catholic areas.

Francis’ removal of Okpaleke represents the second notable about-face the pontiff has made regarding a local bishop in three weeks, following his Jan. 30 decision to send Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna to investigate accusations against Chilean Bishop Juan Barros Madrid.

The pope had previously called allegations that Barros was witness as a priest in the 1980s and 90s to sexual abuse by Fr. Fernando Karadima “calumny” and said there was no evidence against the prelate.

In a June 9 letter to the priests of the Ahiara diocese, Francis told them “whoever was opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the diocese wants to destroy the church.”

The pontiff then ordered every priest of the diocese, including those living elsewhere in the country or even abroad, to write him a letter of apology for the protest and ask for his forgiveness.

“Whoever does not do this will be ipso facto suspended a divinis and will lose his current office,” Francis told the priests then.

In a statement Feb. 19, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said 200 priests of the Ahiara diocese had written to Francis to apologize but that others “pointed out their psychological difficulty in collaborating with the Bishop after years of conflict.”

The congregation, which holds competence over dioceses in Nigeria, said the pope “decided not to proceed with the canonical sanctions” against the priests who did not apologize.

The statement said the dicastery “urged every priest to reflect on the grave damage inflicted on the Church of Christ and expressed hope that in the future they will never again repeat such unreasonable actions opposing a Bishop legitimately appointed by the Supreme Pontiff.”

The Fides news agency, an outlet of the Vatican congregation, also published Feb. 19 a pastoral letter promulgated by Okpaleke Feb. 14, in which he announces his resignation from the Ahiara diocese.

“I am convinced … that my remaining the Bishop of Ahiara Diocese is no longer beneficial to the Church,” the prelate states in the letter. “I do not think that my apostolate in a diocese where some of the priests and lay faithful are ill disposed to have me in their midst would be effective.”

“I invite any dissenting priests to re-examine their initial motivations for becoming priests in the Catholic Church,” he continues. “Repentance and reconciliation are very urgent!”

‘No Pope Benedict XVI Does Not Have Neurological Disease’ – Benedict’s Aides 

‘No Pope Benedict XVI Does Not Have Neurological Disease’ – Benedict’s Aides 

The aides to the former pontiff says that reports from earlier today are baseless.

Hours after a German magazine quoted Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, 94, the older brother of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, as saying that Benedict has a neurological disease, aides in Rome said that was “baseless”.

It was not clear if the German periodical misquoted the monsignor, or where the source of the error was.

Supposedly, Georg had said that if the paralysis caused by the disease were to reach his brother’s heart, “things could be over quickly.”

Aides of the Pope Emeritus at the Vatican, however, said all of this is baseless. While acknowledging that the former pope, who turns 91 in April, does have difficulty getting around, they said he still takes a daily walk in the Vatican Gardens. His increasing immobility is due to age, not any neurological disease.

Last October, it was known that the Pope Emeritus had sustained a fall. A German bishop who went to visit him posted a photo on Facebook showing Benedict with a bruised eye.

The bishop reported:

“Though Pope Benedict fell a week ago and has a black eye, he has received us well, full of spirit, and with many memories of small and big things regarding people of his diocese and of ours. He sends his greetings and has given his blessing to all of us.”

‘Only God Knows If We Will Meet Again’ – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Has A Nerve Disease Says Brother 

‘Only God Knows If We Will Meet Again’ – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Has A Nerve Disease Says Brother 

Monsignor Georg Ratzinger speaks of their prayers for a good death in a new interview.

According to the brother of Benedict XVI, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is suffering from a nerve disease, which is paralyzing him little by little. The elder Ratzinger revealed this in an interview with the German weekly Neue Post published today.

The predecessor of Pope Francis will turn 91 this coming April 16.

According to Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, the illness of the former Pope forces him to use a wheelchair more and more often. If paralysis reaches the heart, he says, “everything could finish quickly.”

“Only God knows if we will meet again,” he added, while indicating his wish to be in Rome in April for Benedict’s birthday.

In a letter addressed to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on February 7, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his renunciation, the pope emeritus claimed to see his physical abilities decline, affirming that he is “on a pilgrimage towards Home.”

His former secretary, Father Alfredo Xuereb, emphasized that Benedict XVI was offering his sufferings for the Church.

In this short interview, Father Georg Ratzinger also declared that he and his brother have a “great wish” for a “good death,” and that he is praying for this.

Holy See Excommunicates Australian Priest For Breaking The Seal Of Confession! 

Holy See Excommunicates Australian Priest For Breaking The Seal Of Confession! 

The excommunication, was approved by the Holy See. 

According to the February 10 report of The British Daily Mail, after two years of thorough investigation, the Holy See decided to excommunicate a priest in Australia. The investigation revealed that Father Ezinwanne Igbo had broken the Seal of the Confessional–the absolute duty of priests not to disclose anything that they learn from penitents in the Sacrament of Penance.

The facts, which go back to 2016, led to the opening of an investigation based on a dozen complaints against Father Igbo.

Originally from Nigeria, he was a priest at the Stella Maris Parish in Queensland.

The excommunication, which is automatic in this case, was approved by the Holy See, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Brisbane (Australia), dated February 7.

The sentence provides that the priest can no longer participate in public worship, nor celebrate or receive the sacraments. The sanction, however, can be lifted by the pope.

The lifting of the Seal of the Confessional was one of 189 requests in the December 2017 report on pedophile crimes committed in Australia.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane called for a three-day special fast during Lent, from February 14 to 16, as a “reparation” for the crimes of child sexual abuse. This call was relayed by all Australian bishops as an “authentic Catholic response.”

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