Okpaleke resigns as bishop of Ahiara Catholics diocese
Pope accepts resignation
The Bishop of Ahiara Catholic Diocese in Imo State, Peter Okpaleke has resigned.His appointment by the Vatican had created crisis, and was opposed by the laity and a section of the clergy.
Opkaleke, who hails from Anambra State, was consecrated in 2012, after the death of Dr. Victor Chikwe.A letter said to have emanated from the pontiff on February 19, accepted Okpaleke’s resignation.
Subsequently, the Pope appointed the Bishop of Umuahia, Dr. Luciuos Ugorji, as the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese.Okpaleke’s letter of resignation reads: “I am convinced that my remaining the Bishop of Ahiara Diocese is no longer beneficial to the Church.
“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.At the peak of the crisis, Pope Benedfict XVI had in June last year, given the faithful 30 days to accept the cleric or face suspension. But the alleged rejection continued.Pope’s letter had warned: “Whoever was opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the diocese wants to destroy the church.”
He later directed about 200 priests of the diocese to write letters of apology to the pontiff.He warned: “Whoever does not do this will be ipso facto suspended a divinis and will lose his current office.’’
“We 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.”
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